INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - A City Commission meeting is scheduled Tuesday (January 23) to "resolve" problems associated with Al Grieshaber, who has just departed as the city manager.
For some observers it is even money he won't show up. But the citizenry may.
What Indian Rocks Beach has is a tangled mess - and not only with the Grieshaber matter.
But exploring all the entanglements of the Grieshaber situation turns up all kinds of interesting and bizarre facts and raises many questions. Probably more questions than ever will be properly answered.
The situation calls into question the role of city officials, including Andy Salzman, the city attorney.
The perplexing problem with the Grieshaber mess is where does one begin in order to tell the story in any comprehensive way?
And this story does not even go into the hijinks with "compensatory time," a claim by Grieshaber for vacation time (some $4,000 worth), and mileage compiled by Grieshaber on a city vehicle he used that ranges anywhere from 2,000 to about 5,000 miles a month (in a city less than two miles square).
Because one of the biggest problems in the mess is the $13,156.33 that Grieshaber apparently unwarrantedly was paid last August and walked way with, an examination of its provenance is in order.
After having taken over as city manager on an interim basis in August, 2005, from the fired John Coffey, Grieshaber finally signed an employment agreement with the city on February 14, 2006.
Section 10 of that agreement specifies explicitly what Grieshaber was entitled to in terms of recompense for moving and relocation expenses to Indian Rocks Beach, supposedly from Sanford.
This is what the employment agreement says -
"Moving and Relocation - The City will be invoiced directly, on the lowest of three quotes obtained by the employee with all three (3) quotes being forwarded to the city for the expense of moving the employee, employee's family and employee's personal property from Sanford, Florida, to Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. Such expenses shall include but not be limited to packing, any necessary storage, insurance related to the movement of household goods and unpacking."
This was never conformed with.
Instead, Grieshaber submitted an affidavit that is so much gobbledegook about his moving situation.
A subsequent affidavit was submitted by Grieshaber which resulted in Indian Rocks Beach giving him a check for $13,124.29, according to an e-mail that was circulated among some IRB officials in August, 2006.
In keeping with the bizarre nature of this whole story, an examination of a copy of the actual check, in the Gazette's possession, drawn on Indian Rocks Beach General Fund and dated August 17, 2006, shows the sum on the check actually to be $13,156.33.
Grieshaber is the payee and also one of the authorized signers of the check. The other authorized signer is Marty Schless, IRB's finance officer.
Andy Salzman, IRB's city attorney, was included in the e-mail that informed officials of this action. Salzman, because of his role as the city's legal officer, knew about the contract provisions that were ignored.
Among Salzman's duties (which he said he did not know but referred to the city clerk last week for information) is this -
"The city attorney shall act as legal advisor and attorney for the city and all of its officers or employees in matters arising out of the performance of their official duties for the city. He shall prepare all instruments in writing in which the city is concerned and shall endorse on each his approval of the form and correctness thereof."
The payment of $13,000-plus in violation of a contract that Salzman had a hand in constructing certainly qualifies under Salzman's duties; ipso facto, he was fully aware of the check paid to Grieshaber.
Now comes the mind boggling part -
While the provisions of Section 10 of the employment agreement were totally ignored (the contract called for vendors to submit invoices directly to the city, not for Grieshaber to handle any of the relocation money) Grieshaber was paid the $13,156.33 on the basis of an "Amended Affidavit" he submitted.
Contrary to the requirements of Florida law, that affidavit is undated, contains no definite and explicit information and the jurat executed on it when it was notarized is improper.
Diane Erb, Grieshaber's secretary at IRB, notarized the document. Under Florida law relating to notaries public, a notarized document must contain the location of the notarization (e.g., "in the State of Florida, County of Pinellas"), the type of act performed and whether an oath or acknowledgment and other pertinent language and the exact date of the notarized act.
None of these provisions was complied with. The affidavit itself is undated and the notary public's act is undated.
Hold on - it gets better.
The undated "Amended Affidavit" contains 14 lettered paragraphs (a through n) in which Grieshaber avers that he paid certain sums for acts performed in connection with his "move."
There is a question of whether he actually moved. He supposedly had an apartment in Seminole that some city officials inspected and found there some boxes that apparently were satisfactory proof to shell out the $13,156.33.
Here is an example of the language of the undated, improperly executed affidavit that passed muster with Salzman, the IRB city attorney -
"i. Approximately $11,500.00 paid to A.S. in money and/or goods for the packing, packing material, moving assistance, transportation, moving, storage and unloading of employee's personal property from Sanford, Florida, to Indian Rocks Beach, Florida."
All of the 14 lettered items in the "Amended Affidavit" follow this form - i.e. "Approximately" then initial letters that purport to be the recipient of funds laid out by Grieshaber.
The items altogether add up to $27,442.58 - but Grieshaber was given a check, which he signed as a city official, for $13,156.33.
This ludicrous document (an eighth grader, playing at being a lawyer, would have constructed a more meritorious document) passed muster with Salzman and became the basis of paying Grieshaber.
How $27,000-plus became $13,156.33 is a mystery.
In any event, the employment contract was not followed. A contract cannot be changed arbitrarily. Salzman appeared to have effectively done this by allowing the check to be paid to Grieshaber.
Many observers have said that it would seem reasonable that Salzman, as a matter of prudence and duty, would have put up a stop sign for such an obvious violation of the employment agreement which he participated in writing.
With all of the fictional move and relocation etc. keep in mind that Grieshaber purchased property for $865,000 at 6114 S. Atlantic Avenue in New Smyrna Beach in February, 2004.
It seems patently obvious that Grieshaber never moved a household to Indian Rocks Beach or this area. He engaged an apartment in Seminole (for whatever time he spent around here when not traveling on his job quests) and a visit to that apartment by some IRB officials where a couple of boxes were observed stood as satisfaction, apparently, for Grieshaber's claim against the taxpayers of Indian Rocks Beach.
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