Griggs officially the new city auditor and clerk

Sarasota city commissioners unanimously approve her contract

City Auditor and Clerk Shayla Griggs reads an agenda item into the record during the Sept. 16 City Commission meeting. File image

It took only about five-and-a-half minutes on Nov. 4 for the Sarasota City Commission to give unanimous approval to the formal appointment of Shayla Griggs as city auditor and clerk, a position she has held on an interim basis for 11 months.

After City Attorney Robert Fournier noted two typographical errors in the draft of a contract he and city Human Resources Director Stacie Mason had prepared at the commission’s Oct. 4 direction, Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie raised a third issue.

“I didn’t see any language where [the draft contract] talked about the evaluation or performance of [Griggs] as a [city] Charter official,” Freeland Eddie pointed out.

“It’s in the Charter,” Fournier replied, referring to the specific language of that document calling for an annual City Commission review of the performance of each of the three Charter officials — the city manager, the city attorney and the city auditor and clerk.

However, Mason also noted that Section 8 of the proposed contract, regarding Griggs’ salary, said, “[T]he City Commission shall conduct an annual salary review at the same time as general employees are considered for salary review.”

“This commission does not review for salary,” Freeland Eddie responded, referring to the position of city auditor and clerk. “We don’t talk about salary.”

Fournier then explained that a recitation could be added to the contract, pointing to the Charter provision for the annual review, “if you felt that was important enough to [make that addition].”

“I think it needs to be in there,” Freeland Eddie told him.

“Which is fine,” Fournier said.

Mayor Liz Alpert then announced that one person had signed up to speak on the topic.

Martin Hyde. Image from his 2019 campaign website

Business owner Martin Hyde, who also has announced plans to run for City Commission again, commended Griggs to the board just as he had on Oct. 4. Having made numerous public records requests, Hyde said, he has found that Griggs is “always very gracious and very generous with her time.”

He added that, as he had expected the commission on Nov. 4 to name her city auditor and clerk, he also “wanted to congratulate her. … She’s exemplary, and I hope she’s with us for many, many years.”

After Hyde concluded his remarks, Commissioner Willie Shaw made the motion to approve the contract, with the corrections and additional information Freeland Eddie had requested. Vice Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch seconded the motion.

After the 5-0 vote, whoops and cheers rang out in the Commission Chambers.

“Thank you all so much,” Griggs told the board members after Alpert also offered her congratulations, adding that Griggs should have been given a dozen roses.

“I really appreciate you all so much,” Griggs added. “I appreciate my staff,” she continued. “They’re so wonderful. Couldn’t do anything without them. … I’ll do the best I can and try to be a good servant for the City of Sarasota.”

“Lucky to have you,” Commissioner Hagen Brody replied.

“Agreed,” Ahearn-Koch said.

Getting to this point

The commission appointed Griggs the interim city auditor and clerk on Dec. 3, 2018, after putting then-City Auditor and Clerk Pamela Nadalini on leave.

Pam Nadalini. File photo

Prompted by anonymous staff comments sought during the board’s 2018 evaluation of its three Charter officials, the commission paid for an outside investigation into allegations that Nadalini long had been abusive of her staff and had on occasion retaliated against those who irritated her. The commission formally fired Nadalini in January, after she declined to resign from the post.

Mason had indicated in early March that she and her staff could work with an outside “headhunting” firm to seek applicants to take Nadalini’s place. However, Commissioner Shaw had asked his colleagues to consider letting Griggs serve in the interim role for six months, to allow calm to be restored in the Office of the City Auditor and Clerk.

The other commissioners concurred with that suggestion.

When Mason appeared before them again on Oct. 4 to ask how they wanted to proceed, Shaw was the first to indicate the desire for Griggs to win formal appointment to the position.