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St. Pete Beach clerk's job attracts 35 applicants

ST. PETE BEACH — Deputy City Clerk Pam Prell and Madeira Beach City Clerk Denise Schlegel are among 35 applicants vying for the city clerk position here.

Prell, 51, has served in her position since 1988 and became a certified municipal clerk in 1993.

She was named St. Pete Beach's Management Employee of the Year in 1994 and earned a Distinguished Service Award in 1997. She has served as secretary of the Pinellas County Municipal Clerk's Association and is a member of the Florida Association of City Clerks, the International Association of City Clerks, the Florida Records Management Association and the National Association of Professional Women.

Schlegel, 52, has worked in Madeira Beach for 22 years and was appointed city clerk in 1992. She is also a certified municipal clerk.

Schlegel is a past president of the Pinellas County Municipal Clerk's Association and is a member of the Florida Association of City Clerks and the International Association of City Clerks.

If Schlegel were hired in St. Pete Beach, she would be the third top Madeira Beach official to recently leave that city, where the new commission is expected to take a stronger role in the city's management.

On Monday, three days after former City Manager W.D. Higginbotham Jr.'s last day on the job in Madeira Beach, he became president and executive director of the Treasure Island Chamber of Commerce.

Previously, Paula Cohen quit as planning and zoning director for Madeira Beach and was hired as a senior planner for the city of Treasure Island.

The new St. Pete Beach city clerk will replace Teri McMaster, who held the job for 13 years. She resigned in November following a highly critical review of her job performance.

McMaster, a certified city clerk, succeeded Jane Ellsworth, who in 1997 was fired as city clerk, reinstated and then allowed to resign, taking with her a $110,000 settlement that ended her lawsuit against the city over alleged sexual harassment by former City Manager Danny Walker.

McMaster's operation of the city clerk's office first came under fire in 2009 when a consultant hired by City Manager Mike Bonfield criticized the department's "work culture" and called for the clerk to provide stronger leadership for her department.

She also was reprimanded for charging over $1,000 in personal expenses to a city credit card during a professional trip to Reno.

McMaster was a master city clerk and served two terms on the Florida Association of City Clerks as its central west director.

Bonfield is responsible for supervising the city clerk, but under the city's charter the City Commission will hire McMaster's replacement.

In addition to Prell and Schlegel, seven other applicants have experience as government clerks: Michael D. Cox (Tonawanda, N.Y., Bradenton, Hernando County, Tamarac and Oakland Park); Rebecca C. Haynes (Cape Coral and Boyne City, Mich.); Pamela J. Lopez (Lake Worth, Lauderdale Lakes and Deerfield Beach); Raquel Diaz (South Bay and Pahokee); Donna Schwartz (Millville, Del., and Fenwick Island, Del.); Mickey D. Todd (Harper Woods, Mich., and Roseville, Mich.); and Dana Williams (Arcadia, Hillsboro Beach, Palmdale and Destin).

Bonfield said Tuesday that he will evaluate the applicants and recommend the top three, who will be formally interviewed by the commission in April.

St. Pete Beach clerk's job attracts 35 applicants 03/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 5:36pm]
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