Cottrell Appears to be Favored for Hiring as City Manager in IRB
by Leo Coughlin
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - Steve Cottrell appears to be moving closer to becoming city manager of Indian Rocks Beach, with a three-year contract expected to be presented to the City Commission at its meeting June 26.
The former town manager of Belleair, where he put in stellar service for eight years, Cottrell has been serving as interim city manager here since the debacle and departure of Al Grieshaber.
Fourteen applications have been made to fill the position, but Cottrell's performance, knowledge of the area and familiarity with the process in Pinellas County makes him the clear choice for the job.
One of the crucial mistakes in hiring Grieshaber early in 2006, after he had served on an interim basis for more than four months, was that he was not a member of the International City Managers Association, a requirement for hiring under the city Charter.
Somehow this key requirement was gotten around and Indian Rocks Beach has paid heavily for this miscue. City managers are a highly professional group of people who don't cotton to micro-management by elected officials. They are closely monitored by their peers. Those not in their association are usually not up to par.
Cottrell appears to be the clear front runner, based not only on his credentials and his interim performance and professional ability, but the commission has apparently made no arrangements to interview those who have applied.
The City Commission got some "dollar shock" at its meeting June 12 when a county official updated the status of the go-nowhere project for the beautification of Gulf Boulevard.
If it wasn't already clear to observers that the county is playing a charade with the whole business, it was made very clear last week when the commission was told that IRB's share of the cost would be $9.2 million.
The cost of the project has escalated by leaps and bounds over the past several years that it has been a subject of discussion. It seems manifestly clear that the project is going nowhere.
Demonstrating the "voice of democracy" in action, about 60 residents showed up at the June 12 meeting showing their support for keeping the current policy on boat speeds in canals adjacent to homes in the city.
Those residents apparently want untrammeled freedom to set their own speeds and abjure any no wake zones or other limits.
This controversy was set off by a sharp exchange of letters between Commissioner Bert Valery and Bob Coplen, chairman of the Intracoastal Waterway Committee.
Their views were presented in a story in the Clearwater Gazette June 7 and the story appears to have sparked the arrival of five dozen partisans in city hall last week.
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