Saturday, April 21, 2018
News Roundup

New Madeira Beach city manager fires new finance director

MADEIRA BEACH — One week after taking over management of the city, Shane Crawford dismissed the finance director appointed by his predecessor just weeks earlier.

In a memo to the City Commission, Crawford said Wednesday that he "deemed it necessary to remove Mr. Wayne Shirley" the previous day.

The new city manager's action appears to solidify his control of the city administration and was applauded by Mayor Travis Palladeno.

"I support him 100 percent," Palladeno said Thursday.

Shirley was hired in October by then-Interim City Manager Jim Madden.

Crawford said he knew of the appointment before he accepted the post of city manager, but was assured by the commission that he had the "flexibility" to remove him if he felt it necessary.

When Crawford took over on Jan. 17, he discovered the city's current finances were a "mess" because of the months the city was without a finance director.

Former finance director Monica Mitchell resigned in April, shortly after Palladeno and two commissioners were elected.

She is now assistant finance director for Clearwater. During her seven years in Madeira Beach she consistently won awards for the budgets that she prepared for the city.

During the summer, the city hired a consultant to help put the 2012-2013 budget together, but day-to-day financial reporting was neglected.

"We are substantially behind," Crawford said Thursday. "When I asked for information, Mr. Shirley and I had a difference of opinion on what was expected from the finance department."

Crawford then discussed the disagreement with the city's attorney to make sure he had the authority to dismiss Shirley.

"He was still a probationary employee. There was no disciplinary action or motivation. We had opposing viewpoints," Crawford explained.

The city manager said he plans to meet with the city's auditors next week to see what assistance they can give in getting the city's financial reporting caught up.

Meanwhile, Crawford will begin a recruiting process for a new finance director, but says he may delay that appointment and hire temporary accountants to resolve more than six months of financial backlogs.

"I am trying to sift through what has been done over the past year," Crawford said. "I plan to bring a complete restructuring of the city administration to the commission."

Over the past year, the city lost a number of its top city administrators either just before or just after the March election.

Crawford now has the responsibility to fill those positions.

Comments
Motorcyclist dies after crash on Memorial Highway

Motorcyclist dies after crash on Memorial Highway

TAMPA — A motorcyclist driving north on Memorial Highway died after he crashed into a guard rail late Friday, police said."The man failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a guard rail," said Lt. Brett Owen. "No other vehicle was involved i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

TAMPA — Shaquem Griffin wakes up knowing each day will be better than the last and barely unable to wait until tomorrow."It's just a whirlwind,'' Griffin said.On Thursday, he will walk the red carpet with his family, including his twin brother,...
Updated: 4 hours ago
After months, no action on Hillsborough’s substitute teacher problem

After months, no action on Hillsborough’s substitute teacher problem

TAMPA — Confronted in late 2017 with reports of misconduct by substitute teachers hired through a contractor, Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins said he would ask tough questions and demand answers. He had his lawyer, Jeff Gibson, ...
Published: 04/21/18
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Published: 04/21/18
Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

LARGO — Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal.What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate."I just felt so disrespected and violated," said Victoria Armstrong, whose fiance, Linus F. Phillip, was shot and...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

DUNEDIN — After losing a four-run lead thanks to a bad sixth inning, it would have been easy for Clearwater Central Catholic to fold against Dunedin in the final of the 49th annual Dunedin Spring Tournament. But quality relief pitching from Gar...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up the ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blue line. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by (Lightning...
Updated: 12 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 20

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 15, Central 0
Updated: 12 hours ago