INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- The Indian Rocks Beach City Commission gave its evaluation of City Manager John Coffey at its meeting last Thursday. It was trip to the woodshed for Coffey.
The comments ranged from extremely poor marks from Commissioner Jim Palamara to a more sympathetic view from Commissioner R.B. Johnson.
Most moderate in comments was Mayor Bill Ockunzzi who joined in the general view that Coffey was excellent with the budget and numbers but seemed to have some problems with interpersonal relationships.
Jean Scott, returning to the commission to fill the seat left empty when Ockunzzi became mayor, did not participate in the evaluation.
At the end, it was decided to have the city attorney's office review the comments and suggest remedial measures for Coffey's perceived shortcomings.
The meeting opened with an hour and 15 minute session with County Commissioner Ronnie Duncan who, instead of delivering a lot of platitudes as is usually the case from county commission visitors, hit strongly at the "us and them" attitude that has grown up between the county government and cities.
"The county government has made errors in recent years," Duncan, who was elected to his first term on the commission last November, said.
"We want to be part of what you're doing. There is a ‘wobbling' effect," he continued, "and we need to fix the balance, we need to talk."
Duncan conceded that development procedures by the county has not fully included the cities as partners.
"The beach communities are the county's bread and butter," Duncan said. "I am committed to the beaches."
One of the dissatisfactions expressed in Indian Rocks Beach is that because the beach is a focus for tourists and visitors, many costs fall to the city for the maintenance of the beach and other tourist amenities.
Beach officials feel that money should be coming back from the county to help defray the expenses.
Duncan said he wanted the county and cities to be sitting at the same table and talking to each other.
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