INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - A closer look at an agenda item that was postponed at the Indian Rocks Beach City Commission meeting December 12 reveals that Andy Salzman, the city's lawyer, is on the board of directors of the bank whose representative was scheduled to give a presentation.
Agenda item 1A listed a presentation on investment opportunities for the city with something called CDARS (Certificates of Deposit Accounts Registry Services).
Because Martin Schless, IRB's finance director, was on medical leave, the presentation was put off until January, with no date specified. The commission next meets on January 9.
Commissioner Jose Coppen opined on the subject of the CDARS that these investment instruments are very illiquid (meaning its hard to access your money quickly) and don't seem appropriate to municipalties.
Steve Zahorian of the Patriot Bank was scheduled to talk about investments at the December 12 meeting.
Patriot Bank, it turns out, is a one-office bank in a place called Trinity in Pasco County which is just over the Pinellas line.
But of even more interest is that Salzman is listed on the board of directors of Patriot Bank.
This association raises questions of conflict of interest and perhaps self-dealing because as the city's lawyer, Salzman would have to sign off on any instruments the city invested in.
Salzman has made no public disclosure of his ties to Patriot Bank.
In other action, the commission appeared to back off slightly from the idea of hiring an interim city manager.
Mayor Bill Ockunzzi was adamant that an interim person should be hired but some arguments have become compelling to members of the commission that this is a long way around the barn and doesn't make much sense.
Position that are filled on an interim basis are usually done so from within an organization. The problems attendant to hiring an outsider on an interim basis are numerous and it is questionable why an professional would take a job on an interim basis.
IRB's sad experience over the last year with the city manager now leaving should have given ample evidence of the perils of having aboard someone in an executive position who is ceaselessly looking for another job.
The commission has a deadline of January 15 to receive applications for city manager and voted last week, 4-1, to wait until all applications are in hand and then decide if an interim or permanent manager should be hired.
Also put off until next month was the agreement with the county over the parking lot project on Gulf Boulevard.
There was a discussion on minimum lot size requirements. Coppen said he believed that an application to build a multi-family residents on a lot smaller than 5,800 square feet should require a variance.
Coppen also said that "approval of three residential units in a sub-standard lot, where only one is permitted, represents in increase in density and required a super-majority vote."
Despite the postponing of several items, the meeting drudged on until midnight when the commission decided to call it quits for the night and for the year.
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