LARGO -- After much huffing and puffing and wheezing and calendar consulting and shuffling, it has been decided that the new Largo Library will have its grand opening July 31.
The date had orginally been pegged for June 26 with the attendant gala and fund raising efforts by the Library Foundation, still struggling to meet its $1.9 million goal.
As the City Commission discussed the event February 1 it was clear that there were several obstacles to the June 26 date, not least of which was that Mayor Bob Jackson could not attend. He will be at a reunion marking the 50th anniversary of his college graduation class, he said.
Another factor, and perhaps more critical, is that the late June date would have put the library, its staff and Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert on a split-second schedule in getting the old building closed and 225,000 or so items moved into the new quarters.
As it is, the library will be closed from May 29 to June 26. Casey McPhee, the assistant director who will take complete charge next summer, said that two weeks had been alloted for the move.
All hands agreed that this was not enough time. Whatever calendaring had existed, five weeks have been added to it. When Clearwater transferred into its new building it used eight weeks.
The meeting was lengthened at the outset by an invocation that covered all aspects of the world now and previous which was followed by the information that Commissioner Charlie Harper had left public office because of health problems.
When John Atanasio, during citizen comments, raised questions as to the "investigation" of the mystery accusations involving Harper he got no answer but Mayor Bob Jackson commented that the city attorney's opinion said that the commission had "no involvement."
Because the whole business was wreathed in secrecy and no one was supposed to have told another what was going on, it made even more puzzling on reflection the comment by one commissioner some days ago that, "I know what it's all about, but I can't talk about it."
The commission raised questions about the employment agreement being constructed with Jeff Bullock, who becomes the new fire chief March 1.
Why do not all department heads have them? Why is it pick and choose?
City Manager Steve Stanton explained that difference circumstances obtain in different cases and he tailors the relationship to that.
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