Police chief receives good performance marks
PUNTA GORDA — Punta Gorda Police Department Chief Albert “Butch” Arenal received good marks on his annual performance evaluation, which covered the period of October 2011 through September 2012, according to documents released by the city Friday.
Conducted by City Manager Howard Kunik, the evaluation covers a host of categories, focusing on different aspects of Arenal’s job, including his communication, managerial and planning abilities.
Those subcategories are divided into two overall categories: “performance dimensions” and “performance objectives.” Arenal received a “meets expectations” mark for the performance-dimensions category, and received an “exceeds expectations” for performance objectives. He received average or above-average marks in all of the subcategories, according to the evaluation.
The only real black mark Arenal received was for his handling of the “Arnold complaint,” as it’s identified in the evaluation, which centered around a sexual-harassment complaint filed by former PGPD spokeswoman and current Sun senior writer Christy Feinberg, known then as Christy Arnold.
Feinberg, who currently is seeking damages in connection with the harassment complaint, alleged Arenal made derogatory and inappropriate sexual comments toward her. Arenal apologized for his comments after a counseling session with Kunik, and the city considered the matter closed in May. Feinberg would leave the city a short time later, saying she was “constructively discharged” in a brief written statement.
Kunik declined to comment on the performance evaluation, saying he does not comment on employee reviews. In his written comments, Kunik noted that Arenal’s professionalism should receive higher marks in the future, since the “Arnold complaint” was dealt with in a swift manner. Kunik also praised Arenal’s reaction to an anonymous survey conducted within the department by enhancing communication between leadership staff and front-line officers.
Kunik also wrote that he believed Arenal will use the evaluation to move forward in a positive manner.
Reached by phone on Friday, Arenal said he could not comment on any ongoing litigation involving Feinberg, but did say he felt the evaluation was fair and objective. He vowed to continue to improve his performance, and to provide the highest possible level of police services to the community.
“My number-one goal is to make sure my boss is happy with my performance, and he is,” Arenal said.
Feinberg declined to comment for the story, deferring instead to her Fort Myers‑based attorney Geralyn Noonan, who could not be reached for comment Friday.
Mayor Bill Albers also declined to comment on the review, saying the City Council does not evaluate city employees.