REDINGTON BEACH – As Public Works Director Mark Davis prepares to retire by the end of the year, the Redington Beach Town Commission discussed the potential need for redefining many of the duties, responsibilities and job titles within that department at its Feb. 4 meeting.
Grant Allen, Davis’ assistant within the Public Works department for the past several years, is expected to assume much of the work once Davis leaves his post.
Davis, according to town clerk Missy Clark, has voiced confidence in Allen’s ability to take over the reins but did express some concern about duties that might go unmet if Allen is suddenly overloaded with new responsibilities that require his attention.
Mayor Nick Simons added that eventually a new employee would be hired to take over some of the duties currently handled by Allen thereby lightening the burden somewhat.
The commissioners expressed cautious optimism that the transition in the department’s leadership should be relatively painless.
“There’s going to be somewhat of a learning curve as we get into a new process,” said Commissioner Fred Steiermann.
Aside from overseeing the cleaning, repairs and maintenance of town property, the position requires the department head to file reports on a regular basis affirming municipality compliance with the State’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), a stormwater program, established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The commissioners themselves expressed cautious optimism that the transition in the department’s leadership should be relatively painless.
“There’s going to be somewhat of a learning curve as we get into a new process,” said Steiermann.
Of more concern to the commission, however, is the issue of code enforcement. Davis also serves as the town’s code enforcement officer, but Allen does not have the training or background to take over these responsibilities.
Among the options discussed by the commission included contracting for this service with Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office – an expensive option as pointed out by Simons but more likely to result in compliance.
Another possibility mentioned was entering into an agreement with a neighboring municipality in which the two towns would share the services of a code enforcement official.
The commission acknowledged that continued discussion on redefining the job descriptions for both public works and code enforcement will be ongoing in the coming months.
“The more information we get at this juncture will help us,” said Steiermann.
“We will call it a work in progress,” said Simons.
Town attorney exits
After less than a year on the job, town attorney Brandon Huffman has resigned to join a media law firm in Raleigh, N.C.
Huffman resigned Jan. 27 from his position with the firm Trask, Metz and Daigneault, according to a letter addressed to the commission by Jay Daigneault who said, “ . . . the news came as a surprise to me as I’m sure it is to you.”
He informed the board that his partner, Robert J. Metz, would be handling the town’s legal affairs on an interim basis unless the commission chose to look elsewhere for a replacement.
The commission, however, voted unanimously to appoint Metz as the town’s attorney on a permanent basis.
Metz, who was present at the meeting and sitting alongside the commissioners, also serves as the town attorney for Indian Shores. “I would love to be your town attorney. I was born and raised in Clearwater … third generation, and I’m not going anywhere,” Metz told the commission.
Elephant on the beach
Looking to inject a bit of “joie de vivre” for her 60th birthday bash in May, resident Claudia McCorkle came before the commission seeking permission to invite an Asian elephant to her party.
In a letter to the commission, McCorkle, who lives on Gulf Boulevard where the party will be held, said the animal will be traveling in a 65-foot trailer, which will be parked at a Redington Beach access so the elephant does not have to parade past five homes, most of which are unoccupied according to McCorkle, in order to get to the beach.
The elephant, according to McCorkle, will be spending most of the time outside her home by the seawall awaiting partygoers who have always wanted to ride an elephant.
McCorkle also provided the town with a letter from Xtreme Entertainment, the outfitter based in Sorrento, Fla., that would be supplying the elephant offering assurances that the company’s elephant vendor has been handling the animals for over 40 years and is licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife.
This particular elephant who has had a career in movies and television is described in the letter from Xtreme as “well mannered and always the star attraction.”
McCorkle provided a letter of support from her neighbor who said the party pachyderm would be more than welcome to amble over to their yard to stretch her legs should she choose.
The board agreed unanimously to grant McCorkle’s request.