Grieshaber Case Limps to a Final Conclusion
By Leo Coughlin
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - This city has pretty much recovered from the financial woes visited upon it by bad politics and incompetence over several years, but the Grieshaber matter, in its third year now, drags on.
The Grieshaber case is the last element of the hangover brought about by what has happening here several years ago under the administration of Mayor Bill Ockunzzi.
Elections and appointments of a new city manager, city finance officer, city attorney and some new faces on the elected City Commission have cleared the murk and muck.
It appears, according to Maura Kiefer, IRB's lawyer, that the only remaining pending matters are the award of lawyer's fees.
Grieshaber, city manager in the heyday of Ockunzzi, literally ran wild on his own agenda. He spent most of his time away from the city, trying to line up another job. He put as much as 500 miles a week on a city vehicle.
The city contended that Grieshaber gypped it on some moving expenses and sued for reimbursement. Grieshaber claimed he was owed compensation.
These are the issues in their simplest, boiled down form.
Why the legal contentions have gone on for almost three years is testimony to the elaborate dilatory tactics that can be waged by lawyers. And because Grieshaber himself is a lawyer that fact probably contributed to all the delays and backings and fillings.
Kiefer said that a jury awarded IRB the full reimbursement for moving expenses that it sought. Grieshaber won on his contention of getting some vacation pay.
She also said that both the city and Grieshaber are seeking reimbursement of their costs, as prevailing parties, under Florida law. "I anticipate each side will be awarded (its) appropriate costs," she said.
She said that "Grieshaber is also seeking partial reimbursement of his attorney's fees under the Florida labor statute, which allows attorney's fees to prevailing parties in wage claim disputes. The judge indicated that he thought 1/3 of Grieshaber's attorney's fees may be appropriate."
With those matters pending a hearing will be held to dispose of the final issues.
Calm and peace has returned to the city after the uproarious and contentious days of a few years ago and residents are looking forward to Saturday and the annual "Oktoberfest."
Simultaneous with that, the "Florida Coastal Cleanup" is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon at the 18th Avenue access. Volunteers will be provided with refreshments.
Oktoberfest will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Kolb Park, opposite City Hall.
Action 2000 and the Rotary Club are sponsoring the annual event which will feature live music, food, a silent auction, art exhibits, an antique show and a variety of other activities and events.
Looking forward, the commission has voted to cancel otherwise scheduled meetings for November 24 and December 22, thus extending the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays beyond their normal times.
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