BELLEAIR BLUFFS – Commission Bob Russo was criticized Monday night by his colleagues for apparently being instrumental in the transfer of a deputy.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office acts as the police force for the city.
Mayor Chris Arbutine opened the criticism by citing the transfer of a deputy that occurred without his knowledge.
“I was on record with the Sheriff’s Office that I did not want any changes made without being consulted,” Arbutine said.
Commissioner Dave Shimkus, like Brett Nelson returned to office without opposition, cited the contract with the Sheriff’s Office which says that personnel action initiated by the city must go through the commission.
Russo explained that he did not ask that the particular deputy be transferred, but said that he asked a PCSO official if it were possible to make such a move.
He said that he had complaints and other citizens did too over the lack of enforcement of certain elements of the code.
The commission agreed that Russo had acted beyond his authority. It was decided that Arbutine would take action to try to reverse the move.
In other action, John Tabor, a citizen, strongly criticized an ordinance that would create a Code Enforcement Board. Calling the procedure outlined in the first reading of the law an “abortion,” Tabor’s point was that the ordinance would give appointed people too many powers with the City Commission having no power of review.
Tom Trask, the city lawyer, reported that a hearing in Circuit Court on a long-contested problem with a property on Bluffview Drive resulted in the court denying the defendant’s motion to vacate an order on a stipulation between the city and defendant.
The case in which the city contends that the property violated the code goes back more than a year.
A “Stipulation for Settlement” reached last May presumably settled the matter, but the defendant did not perform and Trask sought court action to enforce the stipulation.
The owners of the property, not meeting the court’s requirements, faced a fine of $5,000 a day in contempt proceedings until they got back in court where they were found to be in “substantial compliance.”
In the lastest move, the defendants claimed that the stipulation does not comply with the law and asked the court to vacate its order.
Trask said Judge Brandt Downey rejected the request but made some modifications in the stipulation. Trask will pursue further action in an executive meeting with the commission next Monday.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition