BELLEAIR BEACH - Belleair Beach's City Council will meet in a special session this afternoon, dealing with a welter of problems that currently afflict the city.
The departure of key employees is one. The police situation is a nagging problem. The future of the city manager vies for top billing.
Mayor Rudy Davis, an experienced businessman, is approaching the problems with a sense of mental balance, knowing full well there are things he can control and others he cannot.
Take the leaving of Melanie Newman, the city's finance officer, and Pete Cavelli, whose title has been administrative services coordinator.
Newman is stepping up professionally. She has a young family and is looking to their future as well as her own, Davis points out.
Cavelli wants to go back to school. Already well educated, he has indicated he might be happier toiling in the groves of academe.
In short, Davis says, "How can we be opposed to anyone trying to better him or herself in terms of career or work satisfaction?"
As to Reid Silverboard, the city manager, he is pretty good at what he does and that can militate on the bad side for Belleair Beach. In other words, there are others who want his services - others in bigger cities and who pay more. Again, Davis cannot criticize career advancement, he says.
"We knew we might lose Reid to another city when he came here," Davis says, "but what can you do? You want to pick someone who is good and competent even though they may move on."
Among city managers there is at least an unwritten ethical rule to remain under contract with a hiring city for at least two years (an ethical consideration honored only in the breach by neighboring Indian Rocks Beach city manager, Al Grieshaber, who is constantly job hunting; but then, he is not a member of the city managers professional association even though IRB's charter requires it).
Silverboard is nearing the end of the two years he has been in Belleair Beach and though he has been on the recruiting lists of other cities seeking managers he is still in Belleair Beach. But because he is in demand, Belleair Beach has the willies over the situation.
The silly idea of Councilmember Stan Sofer to combine jobs at city hall - e.g., clerk and manager combined or clerk, finance officer and manager combined - indicates to many observers a profound lack of knowledge as to how cities function and are run.
With today's demands from county, state and federal requirements no person could do any two let alone three of the jobs.
But then, observers say Sofer has his eye on the mayoral chair Davis promises to vacate come March and he may be trying to attract some attention - whether the ideas are silly and ludicrous or not.
The police department is the great bugaboo. It drags on with no contract yet signed between the union and the city.
And what bothers Davis is that Sheriff Jim Coats is picking off Belleair Beach officers, enticing them to the Sheriff's Office.
Chief Ernie Armistead left and Davis has very little criticism of that. "Ernie was at the top level he would reach in the city," he says, "and the move was good for his career."
It is no secret that Coats has his eye on bringing Belleair Beach and Belleair into his direct policing jurisdiction. There have been flirtations before by the PCSO with Belleair Beach but city residents have said no at referendums.
Another referendum may take place in March but in the meantime, Davis wishes that the sheriff would stop wooing Belleair Beach officers.
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