BELLEAIR BEACH -- Belleair Beach has a city manager an event brought about last Thursday night in an atmosphere redolent with confusion and that required a telephone call to the city attorney.
Reid Silverboard, whose wife is the city manager of Treasure Island, was the man chosen for the job in what one City Council member called a "photo finish."
But before the choice was made there was entangled confusion on the procedure to be followed -- all of which happened after a motion and second was on the table.
Councilmember made the motion naming Silverboard the manager and Stan Sofer seconded it. Then Mayor Mike Kelly came up with the idea of polling each council member as to that individual's choice (which seemed to make sense) and the ones with the most votes would win.
Paul Marino, the city attorney, was reached by phone and gave his ruling. He was at an undisclosed location far from Belleair Beach in a less salubrious climate because he reported the temperature was 5 degrees below zero wherever he was sojourning.
Can't poll the council, he advised. Motion made and seconded, discussion to take place, then vote. And that is what happened. Silverboard was approved, 6-1, with only Bruce Cutler, candidate for mayor in March's election voting nay.
On that electoral front, Frank Lombardi, who had been a mayoral candidate, withdrew after he suffered a broken hip in an accident while riding his bike.
That leaves the mayor's race between Cutler and Rudy Davis. The council itself will be virtually unchanged form the lineup that approved Silverboard Thursday night.
The election story has been a tale of withdrawals. Richard Conrath and Mary Schoonover both had announced for council seats and then backed out.
Each of the council members had laudatory comments about Silverboard and his rival, Doug Drymon. Presiding Officer Lynn Rives and Durante, who had been members of the so-called Transition Committee, which culled the two men as finalists from more than 40 applicants, limited their comments because of their familiarity with the process.
The other members had been interviewing the two candidates for much of the day throughout Thursday.
Silverboard has most recently been the manager in Carrollton, Georgia, a city that had a budget of some $22 million, far more than Belleair Beach's modest budget of less than $3 million.
Before that, he was city manager at Fort Walton Beach, up in the Panhandle, Hallandale Beach, Florida, where he was deputy city manager, and prior to that jobs in Naples; Aiken, S.C.; Oxford, Miss., and Lexington, Ky.
In coming to Belleair Beach, where his salary will be between $45,000 and $60,000 he is taking a big pay cut from the $110,000 he was being paid in Carrollton.
As a piece of irony, he was selected by a council that was, for the most part, adamantly opposed to the city manager form of government. That change in the city government was brought about by a citizen initiative after the council refused to entertain the notion.
Nevertheless, the council apparently bent itself to the work and dedicatedly vetted the two men who wound up as finalists.
When the procedural brouhaha erupted, the two candidates sat there and may have wondered what kind of wacky world they were contemplating entering.
At the outset, nine city residents were present. That grew to 13 as more dribbled in. A reflection, no doubt, of the interest in who the new guy would be running their city.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition