INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - The news got out last Friday that Al Grieshaber's long search for another job might have ended. He had been selected, the report said, as general manager of Sun 'n' Lakes, a community at Sebring.
The perception has been, all year, that IRB's city manager, had one foot on a scooter to get out of town and the other on a banana peel. It has been quite a distraction - using IRB for home base while job searching all over the state.
Last week's news set off a flurry of e-mails that continued Monday with no definitive decision yet whether Grieshaber was in or out of Indian Rocks Beach and City Commission members wondering what to do.
But that was form for the course. Again and again during past months there have been confirmed reports of Grieshaber, who was hired permanently just last February, seeking or being on the list for other jobs.
Among the places that Grieshaber had feelers out for a job as city manager or county administrator (even though he is not a member of the ICMA - International City Managers Association) that are known include Citrus County (two feelers there), Minneola, St. Cloud, Safety Harbor, Manatee County and Tavares.
Mayor Bill Ockunzzi, just back in town after a trip, sent an e-mail Monday to Deanne O'Reilly, the city clerk (with Grieshaber and Andy Salzman, the city lawyer, copied in), in which he referred to an exchange of e-mails between him and Grieshaber on Sunday.
This is Ockunzzi's e-mail to Grieshaber -
"Does this mean you have 'accepted' the position and will be resigning; or, are now 'negotiating' terms and, if successful, will resign; or will be negotiating with IRB and Sun 'n' Lake regarding employment terms; or, would like to stay in IRB if 'conditions' are likely to improve?"
The tone of Ockunzzi's e-mail reflects that Grieshaber is in the driver's seat and his employer, the people of Indian Rocks Beach, must await his pleasure.
In response, Grieshaber said nothing had been decided.
In the meantime, Commissioner Jose Coppen, who has suspected Grieshaber was ready to leave IRB at the drop of a hat (or the hint of a new job) was asking for a special commission meeting to discuss the Grieshaber situation.
On Monday, in his message to O'Reilly, Ockunzzi said, "You reported . . . there had been a request for special City Commission meeting Thursday (October 19) to discuss a search for a new city manager."
He went on to point out that such a meeting might be premature to hold such a meeting "given our contract with Al, the status of his employment or non employment with Sun 'n' Lakes and, to date, no notice of resignation. Andy (Salzman)can provide a definitive opinion with regard to this issue to make sure the City does not expose itself to any unnecessary liability. A better solution is to discuss the matter in conjunction with the evaluation of charter Officers scheduled for the meeting October 23."
O'Reilly passed on advice from Salzman that, indeed, Grieshaber had given no notice of termination and a session to discuss his position would be premature and based on speculation.
Coppen replied that although he disagreed, he accepted the decision not to hold a special meeting in regard to Grieshaber.
He went on to say - "Is the City Commission being proactive? Is it premature to implement measures when the eye of the hurricane is 500 miles away or smarter to wait until its eye is at our door?"
He added, "What speculation? Didn't the city manager admit he had been selected? Was Sun 'n' Lakes at Sebring so interested in our city manager that it made him an unsolicited offer without any overture from him?
"I ask: are we funding the time, interview trips and miscellaneous expenditures of our city manager until he finds a suitable job instead of watching our city business full time?"
Coppen also wondered - "Since when do we look the other way and are prepared to keep a city manager who according to the City Charter is required to be a member of the ICMA and is not?"
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