Royal Palm Beach Village Manager Ray Liggins received a perfect score from the Royal Palm Beach Village Council during his annual review on Thursday, June 1.
Council members gave him high marks, largely attributable to leadership and performance abilities reported by officials from outside the village.
Council members also approved the maximum allowable 5 percent one-year-only merit pay award for Liggins after his favorable report.
Each council member had a one-on-one conversation with Liggins prior to the review.
“I think that our village manager is doing an outstanding job,” Councilwoman Jan Rodusky said. “When we look at the evaluation standards across employee relations and its long-range planning, financial management, communications and completion of capital projects, he’s firing on all cylinders. If we look at any one of those individually, I’m really proud that he’s our village manager.”
Councilman Jeff Hmara agreed that Liggins’ work is excellent.
“I’ve had the benefit of five years of working with Ray, so one of the things that I did was I took a look at his performance during this particular period, but I also compared it with where we’ve been. The purpose of that was to try to identify trends, and the really good news is not only do I think his performance during the past year has been excellent, but I think the trends are all in the right direction.”
Hmara added that Liggins is a great leader by example, in that the village staff sees the amount of effort he puts into his work.
“I’ve been very impressed with the amount of effort Ray is willing to put in to make things happen, and I think that’s a great example for the staff, and I’m sure they pick up on that,” he said. “I would say that he has done an excellent job, and we’re very fortunate to have him.”
Hmara said organizations like the Palm Beach County League of Cities and the Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization seek Liggins’ participation on committees and comment on his attention to detail and ethical behavior.
“Those are all incredible endorsements when they come from people who really have nothing at stake in offering that, so I think that’s another reason to really be grateful that we have his leadership and expertise working on the village’s behalf,” Hmara said, recommending the 5 percent merit pay.
Vice Mayor Richard Valuntas agreed that Liggins is doing a good job, also giving him top marks for the six criteria on the evaluation sheet. “I would go along with what Councilman Hmara suggests, and go again with 5 [percent] this year,” Valuntas said.
Councilwoman Selena Smith said she found Liggins very helpful and knowledgeable, especially about the history of the village.
“That comes with longevity,” she said, recommending a 4.5 percent merit pay, based on the 3.5 percent merit pay that other staff members are receiving.
Mayor Fred Pinto said the consensus of the council is that Liggins is doing an outstanding job.
“It goes a little deeper than that,” Pinto said. “I echo the points raised by Councilman Hmara. I hear from so many outside agencies and folks at the county level. They [say] nothing but positive things about Ray, and the phrase that I hear the most is that he is really a great asset. Whatever information you share outside of the village, it has an impact. It means something to the people you share it with.”
Pinto said he feels good when he goes to meetings outside the village and he is asked how the village manages various, sometimes difficult, tasks.
“I think that all reflects not only on this council, but it reflects on our village manager,” he said. “I think that we are so fortunate to have Ray as our village manager, and we do live and work in a competitive environment.”
Pinto said he asked Liggins whether he might apply when a job posting goes out to replace Palm Beach County Engineer George Webb, who is retiring.
“I asked Ray, ‘You’re not thinking about applying for that, are you?’” Pinto recalled. “He’s a qualified engineer, and gladly, he said, ‘No, I like where I’m at.’”
Pinto said Liggins is a key management asset and the de facto chief operating officer of the village.
“We have many, many continually good outcomes,” he said. “We even have good outcomes when we have bumps in the road. Things don’t always go smoothly. Things come up that you don’t expect, and a lot of times your leadership really comes through when you’re dealing with a challenge.”
Pinto said making it look easy is a sign of confidence, competence and good leadership.
“I think that we’re in very good shape going forward as long as we have Ray here on the team with us and leading that charge,” he said.
Hmara made a motion to approve the 5 percent merit pay for Liggins, which carried unanimously.
ABOVE: Village Manager Ray Liggins.