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Three finalists vie for St. Pete Beach city clerk position

ST. PETE BEACH — A new city clerk may be selected April 28 after the City Commission's candidate interviews.

Pamela Prell, the city's deputy clerk and currently acting city clerk, is one of three finalists.

The other candidates are Dana Williams, who until recently was city clerk in Arcadia, and Rebecca Haynes, a former deputy city clerk for Cape Coral.

All three are either certified municipal clerks or hold multiple certifications in handling and management of public records.

Williams, who is working on certification as a master municipal clerk, resigned from her job in Arcadia just before she sent in her application to St. Pete Beach in February.

She said she decided to leave after a little more than a year because of "a lack of decorum" and "remarks of a personal nature" during public meetings.

Previously she served for short periods as town clerk/administrator for Hillsboro Beach and as assistant city clerk and records manager for Palmdale, Calif., and for six years as city clerk in Destin.

According to her application, Williams was terminated from her Destin position when she refused to sign a separation agreement. She challenged that termination and won a settlement from the city.

Haynes currently is executive assistant to the board of directors and CEO of the Riverside Bank of the Gulf Coast in Cape Coral, where she was that city's deputy city clerk from 2007 to 2009.

Before moving to Florida, she was records supervisor for the Royal Oak, Mich., Police Department, city clerk for Boyne City, also in Michigan, and records supervisor for the police department in Truckee, Calif.

Haynes has a bachelor's degree in public administration and community development and holds multiple certifications relating to the handling and administration of public records.

Prell has worked for St. Pete Beach since 1985, starting as secretary to the then city manager. She later worked in the city's finance department and the city clerk's office as an administrative secretary.

She became deputy city clerk in 1988 and has twice served as acting city clerk —1997-98 and most recently since November 2010 when former City Clerk Teri McMaster resigned.

Prell is a certified master municipal clerk and is president of the Pinellas County Municipal Clerk's Association.

Under the city charter, the city clerk is hired and fired by the City Commission, but is supervised by the city manager.

McMaster received a highly critical review of her job performance last fall. Her 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, Nev.

McMaster had 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.

Another beach city, Madeira Beach, is also in the hunt for a new city clerk after the recent resignation of 22-year veteran Denise Schlegel, who is now city clerk for Dunedin.

The Madeira Beach commission will review nine applications for the post at its workshop meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The goal, according to Interim City Manager and fire Chief Bill Mallory, is to rate the applicants to create a short list of finalists.

"Hopefully we can have interviews set up within a week and go from there," Mallory said Tuesday.

Three finalists vie for St. Pete Beach city clerk position 04/19/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 7:04pm]

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