REDINGTON BEACH – A Redington Beach Commissioner said June 3 he was “taken aback” by a letter from an employee who complained about being passed over for the job of public works director.
The employee is trying to make his current position something that it’s not, said Commissioner Fred Steiermann, the commission’s liaison to public works.
Public Works Director Mark Davis’ position is going to be eliminated after he retires in about three weeks.
Grant Allen, a public works employee, said in a letter dated May 16 to commissioners that when he was interviewed for his current position, Davis and Steiermann said that he would be trained to take over Davis’ position.
Allen asked for an explanation for why he would not be the director and “what exactly my title is and will be in the near future so I can make formal plans.”
Steiermann said at the commission meeting June 3 that he had several conversations with Allen about his job and the direction the town is heading. Commissioners plan to let Town Clerk Missy Clarke oversee all the departments, including Allen and another public works position that will be filled.
“Grant does a really good job on his work on park maintenance. The problem is he is really trying to make that job a bigger job,” said Steiermann.
Steiermann, Davis and Clarke met with Allen to discuss his letter. A town memo said that Steiermann showed Allen the advertisement placed in a newspaper pertaining to Allen’s position when he was hired. The job was advertised as a public works maintenance employee. Allen was asked for further comments, but he said he was advised not to give any comment, the memo said.
Steiermann said at the commission meeting he left it up to Clarke and Davis to document anything Allen does good or bad and “hopefully he will be happy in the position he was hired for.”
Commissioner Mark Deighton raised questions over the supervision of Allen and the new employee who will work with him.
“If you have a situation where you are out in the field, you’re doing work, I believe you need one person who is the boss,” he said. “And I can visualize a situation where Missy (Clarke) is going to turn in to being a referee, which I don’t think is fair to her.”
Steiermann said he hoped the two employees would work together. He suggested that the commission wait 30 days to see how they work together before making any decisions on whether one of them should be in charge in the field.
Over the years, services provided by Redington Beach have changed. The public works director used to deal with sewer system, fire department and police department issues. Mayor Nick Simons said the job description for the public works position “adequately reflects what goes on at Redington Beach right now, which is general maintenance, building maintenance and property maintenance.”
He said he doesn’t think the jobs are not so complex now that they warrant having another boss, especially if Clarke is comfortable with having weekly meetings with the employees and bringing any conflicts that she feels she can’t resolve to the commission.
Commissioners voted 5-0 to offer the other public maintenance position to David Poole at $12 an hour with a review in 90 days. He has 15 years of experience working for the city of Treasure Island and nine years of experience with a landscaping company.
With Davis’ departure, commissioners also are seeking a code enforcement officer, a position that will only be offered to retired law enforcement officers.
Two of the three applicants thus far live in Redington Beach. Commissioners expressed concern about offering the position to a resident, saying that could result in a conflict of interest.
“That’s a tough job to go around to tell your neighbors you got to clean that up,” Deighton said.
Commissioners agreed by consensus that hiring a town resident for the position could cause a conflict. They will continue the process and are hoping to have a conversation with sheriff’s officials for help in the search for a retired police officer.
In other matters:
• Commissioners plan to shrink the interior of the cul de sac on 155th Avenue. Commissioner David Will said that trucks can’t make it around the cul de sac without running over the current curb and grass area.
The estimated cost is $5,000. Commissioners agreed to let Will come up with specific figures for the work.
• Commissioners agreed to appoint Mahmoud Mohadjer to the Gulf Beaches Public Library Board.
Mohadjer is retired from the Boeing Co., where he was lead design engineer. He said in his application that he loves libraries and books and wants to participate in improving and expanding library activities.