Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

With commission divided, Madeira Beach candidate withdraws

MADEIRA BEACH — Allen Godfrey won't become the city's next interim city manager and public works director.

Amid growing controversy over his background and qualifications and a bitter 3-2 split on the commission, Godfrey withdrew his candidacy Wednesday during a meeting with Mayor Travis Palladeno.

Godfrey's decision came one day after a heated City Commission meeting at which Vice Mayor Carol Reynolds read negative excerpts from a preliminary background check and Commissioner Terry Lister called him unqualified.

Despite their strong opposition, the other three commission members — Palladeno and Commissioners Nancy Oakley and Robin Vander Velde — approved an eight-month contract with Godfrey to be executed on completion of a full background check.

"By my stepping back, it may make the mayor's job a little easier," Godfrey said Thursday. "If the commission doesn't work together, the future of the city is going to be very bleak."

Godfrey, who did not attend or watch the Tuesday meeting, signed the contract on Wednesday and came to City Hall intending to sign a release form for a full background check, physical and drug screening.

"I met with the mayor and we reviewed part of the commission meeting. Some of the things Mr. Lister said were kind of concerning," Godfrey said.

Both Godfrey and Palladeno confirmed they reached a "mutual" agreement that it would be best for Godfrey to withdraw.

"We need a city manager, not another interim city manager," Palladeno said Friday, calling the controversy over Godfrey "a shame."

Palladeno, Oakley and Vander Velde first proposed that Godfrey take over as interim city manager more than a month ago.

Godfrey, one of 20 applicants for the permanent position, met Palladeno's priority requirements — strong public works experience in Seminole and Belleair Beach — and hands-on knowledge of local issues.

Lister and Reynolds, however, want city management experience, which Godfrey does not have.

"There is one gentleman in the audience that I would hire on the spot right now," Reynolds said Tuesday.

That man, Ray Irvin, a retired Indiana manager who is one of 20 applicants for the permanent job, told the commission he objected to the city conducting a search after "a decision that seems to have been already made."

Lister said Godfrey ranked "second to last" among the candidates for the job.

He also questioned why Godfrey refused for weeks to take a drug test. Godfrey explained Thursday he wanted an agreement on a contract first.

During Tuesday's debate, Reynolds read a statement from a former Seminole employee alleging that Godfrey had exhibited "racism against persons of African-American origin and females."

Reynolds maintained that charge and other negative reviews about Godfrey could be a "real problem" for the city if he were hired.

"If I read those documents, I would have thought I was an ax murderer, too," Godfrey said when asked Thursday about the negative comments.

He said he did not supervise the employee, Patty Kordis.

Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds could not be reached for comment.

Godfrey's current boss, Belleair Beach City Manager Nancy Gonzalez, says Godfrey is an "excellent" public works director.

Before hiring him, Gonzalez received positive personal recommendations from Edmunds and Seminole Mayor Jimmy Johnson.

The commission is expected to decide what to do next in its city manager search during a regular workshop meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Palladeno, who is eager to begin preparing next year's city budget and improving the city's infrastructure, will push to hire an outside consultant to provide an "unbiased" recommendation on future candidates.

"I want to make sure there is no controversy out there," Palladeno said.

Lister agreed, but wants instead to review the remaining 19 candidates, and interview the top three. "I want us to be unified and move forward."

With commission divided, Madeira Beach candidate withdraws 06/04/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 4, 2011 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way


    Rays veteran RHP Alex Cobb had a lot to say Monday about the team needing to focus on getting past .500 and building a winning record.

    And after the disappointing 3-2 loss that …

  2. Tampa murder suspect told police he wanted to stop neo-Nazi roommates from committing acts of domestic terrorism


    TAMPA — After he admitted to shooting two roommates and led police to their dead bodies, Devon Arthurs said he committed the killings to prevent the pair from carrying out terrorist acts, a prosecutor wrote in a court filing.

    Devon Arthurs, 18, told police  he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with his roommates, Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk, until he converted to Islam, according to a police report.
[Tampa Police]
  3. Pinellas School Board approves plan that aims to close achievement gap


    After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the Pinellas County School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan that aims to tackle the achievement gap in 10 years and settles a long-running lawsuit over the education of …

    "I'm an optimist. I think this is going to work," Pinellas School Board member Linda Lerner said Tuesday after the board was presented with a plan that aims to settle a long-running lawsuit over the education of black students and close the achievement gap. The board voted 7-0 to approve the plan. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. With big concerts approaching, Tampa Bay venues remain vigilant after Manchester attack

    Public Safety

    In the aftermath of an explosion that killed at least 22 people — including children — moments after a pop concert ended in England on Monday night, local venues are assuring the public that security will continue to be tight at the Tampa Bay area's upcoming big-ticket shows.

    Fans cross Himes Avenue in Tampa toward Raymond James Stadium before the start of Beyonce's Formation World Tour in Tampa on April 29, 2016. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  5. Kahwa Coffee to open second drive-thru store in St. Petersburg


    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.
[Times file photo]