INDIAN SHORES – After nearly two weeks in Largo Medical Center with a lung infection, Indian Shores Mayor Jim Lawrence is now home recuperating, according to Town Clerk Elaine Jackson.
In Lawrence’s absence, Vice Mayor Joan Herndon was at the helm for the April 8 Town Council meeting.
From communication with Lawrence’s wife Alice, former town councilor Carole Irelan relayed that Lawrence is sleeping most of the time but doing well. During public well-wishing to the mayor from both residents and council members, Councilor Pat Soranno remarked, “We (the town) need the captain (mayor) on the flight deck (back in action).”
Town OKs MPO agreement
Sarah Ward, interim executive director of the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, gave a presentation regarding the merger of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the Pinellas Planning Council (PPC). The Town Council subsequently approved the interlocal agreement for the creation of the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The new MPO is designed to facilitate the development and implementation of transportation plans, programs and systems in the county as well as assure eligibility for federal financial support in those endeavors.
New police vehicle
The town approved the purchase of a 2014 Ford police interceptor utility AWD vehicle in the amount of $29,367. According to Chief of Police Terry Hughes, “the cost is absorbed through CIP (Penny for Pinellas) funds” and, after trade-in allowances, has only “a minor impact on the police budget of $96.”
Hughes’ recommendation to hire Officer Darin Rath as a part-time/reserve officer was approved. Rath had been an employee of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff for five years and as a private security officer handling prisoner transport under contract with the sheriff’s office for two years.
The promotion of Officer Michael Bryan from part time to full time in the course of shuffling positions within the town’s police department precipitated the opening for Rath.
Rath will be on a one-year probationary period with hourly salary compensation that will not negatively impact the current budget.
Joan Barlas’ request to conduct duplicate bridge club card games on Wednesdays from 12:30 to 4 p.m., starting May 7 at $1 per table, was approved by the Town Council.
No food (only snacks) will be served and liability insurance is pending.
Herndon said that the town had this type of bridge club until the games’ operators retired recently and that this would fill that void.
Hughes said he performed a background check on Barlas as required and that, “no relevant issues” were found.