INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - It seems that some of the officials in Indian Rocks Beach are on a letter writing binge and the results get curiouser and curiouser.
Very curious, indeed, in the case of Andy Salzman, the city's lawyer, whose latest production from his keyboard directly contradicts information he issued such a short while ago.
Item - it is a fact that Salzman sent a letter to the Florida Attorney General on April 12, asking a question pertaining to matters handled by the Pinellas County Property Appraiser's Office.
In reply, Salzman was told he was barking up the wrong tree, that the AG had no jurisdiction in the question he raised and that he should direct inquiries to the proper source, i.e., the Property Appraiser's Office.
When the information in Salzman's mail exchange with the AG's Office in Tallahassee was publicly revealed, Salzman wrote the following in a May 23 answer to a question raised by Commissioner Jose Coppen -
"Concerning the Attorney General Opinion of April 12, 2006, I was requested to do so by a City Commissioner and directed by the City Manager to obtain this opinion."
Salzman went on in that letter to refuse to reveal the name of the commissioner who had demanded that he write such a letter.
A short while later, at a City Commission meeting, the subject came up and Commissioner Ed Piniero admitted that it was he who had originally asked Salzman to write the letter to the Attorney General.
It also became known that the question raised in regard to property appraisal bore directly on the interest of Piniero, who owns the kind of property that was the subject of the opinion being sought from the AG.
Then, amazingly, last week Salzman issued a memo to the IRB City commission in which he wrote, "For clarification from my prior correspondence, please be advised that I was requested to seek the Attorney General Opinion by the prior City Commission which included Mayor (Bill) Ockunzzi, Commissioner (Jim) Palamara, Commissioner (R.B.) Johnson, Commissioner (Jean) Scott, and Commissioner (Jeremiah) Carmody."
Obviously, Piniero was not a member of the commission then.
Salzman's "clarifying" statement appears to be in direct contradiction to what is on the historical, documented record.
And the question is why?
No wonder citizens in Indian Rocks Beach who follow events in their city closely are scratching their heads and wondering what is going on with the City Commission and its lawyer.
Another incident involving Salzman is the case of minutes of the commission meeting being reviewed and either edited or added to by Piniero.
Piniero has not only admitted doing this, he said, to emphasize points that should be made in the minutes, he indicated that to do so was perfectly all right.
Yet Salzman, again last week, on June 20, issued this statement to the commission -
"To clarify my prior memorandum regarding this issue, for the record, there are no findings by my office of any manipulation of minutes, editing of minutes, or changing of minutes in any way, shape or form, by any current Commissioner during their tenure with the City of Indian Rocks Beach. If there are any further questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me."
Earlier, when asked to go into this question, Salzman had said that any investigation he conducted did not go into the kind of details that his statement would need to support the conclusions he reached.
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