By Leo Coughlin
In the mood for dancing alone after hearing some bluesy Jerry Lee Lewis on "Evening Gown" ("waiting for your blonde hair to turn grey") and thinking of the joy reigning in Indian Rocks Beach.
Ah, yes, it looks the light at the end of the tunnel may have actually, really, truly arrived.
IRB has a full-time city manager who may end the long trek in the wilderness since Tom Brobeil could no longer take a fellow perched on his shoulders interfering and micro-managing and was run off.
That's a few years ago now (funny isn't it how they roll by and add up?) and Indian Rocks Beach has drifted and even more so since Bob DiNicola, the former mayor left.
While DiNicola was still on the scene some modicum of direction was maintained although he had his hands full with the three stooges (or the katzenjammer kids, as some thought of them).
IRB's equivalent of Curly, Shemp and Moe saw a substitution along the way, DiNicola finally left, and then all were gone but one stooge, who manages to hang on sowing discord as prayers are soaring heavenward that the problem will be solved come March. On espere.
To get to the point, today's sermon will be taken up with an open letter to Steve Cottrell, IRB's new city manager.
Dear Steve -
We go back a few years, buddy, when you came into a very nice situation in Belleair, a town that had been through a lot of strife. Through the good offices of Irene Albrecht you got hired and things settled down.
Given the average tenure of managers, you spent good years in Belleair.
Now the challenge is in Indian Rocks Beach. You stepped in as interim manager, were liked, and you sort of took a liking to the lovely city by the Gulf. I think you even took a notion to put some roots down in IRB.
But then came the campaign to run you off. Of course, that's just my opinion, like everything in this corner of the Gazette.
You know the history here. Tom Brobeil, a great and able guy, who couldn't take the interference beyond a certain point, and then well-meaning John Coffey who did his best but was no match for bureaucratic karate.
Then along came Al Grieshaber. What endeared him to the master bureaucrat was that Al was very pliable. In a way, Al is still part of Indian Rocks Beach. There is a pending law suit and a lot of questions that folks want answered. All of that won't go away. But it has nothing to do with you, Steve.
I think the mayor-commissioner suffered some kind of shock at the meeting August 14 when his efforts to upset your decision to change your mind and take the IRB job went for naught.
His comment that your contract was "over the top" sent knowledgeable observers into paroxysms of mirth as they recalled the contract accorded Al Grieshaber, your predecessor. That one gave Grieshaber the discretion to determine his own compensatory time without limit, the use of a city vehicle without limit (he put up to 5,000 miles a month - a MONTH! on those wheels) and stuff like that.
It is clear that the master bureaucrat does not want you, Steve, but there are four solid commissioners who do, and lots of folks in town who feel likewise.
There is no need to tell you what to be on guard for. You have already had that experience in Indian Rocks Beach. I must say you handled yourself well but it did not surprise me because you are a professional and your record bespeaks that.
One of the difficulties in life is dealing with the person who is misplaced and is not satisfied in doing his own job. I have no doubt that Ockunzzi might make a good city manager but right now he needs to observe the old adage of a "shoemaker sticking to his last."
In the meantime, good luck, do your usual good job and know that we'll be watching.
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