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Madeira Beach city clerk resigns for job in Dunedin

MADEIRA BEACH — After 22 years with the city and 19 years as its city clerk, Denise Schlegel resigned Friday to take a job as city clerk in Dunedin.

Her departure marks the second top administrator to leave the city around an election that created a majority commission highly critical of past management.

W.D. Higginbotham Jr. resigned as city manager just before the election.

Mayor Travis Palladeno said Tuesday that he has been assured by Interim City Manager and Fire Chief Bill Mallory that "everything is under control" regarding the running of the city.

Mallory said he has asked administrative assistant Francine Ettere to take over the clerk's duties until a new clerk can be hired.

The commission was slated to discuss finding a new city manager, as well as the status of its third charter officer, city attorney Michael Connolly, at a special meeting Tuesday night.

Charter officers, which include the city manager, city clerk and city attorney, are hired and fired by the commission. Other city employees are hired and fired by the city manager.

Some changes in those ranks also may be coming up.

"We will have a workshop next week and discuss some of the noncharter positions," Mallory said. "I want to run some ideas by the commission and get their feedback so we can get back to normal as quick as we can and go on from there."

Meanwhile, Palladeno and newly elected Commissioner Robin Vander Velde are hoping to poach some city clerk candidates from nearby St. Pete Beach.

Commissioners there plan to interview the top three candidates from a list of 30 city clerk applicants later in April.

Schlegel had applied there as well to replace former City Clerk Teri McMaster, who resigned in November after 13 years in St. Pete Beach.

Ironically, McMaster was a finalist for the clerk position in Dunedin.

Vander Velde e-mailed St. Pete Beach City Manager Mike Bonfield on Monday seeking his help in her city's search for a new clerk.

"I'm not aware if you have completed your screening process or not, but I would like to screen the applicants that applied in St. Pete Beach for the position here. As you may be aware, we are short-staffed at this time in more than one office and if we could shorten the application process for City Clerk, it would be a great help to us here in Madeira Beach," Vander Velde said in her e-mail.

Palladeno echoed that sentiment Tuesday, saying he hoped some of the St. Pete Beach clerk applicants would be suitable for Madeira Beach. He said the city is already receiving applications for the city clerk post.

Schlegel will leave her post on April 8 and begin her new job in Dunedin on April 18.

Unlike Madeira Beach, where she has no staff, she will supervise three full-time and two part-time people in her department. She is getting a $2,000 raise above her current $65,000 salary and a $200-a-month car allowance.

Dunedin has a population of about 37,000 compared to about 4,500 people who live in Madeira Beach. Schlegel will replace a clerk who resigned after less than a year on the job, but Dunedin's previous clerk had worked for the city about 31 years and became city clerk in 2004.

"Madeira Beach has been good to me, but this is an opportunity to work in a larger city that is much closer to my home in Palm Harbor," Schlegel said Tuesday.

Madeira Beach city clerk resigns for job in Dunedin 03/29/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 5:20pm]
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