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Redington Beach says no to worker bonuses
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REDINGTON BEACH – Hourly workers with the town of Redington Beach won’t receive performance-based bonuses after commissioners on May 17 rejected guidelines for such payments suggested by their legal counsel.

Town Attorney Jay Daigneault presented the guidelines after commissioners discussed granting a lump-sum bonus to Deputy Clerk Adriana Nieves for her work administering federal grants at their May 3 meeting.

The attorney advised the panel at that meeting the ability to give public employees bonuses as rewards for work performance was regulated by Florida law.

In a memo he presented to the commission May 17, Daigneault laid out those requirements.

Commissioners would have to enact an ordinance creating a bonus system, he wrote, and set criteria by which employees could be eligible for the additional compensation. State law prohibits employees from receiving bonuses for work already performed and for which they had already been compensated, the attorney added.

During the deputy clerk’s annual review May 3, commissioners said they wanted to give Nieves a bonus for the work she had done administering a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

In discussing Daigneault’s memo, Vice Mayor Fred Steiermann questioned whether Nieves’ bonus could be paid from the FEMA grant funds.

Mayor Nick Simons said he didn’t think that was possible. FEMA pays the town an administrative fee for the work performed by the deputy clerk, but Simons said he didn’t think the agency would allow any bonus to be paid from the grant.

Simons didn’t favor the attorney’s recommendations. He said the suggested policy would have to be made available to all the town’s employees. Commissioners would also have to establish criteria for which the threshold for a bonus would be reached “and I don’t think we really want to do all that,” he said.

The mayor said commissioners could also just increase Nieves’ hourly wage, a discussion that could be held at a planned June 7 workshop.

Commissioners decided to reinstate the 7 p.m. June 7 commission meeting. The 6 p.m. workshop had been scheduled to be the only meeting that evening.

The panel also voted to allocate $1,150 to help the Redington Beach Garden Club begin work on upgrading the butterfly garden and other areas at Friendship Park.

The Garden Club proposes to upgrade the irrigation system, install 10 yards of clean fill in a low area in front of the garden, add 55 evergreen plants and relocate a tree. The group would spend just over $1,000 to purchase the evergreens, but wants the commission to provide $2,300 to pay for much of the remaining work.

The commission approved an amended motion by Steiermann to withhold the remaining $1,200 requested until a contractor working with the club provided details how the responsibility for the project was divided between the city, the Garden Club and the contractor and how much materials and labor would be donated and by whom.

Garden Club representative Zoe Roseman said the renovations would begin in August or September, although the fill dirt and work on a berm needed to begin within the next few weeks.

In other business:

• Simons reported a bill that would have allowed Redington Beach to hold a referendum on a 2008 ordinance banning short-term rentals had failed in the Florida Legislature. The failure left the town’s situation regarding such rentals as the “status quo,” he said.

• Commissioners OK’d Daigneault to begin work to correct what the attorney termed “an ambiguity” in the town’s ordinances regarding variances for boat docks. Daigneault said an attorney in his office recently noticed that Redington Beach codes allowed variances for docks to be heard by the Board of Adjustment. Another section of the code that created the Board of Adjustment, he said, appeared to limit the board’s consideration of variances to those items governed by building codes. While the distinction was “not straight up contradictory,” he said, the language was “not as explicit as it should be.”

• Town Clerk Missy Clarke said the 2017 Christmas boat parade had been tentatively scheduled for Dec. 17.
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