Indian Rocks Beach Gets Serious About City Finances
By Bill Lopez
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — M. Earl Sanders, known as Sandy Sanders, has successfully managed a new appointment as Finance Director with the City of Indian Rocks Beach.
The appointment comes with some controversy about what would normally be a routine hire because of IRB's previous budget woes and the departure of its former city treasurer, Marty Schless.
When Pinellas County was passing on higher prices for sewer services to IRB and the cost of operating the city's diesel garbage trucks was moving up just like consumer gas prices did last year, no one was tracking the revenue problems for the city. This created some a minor crisis in the city's Enterprise Fund to cover losses in sewer and garbage service.
Now the budget quagmire is less murky but newly appointed Sanders, who was recruited from Dunedin, has yet to take the reins and issue a new financial report. He starts January 21, 2009.
Sanders, 68, was hired as Dunedin finance director in 2004 and previously served two years as assistant finance director for the Hernando County Clerk of the Circuit Court. He was assistant controller for the University of South Florida from 1996 to 2000 and worked in non-government positions including Walter Industries from 1971 to 1984.
Sanders is a Florida CPA with a BS and MBA in accounting and lives in Seminole. He is scheduled to receive $80,000 in annual base compensation at IRB.
Sources indicate a rift between Dunedin City Manager Rob DiSpirito and Sanders primarily because the Dunedin Manager expressed that he wanted a finance director from his former place of employment in Ohio.
Mayor R. B. Johnson was reported to be optimistic about the transition and indicated the city and the board of commissioners will have a finance director able to take hold quickly, and deal with the unexpected while keeping the commission properly informed.
IRB Interim City Manager Danny Taylor indicated that the search for a new City Manager in IRB continues but that Sanders would start with the blessing of the commission. Taylor has been with the city in different capacities and may be a candidate for the City Manager position if offered.
Currently Sanders will be directly responsible to the City Commission as a charter officer. If voters approve a charter change in March, he will then report to the city manager.
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