BELLEAIR BEACH - The going these days is a little rocky, but not anything that Mayor Rudy Davis and the city's administration cannot handle.
Davis maintains his calm in the wake of some troubling experiences with the city's police department, but that situation is calming somewhat.
A hunt is on for a police chief and only one officer is needed to fill a vacancy in the ranks, as the Sheriff's Office last Friday indicated it will not hire three officers who had applied there.
City Manager Reid Silverboard has more than 100 applications for police chief on his desk.
And, in what might described as a "readjustment exercise," the city is doing a study on how Belleair Beach's pay scales for its various employees stacks up against others in Pinellas County and around the state in cities of similar size.
Davis calls it a "reality check."
For example, the duties of a finance officer have grown apace in the city with demands and requirements from the county and state.
This brings about a situation where the person hired to replace the departing Melanie Neuman (who is working part time to help out in the interim period) will need to have a degree in accounting. Of course, this necessitates compensation accordingly.
The city's negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police, bargaining agents for the officers, have reached an impasse. A mediator has been selected and talks will begin in a week or two.
As it stands, Davis says, the city has offered the police a 17.3 percent increase after offers were bounced back and forth.
The police wanted a flat $8,600 added to their pay which would have amounted to a 30 percent wallop to city taxpayers.
Silverboard and the city countered with an offer of a $5,000 kick up in pay along with a step up in grade level for each officer. That was refused.
Davis, always level headed it seems, keeps a cheerful demeanor and points out that the problems are not insurmountable. Davis's mode is to just keep at the task, "muddle through" might be the expression, and a brighter picture will emerge.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition