INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – Saying she feels good about the state of the legal affairs of the city, IRB attorney Maura Kiefer resigned last week.
Kiefer had been the city attorney for several years and said she was moving on to pursue other opportunities.
“I’ve had a wonderful six-year run,” she said in an interview. “There is an opportunity that I do want to pursue and I want to make sure I’m available the way I’m supposed to be for all my clients. Now is the time to turn over the reins to another representative.”
Kiefer would not say what that opportunity was, other than it is a personal matter that needed some attention so she had to prioritize her time.
Kiefer’s tenure as city attorney ran into a rough spot several months ago when Commissioner Terry Hamilton-Wollin openly questioned her performance. Hamilton-Wollin accused Kiefer of making promises when she was hired but never kept.
Kiefer denied the allegations and further discussion on the matter was dropped when the mayor and other commissioners spoke in support of Kiefer.
“That has absolutely nothing to do with it,” she said. “The Commission was very supportive at that time.”
When contacted about Kiefer’s resignation, Hamilton-Wollin would only say, “I wish her well.”
Mayor R.B. Johnson said he wasn’t surprised at the resignation.
“I am never surprised. Attorneys come and they go. They have other tasks to do for other clients,” he said. “Often they move on and change according to the nature of their practice and their clientele.”
Johnson said he had a good working relationship with Kiefer.
“I communicated with Maura on a regular basis,” he said. “We always talked on the phone and she filled me in. I was able to get done whatever had to be done. The nice thing I will say is that our legal issues were all taken care of in an expeditious manner.”
Taking care of those issues is something Kiefer says she is proud of.
“When I came on board there were several lawsuits that had been going on for a long time. I promised to clear those up and I did that. I feel really good about that and I think they do too,” she said.
City Manager Gregg Mims said that was the case.
“When she took the job there was a variety of legal issues and she is proud that she is leaving without any legal litigation on the table and it is to her credit,” he said.
Mims said he wasn’t surprised at the resignation either.
“I think from talking to Maura this is something she has been considering for a while. She does all kinds of legal work; it was not a surprise to me. This is not a negative thing at all. It is her law practice and she is trying to build it. Municipal work is time-consuming.”
Mims said the process to find a new City Attorney will begin immediately.
“We will put out a request for proposals, ROP, to the local law firms or whoever wants to make a pitch through the ROP process. Then the Commission will go through the applications, narrow it down to a short list and ultimately make a decision,” he said.
Kiefer is also the city attorney of Treasure Island and said she intends to hold onto that position. She also said she does some work from time to time for other municipalities.