INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- The City Commission has been working overtime trying to resolve two knotty problems, one of which has endangered the tenure of the city manager, the other which would modify the face of Gulf Boulevard.
The commission on February 14 spent nine hours rummaging through testimony from city officials regarding the firing of the city's building official which has become a cause celebre.
That action by John Coffey, the city manager, has put his own job in jeopardy, according to some sources. He was urged to resign at one point and there was an expectation he would.
The firing of Steve Andrews met with resistance -- from Andrews himself and from supporters he had in the city.
With Coffey's position appearing untenable, the commission interviewed a flock of city officials in its investigation of the Andrews affair.
Then, the next day, at the commission's meeting that was mainly focucsed on a discussion triggered by a developer who wants to put a mixed-use project on the block that runs from 25th to 26th Avenue, Coffey hinted that something might be worked out to re-hire Andrews. That was greeted by applause by the audience.
The development, by A.G. Armstrong, includes a Publix, some retail shops and condominiums..
Alan Goins of the Armstrong company said that the Publix would be small in scale, suited to "fit within a beach or small community."
The commission gave a preliminary green light to this, but not to overall project itself. A plan will be developed, but that faces further approval by the commission.
There was a mixed response from the public to the project.
Meanwhile, Coffey's situation and future is clouded. Mayor Bob DiNicola has suggested a vote of confidence for the city manager next month.
Already on record as favoring the dismissal of Coffey, who has been city manager for a little more than a year, are Commissioners Jim Palamara and Jeremiah Carmody.
DiNicola has said that in a 2-2 vote he would vote to fire Coffey for sake of unity in the city.
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