Century Hiring New Town Manager, Town Clerk And Assistant Clerk; Has Finally Hired For A Minimum Wage Job

October 21, 2021

The Town of Century wants to hire an interim town manager, a town clerk and an assistant town clerk. Meanwhile, they have finally hired an entry level employee, seven months after first rejecting the mayor’s recommendations.

As we first reported three weeks ago, Interim Town Manager Vernon Prather has notified Century that he is leaving when his contract ends December 1, saying that he has decided to fully retire. Town Clerk Kim Godwin is no longer full time, notifying the mayor that she is now going to nursing school. She cut her hours to at least 25 per week, the minimum number needed to keep her benefits. And Assistant Town Clerk Emily Easterling recently resigned.

This week, the town council voted to advertise all three positions for three week in hopes of making selections soon.

The council did eventually vote to hire one of two people recommended by the mayor for two open positions, but not without some reservations, in a process that has taken most of the year.

Council member Sandra McMurray-Jackson made a motion to hire Tonya Lambert Creel for the citizen services clerk at $10 per hour, which is minimum wage. The motion died for lack of a second. When Mayor Ben Boutwell said she was the last remaining applicant that was qualified for the job, the council voted again and approved the hire.

Council member Dynette Lewis, looking at Creel’s resume, expressed concern that she had only worked a few months over the past two years.

“That’s a little bit jumpy, you know,” Lewis said.

“I noticed she bounces around quite often,” council member James Smith said. “Even now, she’s employed, but she’s looking over again. So how long has she actually been at the other job? The concern is she going to stick around?”

Also this week, the council once again rejected the mayor’s recommendation for an entry-level service worker in the street department as a motion to hire him failed due to the lack of a second.

Prather said the town had 21 employees two years ago; now that number stands at just 13.

Here’s the eight month process it took to hire a citizen services clerk:

February 2

The town submitted the advertisement for the positions to NorthEscambia.com and others for publication.

March 15

The Century Town Council rejected two employees hired by the mayor because they say he violated the town’s charter. After the town received five applications for an entry-level service worker in the street department and 50 applications for a citizen services clerk office position, Mayor Ben Boutwell and staff members made their selections and offered jobs to two people. The service worker was already on the job, and the clerk was set to start a few days later.

The service worker the mayor hired had nine years experience as a millwright at a lumber mill, five years in maintenance at a chemical plant, and six years in home construction. The office worker selected by Boutwell had almost 20 years experience at an area bank as a bookkeeper, loan assistance, teller and accounts payable clerk, and holds an associate degree from Pensacola Junior College.

Council president Luis Gomez said the two were not hired in accordance with the town charter. The charter states that the mayor will present his employee selections to the town council to be approved or denied. The council can only vote yes or no on the mayor’s choice; the charter does not give the council any authority to hire anyone not recommended by the mayor.

At that March 15 meeting, the council voted 3-2 to restart the process and advertise the positions again. Council members James Smith and Sandra McMurray Jackson were in opposition.

May 3

The council again rejected Boutwell’s request to hire the same two applicants.

Gomez said he had personally contacted the references listed by the service worker applicant and had found he was terminated for just cause and was not eligible for rehire by a former employer. Gomez made additional disparaging comments about the individual.

The council provided no next step for the hiring process.

May 17

The applicant recommended by the mayor and rejected by the council for an entry level window citizens services clerk attended a council meeting wanting to know the status of the job. Gomez told her that he would never consider her for the job, and in a verbal exchange twice referred to her as a “beautiful woman.”

Gomez said he regretted that the woman was essentially caught in the rift between the council and mayor because her application was received last November but the position was not advertised until early February. “What I’m saying is I hate this beautiful woman is tied up in the middle of all this,” he said.

“I know you are a beautiful person. I would love to have lunch with you, even buy you lunch because I know you’re a beautiful person and probably have a beautiful family,” Gomez told Daniel. “But this is business. And please don’t take it personal.”

July 6

On the urging of council members James Smith, the council voted to re-advertise both positions again, this time for 30 days.

Pictured top: Century Town Clerk Kim Godwin has notified the town that she is now part-time while attending nursing school. Pictured inset: Mayor Ben Boutwell (left) addresses the council. Pictured below: Council members Sandra McMurray-Jackson, Dynette Lewis and Leonard White. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Comments

11 Responses to “Century Hiring New Town Manager, Town Clerk And Assistant Clerk; Has Finally Hired For A Minimum Wage Job”

  1. Trying to be nice on October 21st, 2021 4:58 pm

    By law and Transparency Florida, they are supposed to post the salaries on the web site plus the budget and agenda. What statute is that?

    Really clerk seemed to have done a very poor job. The other day the person answering the phone acted like it was really hard to actually have to lift a finger and answer a phone.

    Council get it together and quit blocking hires, you aren’t doing us any favors.

    And really why is the Financial Report that was due after the fiscal year LAST year not on the Fl Auditor general site which by law t was due nine months after the fiscal year 2020 and this fiscal year ended 9/30/21 so it’s staring a new cycle. ???

    Here a hint, go to the internet and type in words like “municipality”
    “Florida Auditor General” Check the tabs, the rules, the reports. Type in “Joint Legislative Auditing Committee” Look at the meeting packets.

    Council and employees, accountant, management about how every year you turn in a report and how things are done with the books. The state awarded us some funds as well as the county.Ensure it is spent properly, not only to residents but to the ones who entrusted you with governance.

    Even I know the auditor general sent a letter in July telling you the report wasn’t done.Who else did and didn’t tell anybody? Or better yet.

    WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE REMINDED.

    You can get a free calendar at the hardware store..Every year in the summer the report is due. Like clockwork. You start on it when the leaves on the sycamore turn yella,

    Or guess what, the government body or employees can be called to appear before the committee and a person can be cited for issued related to failure to do their job.

    Look it up management and council.

    Is that why suddenly “everybody needs to resign and spend more time with their families”?

    You know we want to be supportive but

    C’mon man

  2. Bob on October 21st, 2021 3:08 pm

    Connie,

    “I have only lived in the area a year and a half”.

    Give it a few years…

    Century’s reputation is well earned!!!

  3. BT on October 21st, 2021 2:06 pm

    We’re going to pay you minimum wage, but you have to be qualified and we’re going to publicly scrutinize your work history.

  4. Resident on October 21st, 2021 10:11 am

    “I can tell you that the pay is definitely lacking,”

    There is great disparity in the pay. Minimum wage for some. Over $22 an hour ($45K +) for someone like Godwin, even at parttime.

  5. Bowhunter on October 21st, 2021 10:08 am

    How Can Kim Godwin Tell The Mayor What’s She Going To Work If The Position Is A 40 hr.. a Week Job Then Terminate The Previous Mayor Fair Haired Employee

  6. Connie on October 21st, 2021 9:50 am

    It seems everyone is leaving their positions in Century. I can tell you that the pay is definitely lacking, I was wanting to apply for a position with the Water Utility side, I have been a Supervisor for a Water Utility for 18 years, but upon learning that the pay was less than 10.00 an hour I was not interested. I know that Century can be so much more than it is, but we need open minded, enthusiastic people to be on board. I have only lived in the area a year and a half, so love this town, but I have heard and seen people so negative when talking about Century, how do we overcome. I would have loved to work in this town rather than driving into Pensacola every day, but lack of jobs (unless you know the right people) and low pay are sure a deterrent. I am hoping that we get some good energetic, forward thinking people to fill these positions.

  7. Brian on October 21st, 2021 7:49 am

    Probably more competent than most of the board. But who sticks around long for 10/hour? Pay better and you can retain staff.

  8. sam on October 21st, 2021 7:00 am

    century seems to have a problem keeping employees. there’s got to be a reason. either the pay is lacking or the working conditions are bad.

  9. Alan on October 21st, 2021 6:47 am

    This is what gross incompetence wrapped in narcissism looks like.

    Citizens of Century, demand a vote to revoke your charter.

  10. Ol' Skinny on October 21st, 2021 5:59 am

    PLEASE tell me that NONE of these folks are from the area!!!!

  11. Steph on October 21st, 2021 4:26 am

    If you really want to keep someone at a job why on earth pay only 10 an hour when they can go anywhere and make more than that. This council is just as irresponsible, lazy and childish as the last!





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