INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - As far as having a city manager is concerned, Indian Rocks Beach is back to square one.
Al Grieshaber, who has been on the job since last August when John Coffey left, rejected a final offer made by the City Commission at Tuesday night's meeting.
The offer had been formulated last week and was put in terms of "take it or leave it." Grieshaber asked for a week to think it over which extended his employment with the city until yesterday.
Grieshaber responded to last week's offer of a salary of $84,000, no monthly housing allowance, no super majority on firing, a lowered separation package, and a diminished retirement contribution with a request for a salary demand of $94,000, thus extending the city's "final, take it or leave it offer."
The commission went through a lengthy struggle last week on what should be offered Grieshaber.
He was hired last summer to replace Coffey who was, in effect, forced out. Having survived a probationary period, Grieshaber was actually hired in December, subject to the completion of a contract.
Negotiations between Grieshaber and Andy Salzman, the city's lawyer, were not successful and this led to last week's last-minute "final offer" session. The commission granted a week's extension to Grieshaber and that deadline was yesterday.
With city parameters of a salary from $70,000 to $100,000 on the table, Grieshaber made a counteroffer that called for a salary of $102,500, a super majority vote to fire him, a $2,000 a month housing allowance and other benefits.
In pressing for a salary higher than the original $78,000 the commission offered, Grieshaber, who is a lawyer, said that he is a known commodity, came to a city in disarray and has straightened things out.
Though comparisons are difficult, Grieshaber was asking for more than $100,000 in a city of about 75,000 population, with no police department, no fire department, no water treatment plant while in contrast in Largo, Steve Stanton, the city manager, gets a salary of $125,000 in a city with large police and fire departments, water treatment, trash collection, a vast recreation department, etc.
Comments from citizens at the meeting stressed putting an end to the negotiations. Several reminded the commission of its "take it or leave it" stance of a week ago.
After much discussion, Mayor Bill Ockunzzi had City Clerk Deanne O'Reilly call the roll on the motion of Jeremiah Carmody and second by R.B. Johnson to offer Grieshaber the package the commission thrashed out last week.
Jim Palamara and Jean Scott voted no, but Ockunzzi, Carmody and Johnson voted yes at which point Grieshaber stood, indicated he rejected the offer, said something inaudible and sat down again.
Wanted in IRB - a city manager.
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