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Treasure Island official resigns

City Manager Ralph Stone notified his bosses Monday that he is leaving in 30 days.

Stone, 56, has been manager of the beach community since August 2004. On Tuesday morning, he told department heads of his resignation. Stone said several factors contributed to his decision to leave a job that he had hoped to keep until his retirement.

Recently, Stone had been frustrated with some commissioners who raised concerns about a downtown redevelopment plan after months of review.

He and Commissioner Ed Gayton got into a testy exchange during a Nov. 21 meeting in which Gayton questioned the way the plan would be presented to voters.

Stone said no commissioners had come to him with problems before that discussion, even though the plan had been in the works for a year.

He had hoped to put the yearlong issue to the voters during the city's March 2007 election but said Tuesday that is unlikely.

Coupled with his frustration over the redevelopment plan, Stone has been commuting for many months to Fort Lauderdale, where his wife, Julie Taylor, manages a law firm.

He said he has received two "very attractive" job offers in local government and plans to accept one of those jobs. Both are out of town, but Stone declined to say where.

"Any city manager, in particular when you start to get into serious redevelopment issues, is going to run into challenges," Stone said. "If Julie was here, I would still be here."

In October, Stone received an 8.7 percent raise from commissioners, bringing his annual salary to $106,362. In his resignation letter to commissioners, Stone recommended they appoint fire Chief Charlie Fant as interim city manager when he leaves.

Mayor Mary Maloof said she had expected Stone would resign, knowing about his commute to Fort Lauderdale and observing his frustration with the redevelopment issues.

"I'm just extremely sad because I had hoped that we would get the downtown redevelopment plan going with him," she said.

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