Madeira Beach fire Chief Bill Mallory quits as interim city manager

MADEIRA BEACH — Fire Chief Bill Mallory abruptly quit as interim city manager Friday, just days after two members of the commission attacked him publicly for allegedly violating city purchasing rules.

"Unfortunately, with the unorthodox level of hostility increasingly growing with each board member, it has reached a point where giving 110 percent of my time and efforts is no longer possible," Mallory said in his resignation letter.

Since the beginning of the year, all but one of the city's top administrators have left or have had their jobs eliminated. Only Marina Director Dave Marsicano is left.

Marsicano is expected to be offered the temporary job running the city at a special City Commission meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

"I have spoken to another manager in the city regarding his availability to fill the interim city manager position until the new city manager is hired," Mayor Travis Palladeno said Thursday. "That manager has assured me he can handle the position temporarily and will work to fill the code enforcement position immediately."

Marsicano declined to comment.

Among those who left the city either before or after the election of a new commission majority in March are: W.D. Higginbotham Jr. (city manager), Paula Cohen (community development director), Denise Schlegel (city clerk), Monica Mitchell (finance director) and Mike Maxemow (public works director).

Deborah Cline's job as human resources manager was scrapped by the commission in the 2012 city budget. Maxemow quit just before his job was eliminated.

Mallory says he will remain as city fire chief, which pays him $74,672. He gave up an additional $2,000 a month he was paid while serving for the past 33 weeks as interim city manager.

"I have attempted to do everything that was asked of me by the commission, the residents and the general public at large," Mallory said in his resignation letter.

He said as other administrators left, he took on additional jobs "without complaint" but will no longer be responsible for those duties.

Attacks against his job performance while running the city were evident during Tuesday's commission meeting. It started when Jim Madden, a former city manager, called for Mallory to be fired.

At issue was $20,775 the city paid for a consultant to help Mallory and the commission prepare its recently approved 2011-2012 city budget.

"He lied to you, he absolutely lied to you," Madden said. "I would recommend he be replaced, that he be replaced with Dave, Capt. Dave (Marsicano)."

Commissioner Robin Vander Velde then called for a disciplinary hearing to investigate the matter.

Vander Velde, Madden and Commissioner Nancy Oakley contended the commission had capped the amount to be paid to the consultant, Fred Nutt, at $6,000.

City Attorney Tom Trask agreed Mallory exceeded his authority but stressed nothing illegal was done.

Vice Mayor Carol Reynolds and Palladeno defended Mallory.

Reynolds said the commission itself was negligent in not asking how much Nutt was being paid.

Thursday, Palladeno praised Mallory's work running the city, but added that in recent weeks some residents and commissioners were disenchanted with the slow pace in filling open city positions.

The commission twice failed while offering the permanent job to two candidates, who backed out during contract negotiations.

A Web ad posted by a consulting firm compares city residents "to the Cleaver family from the Leave it to Beaver television show" and describes commissioners as "intelligent, opinionated and spunky."

Madeira Beach fire Chief Bill Mallory quits as interim city manager 10/15/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 14, 2011 5:59pm]

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