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Beach Beacon
Redington honors retired clerk
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Retired Redington Beach town clerk Janina Patrus receives a plaque presented by the Town Commission Feb. 5 for her six years of service.
REDINGTON BEACH – Topping the agenda for the Feb. 5 Redington Beach Board of Commissioners meeting was a plaque awarded to Janina Patrus in honor of her years of service as the town clerk.

“Janina came to us at a time when we were having a little bit of turmoil in the town, and she performed admirably and for six years represented the town well. It was a pleasure for me to work with Janina and I am sure it was for everybody else,” said Mayor Nick Simons.

In response, Patrus, who brought along a cardboard tiara for the ceremony, thanked the commission for the “challenge.”

“I probably never would have moved to Florida other than taking this job,” she said. “Now I’ve had the opportunity to work in paradise. I may go away but I always come back.”

Patrus, an avid globetrotter, says she is planning a trip to the Adriatic seaport of Dubrovnik, Croatia, in the near future.

Patrus retired on Dec. 31 and Missy Clarke, the deputy town clerk, was appointed to that of town clerk by the board.

Bonfire policy

Residents seeking a permit for on-the-beach bonfires will be required to adhere to a set of standards now that town officials have voted to adopt new policy guidelines governing those fires. They include:

• Extinguishing the fire by midnight. Special exceptions to the time may be granted per the board of commissioners. No bonfires during turtle season from May 1 to Oct. 31.

• Location of bonfires will be restricted to Beach Park, but residents living on the Gulf of Mexico are allowed to have a bonfire at their homes with proper permitting.

• An applicant seeking a bonfire permit must first come to Town Hall and fill out a form to be signed by a town official. Once signed, it needs to be brought to the Madeira Beach Fire Department to be signed by the fire chief, a copy of which will then be faxed back to the town.

• Residents must contact the Madeira Beach Fire Department 24 hours prior to when the bonfire is to be held to verify wind and weather conditions.

• A bonfire may not be within 50 feet of any building. Removing or disturbing any beach vegetation is prohibited.

• Residents are responsible for ensuring that any fires are completely extinguished before leaving the area and must make sure the area is left clean and free of all debris.

The board agreed to adopt the measure as read. Simons asked that it be brought back with minor changes to be voted on in the form of a resolution at the Feb. 19 commission meeting.

No lawn equipment

The board rejected a plan presented at last month’s board meeting suggesting the commission invest in lawn maintenance equipment for use in its public spaces as well as for tidying up the yards of delinquent properties. The Public Works Department stopped doing landscaping maintenance in 1985 when it was decided to outsource that task to a private contractor.

Public Works assistant Grant Allen, presented the board with a quote for the cost of lawn mowing equipment from Quality Mowers at last month’s board meeting. He said by buying the equipment for a start-up cost of about $7,550, the town could potentially save itself the annual $18,000 it now pays to the landscaping contractor. Allen, who offered to assume the lawn maintenance duties, in addition to his other responsibilities, reckoned he would need to mow two days a week during the summer season and one day a week during the winter months.

Commission members were cool to the idea voicing doubt Allen would be able to mow lawns and effectively attend to his other duties as well as a reluctance to get back into the lawn mowing business after so many years of outsourcing it.

Mayor Simons said he wanted Director of Public Works Mark Davis to offer his input on the matter. In response to the mayor’s request, Davis drew up a memo, pointing out the town has 21 green spaces and parks that require mowing and edging. He outlined 10 different points of consideration he thought the board should consider if it wishes to buy and maintain its own equipment.

Among them, the upkeep for fuel and maintenance necessary for any equipment purchased, man hours required, the impact it might have on other public works duties and the number of properties deemed to be in code violation needing cutting or cleanup and the direction the Public Works Department might wish to follow after his retirement in two years.

“We’re satisfied with what’s going on now. I think it’s nice that he thought outside the box, but it just really would not work for us,” said Vice Mayor Fred Steiermann of the proposal.

“I think the biggest advantage for outsourcing is we have a set cost and we’re able to budget that cost. If we go with this we really don’t know what it’s going to cost from year to year,” said Commissioner Tom Dorgan.

Search ends for deputy clerk

Andrea Gamble was recently hired as the town’s new deputy clerk. Her first official day on the job was Jan. 31.

After her initial interview several weeks ago with Town Clerk Missy Clarke, Gamble said she doubted she would hear back.

“I know that by law, they are required to advertise the position, so I thought it would go to someone else, perhaps a family member,” Gamble said.

She said Clarke contacted her the day after she interviewed.

“Missy called me and asked if I was still interested. I said absolutely,” Gamble said. “I didn’t expect to hear from her so soon, if at all. I was very surprised and very happy.”

A native of London, England, Gamble says she has worked in a variety of contract and temporary jobs with public relations, financial and advertising organizations.

She has lived in Florida since 2000. Last February, she and her husband moved from Fort Lauderdale (“too crowded”) to Pinellas County where they owned and operated a business until selling it recently.

She admits to being a bit nervous starting the job but is managing to learn the ropes with some guidance from fellow employees whom she describes as “wonderful.”

Gamble, who maintains her quite proper British accent, added, “I’m still learning my way around here. My husband drives me everywhere.”
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