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Consultant will help city fill positions

With three top jobs open and uncertainty about how to fill them, city officials have decided to pay a consultant to help.

Starting in the next few weeks, management consultant Robert Chambers will meet with Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds to chart a strategy for hiring a certified building official, a new city clerk and someone to serve as a liaison between the city and developers.

The analysis could take a few months and will delay the hiring of a community development director. But Edmunds and City Council members think the investment will pay off.

Chambers will be paid "no more than" $85 an hour, Edmunds said. He did not know how many hours Chambers will work.

"I think this is a good move for the city," council member Paul Trexler said. "It's something we need to do."

The city is turning to Chambers because of three recent developments: City Clerk Dorothy Cramer's announcement that she will retire in April, technical services director George Kingsbury's decision to resign in January and the creation last month of a community development director's job.

Kingsbury's job, the community development director's job or both may need to be redefined, Edmunds said.

"That's what we need to do an analysis for," Edmunds said. "We'll determine what is the best structure to fit our needs."

Kingsbury oversees the technical services department, works as city engineer and helps developers work through the building process.

The city still needs someone to supervise the department and do engineering work, Edmunds said. And Edmunds and a majority of City Council members want an employee to work full time to encourage economic growth and help developers.

But Edmunds also wants to make sure someone is responsible for overseeing the technical aspects of construction and codes enforcement.

It will be Chambers' job to advise Edmunds on what kind of employees to hire and how to divide responsibilities.

Chambers, of St. Pete Beach, worked with the city about two years ago to create its current organizational structure. Along with evaluating the technical services department, he will advise Edmunds and the council on hiring a new clerk.