BELLEAIR BEACH - The matter of what agency will police this city came close to decision time Monday night as the City Council set a work session meeting for today to discuss proposals from Belleair and the Sheriff's Office.
What became eminently clear is that Paul Marino, the city attorney, is strongly opposed to the contract the sheriff has offered.
When the subject came up on the agenda Monday night and it was restricted to just setting a date for the work session discussion, Marino spoke for about 10 minutes and said he listed "19 concerns as a matter of law" in the proposed contract from the sheriff.
It is hard to criticize Marino for throwing what some call "sand in the gears," because, as city attorney, he has a duty to legally protect the best interests of the city.
Marino has prepared a contract for the city that will be offered to the Sheriff's Office and in reviewing his criticisms of the PCSO proposal, contrasts them with proposals in the pact he prepared.
Emphasizing that his 19 concerns are "serious," Marino provided Mayor Lynn Rives and each of the members of the council his list of concerns. In his memo he said that Councilmember Richard Crowl, also a lawyer, had reviewed the "objections and concerns" in the sheriff's proposed agreement.
Among them are these -
- The proper facts are not set forth in the preamble and recitals.
- The agreement misstates the proper authority in Florida Statutes for the agreement.
- The contract contains no definitions.
- There is no reference to the Sheriff's Office employing current officers from the Belleair Beach Police Department.
- A strong criticism of how proper legal authority is vested which could have liability ramifications.
- Problems with the indemnification provisions.
- No need for start up costs.
In conclusion of his memo, Marino says, "These are just the highlights of my objections to the sheriff's draft proposal, and I sincerely hope the City Council advises that the city's proposal is the only acceptable contract for the city for the reasons stated."
Marino has advised that he will be out of the country when the matter is taken up by the council but advised that Crowl understands the issues and recommended that another lawyer, whom he names, be referred to for analysis.
In other action Monday night, the council appointed Mitchell Krach to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Jeff Coulson, who was honored a the outset of the meeting with recognition of his service.
Ken Lucci, by a vote of 5-2, was appointed to the Board of Adjustment. Barbara Hafner was the choice of Councilmembers Kathy Mortensen and Mary Schoonover, both of whom favored Barbara Hafner. Jim Corrigan was re-appointed to the board.
The council voted to appropriate $30,000 to install four pedestrian activated crosswalks in Gulf Boulevard.
Also approved was an additional $25,000 homestead exemption, bringing the total to $50,000, for residents over the age of 65 and with household income less than $24,000.
The search committee for a new city manager to replace the departed Reid Silverboard hopes to have someone in place by September 1, maybe before that.
The group met May 2 to set out a plan of procedure in the search. Already resumes have been received by more than 20 applicants.
The committee, made up of Mayor Lynn Rives and Councilmembers Mary Schoonover and Stan Sofer, along with three residents they each have named - Rudy Davis, Ken Lucci and Marie Doyle, will next supply the applicants with forms to fill out, including some written exercises.
This is to learn how articulate an applicant is, how well he or she develops thoughts and ideas in writing. In addition, the applications will seek basic information.