Belleair Beach Council Pushes to Make McCollum City Manager
by Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR BEACH - What is most obvious is the desire of the City Council to have Nancy McCollum, currently the city clerk and serving as quasi manager, become this city's full-time manager.
That desire became manifest at Monday night's regular meeting when Councilmember Richard Crowl proposed McCollum for the job, an invitation she had previously declined.
A vigorous discussion followed, taking up aspects that might present obstacles to McCollum assuming the post.
She is close to achieving her master clerk certification and does not want this to go by the boards.
Another potential problem is a conflict in the charter which forbids one person performing two charter officer jobs. An attorney general's opinion is being sought on those aspects.
If things work out, and McCollum is protected in her career, she would take the job. Part of that protection is that she would have a fall-back position; that is, she could return to her job as city clerk.
McCollum has expressed her desire to continue her career in Belleair Beach until retirement.
Already on board is Patty Gentry, an administrative assistant who could phase into the clerk's job.
As to expertise on public works, environmental issues, emergency management, Peter Cavalli is well trained in these areas and can give support to the manager.
The council is working toward consensus on all the various aspects and the goal is obviously to make McCollum the city manager.
One inherent problem in the market is that Belleair Beach is small and bringing in an outside person ordinarily means the city would get someone starting out, or an old hand finishing out a career.
Money is a consideration. For example, two candidates that the search committee spoke with are both in larger cities being paid in the $60,000 to $70,000 range but want, in one case, $80,000 to $85,000 to come to Belleair Beach and, in the other case, $90,000.
In other action in a 19-item agenda that ran long, the council dealt with problems going on at Morgan Park.
The park is now open, by law, to the general public and use of the area by skim boarders has created a conflict with nearby condo residents.
Avoiding a heated and volatile situation, the council heard both sides at its meeting Monday night and a skim boarders organization agreed to police its own ranks, maintaining that some of the problems were brought about by a "few bad apples."
On a street sign enhancement project, the council decided to go slow on this expensive undertaking, doing the upgrading on a gradual schedule.
Tony Hornick, project manager for the new causeway-bridge, gave an update, reporting that everything was on schedule.
One problem is when traffic has to be halted for alternating one-way movement when concrete pouring is taking place.
The project's web site, www.belleaircausewaybridge.com will have live cameras so that someone contemplating using the bridge can get an immediate status situation before leaving home.
At its budget review meeting last week, the council did some belt tightening and otherwise made no significant changes to the proposed budget.
The 2008 budget - figured at about $2.5 million - will be more than 13 percent less than outlays in the current budget. The millage rate is 1.98.
Of concern to council members was the referendum in January that could radically change current law and have a strong affect on ad valorem revenue.
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