Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Madeira Beach city commissioners find footing after rocky period

MADEIRA BEACH — After a rocky two months, the new City Commission appeared to find its political and governing footing Wednesday.

After a workshop that lasted more than three hours, commissioners agreed on how to search for a city manager and finance director, hire professional help to prepare a new budget by July 1, and prioritize goals for the next two years.

In between, commissioners discussed marina redevelopment progress; using electronic radar speed signs to slow neighborhood traffic; how the Fire Department's improved rating is expected to reduce some residential and commercial insurance premiums; a "kinder, gentler approach" to code enforcement; and spending $90,000 to repair city-owned seawall caps.

"It was a long meeting, but it was worth every minute of it," Mayor Travis Palladeno said Friday. "I feel great. We are all getting on the same page. This is the way I want meetings to go."

Palladeno said he wanted to give the entire commission time to talk and work out its differences.

A major source of controversy at past meetings — who will become the city's next city manager — is no longer centered on one person, but rather a slate of at least five candidates.

Previously, two commissioners adamantly opposed a plan to hire Belleair Beach Public Works Director Allen Godfrey as the next city manager.

Godfrey withdrew his candidacy June 1 as controversy grew.

The commission plans to discuss potential candidates at a workshop before calling in top picks for interviews.

In the meantime, another potential sore spot — who will perform a background check on these candidates — appears to be resolved.

Instead of using the city's human resources manager, Deborah Cline, the commission agreed to hire a consultant.

Cline's initial background check on Godfrey led, in part, to the controversy over his appointment. She also initiated a hostile work environment claim last month against Commissioner Robin Vander Velde.

Interim City Manager Bill Mallory is expected to give the commission a list of outside firms and their proposed fees at Tuesday's 7 p.m. meeting.

He will also give the commission a list of his top picks to fill the finance director position. Under the city charter, the city manager hires the finance director with commission consent.

On Monday, Frederick Nutt, a retired city manager, county administrator and, most recently, top administrator for Hillsborough County's Public Works Department, will begin helping Mallory prepare the city's 2011-2012 budget.

That proposed budget must be completed by July 1 to enable the commission to decide what it will set as the maximum property tax rate for next year.

The deadline for setting the tentative millage rate is July 31. During budget deliberations, the commission can decide to lower that rate, but it cannot exceed it.

To get all of its tasks done, the commission has a couple of busy months planned.

Before Tuesday's meeting, the commission will meet for a special orientation workshop with its new attorney, Tom Trask, to discuss state laws relating to ethics, the open meeting Sunshine Law, and management and access to public records.

The preliminary budget will be presented during a 5 p.m. workshop July 6 and discussed in more depth at a special budget workshop on July 20, also beginning at 5 p.m.

Further budget workshops and final hearings have not been scheduled.

The commission also has regular voting meetings set for July 12 and 26 when it is expected to set the tentative millage rate.

Madeira Beach city commissioners find footing after rocky period 06/11/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 11, 2011 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pitching on no rest backfires for Erasmo Ramirez, Rays

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — After battling through a 61/2-hour affair Sunday in Minnesota that was the second-longest game in franchise history, Rays officials were quick to decide that even though Erasmo Ramirez had just worked the 15th and final inning, they would stick with him to start Monday's game in Texas.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers, comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)