Belleair Beach Council Solves Process Issues
by Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR BEACH - The City Council avoided the necessity of a referendum question dealing with the status of the city clerk and city treasurer at its meeting Monday night and came up with a solution that is basically one of check and balance.
Under present charter language, the council evaluates the performance of the two positions which are charter jobs, but Councilmember Richard Crowl had pointed out that as a council member he had no thoroughgoing knowledge of job performance in the two positions and advocated placing both under the city manager.
Putting the clerk and treasurer under the jurisdiction of the council was to avoid a situation where a manager might fire a person in either job for willy-nilly reasons.
The solution that was produced Monday night calls for the city manager to exercise ongoing daily supervision of the two jobs and the responsibility to evaluate both which then will be subject to council review.
Another process problem involved the Board of Adjustment.
Under the board's rules, four of the seven members of the board present constitute a quorum but any decision made with the four must be unanimous.
A problem arose recently when a petitioner was made aware that only four members would be present but the petitioner decided to abide by the unanimous rule. One board member, however, balked and the petitioner lost out and cannot re-apply for a year.
Deeming this unfair, the council recommended to the Board of Adjustment that a majority of a quorum be the rule and also to have a system where an alternate member will be on call when a bare quorum impends.
The suggestions will be passed on to the Board of Adjustment which will make its own decision on the matter.
Going back in history, condominium buildings in the city were required to have fire pumps available for fire fighting purposes because, at that time, water pressures were low and pumps were needed to force water to second and third floor levels.
There is no state requirement for such pumps. They are outmoded. And Suncoast Fire & Rescue, having been consulted, was amenable to a condominium installing a fire hydrant from which its fire fighters can pump water as necessary.
But because of possible other legalities and liability the plan is being delayed until those elements are checked out.
Also delayed was action on contracting with a fuel supply company for providing services to boat owners at the marina.
City Attorney Paul Marino asked that action on a resolution that would amend the per diem and travel expense policy be delayed until he can check any possible state requirements.
One measure that will go to referendum concerns the time for the submission of the annual budget by the city manager to the council.
Present law calls for the budget to be submitted by July 1, but this has put a time constraint on the council because all the necessary figures from the Appraiser's Office are not available.
Under the proposed change, the charter language for budget submission will read that the manager must submit the document "in a timely manner."
This will allow the council and manager, on a year to year basis, to coordinate budget submission, depending on the availability of the necessary numbers from the Appraiser.
Nancy Gonzalez, the city manager, was recognized for achieving her credentials as Master Municipal Clerk, a pursuit she continued to work on during her time as manager.
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