Holmes Beach volunteer and native islander, Mary Buonagura, was hired by Holmes Beach Mayor Carmel Monti to a newly created city position as a human resource specialist.
In a press release, Monti said he hired Buonagura to update job descriptions, policy and procedure manuals, create performance evaluations, reinstate grievance procedures and provide Equal Employment Opportunity representation for city staff.
At a March 7 meeting, Monti asked for the commission’s blessing on the hire, and commissioners unanimously agreed to Monti’s plan to hire Buonagura for six months, after which her employment could be reviewed.
City attorney Patricia Petruff told commissioners they will need to ratify Buonagura’s contract, which she planned to draft after speaking to Monti that evening, at a future city meeting.
As of press time for The Islander, city hall officials said there was no public document or further information about Buonagura’s salary.
Buonagura said she had not been advised of the offered compensation. Petruff and Monti did not return calls for comment before press time.
At the city meeting, Monti said the city is currently running under its total budget, and he is looking to move funds from the police, public works and general administration budgets to fund Buonagura’s position.
There will be 42 city workers with a new hire, according to city treasurer Lori Hill.
Buonagura began working 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily on March 4, and said she had expected a three-month temporary position.
She has no assigned office yet in city hall, but has been working on the computer in Monti’s office, she said last week.
“She’s going to add a lot to the city,” said Monti. “In the short time she’s been here, she’s added a lot.”
For the past several months, Buonagura has been working as a volunteer, helping Monti interview city staff and gather information to improve efficiencies.
Buonagura grew up in and now lives in a Holmes Beach family home her father built in the 1940s.
According to her resume, she holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans and a master’s degree in theological studies from Virginia Theological Seminary.
Recent employers include the Center for Spiritual Development for the Christ Episcopal Church of Bradenton and the Episcopal Church Against Human Trafficking for the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida of Sarasota, according to Buonagura’s resume.
For Christ Episcopal, she worked as a bereavement, premarital and substance abuse counselor as well as an advocate for those needing assistance with the Social Security Administration, the state Division of Children and Family Services and Veterans Affairs.
For the Episcopal Diocese, she worked as a business consultant and grant writer.