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City settles elevator accident claim
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CLEARWATER – On Feb. 6, 2006, city employee Richard DeBord was riding in the elevator at the parking garage that serves the city’s Municipal Services Building and Police Headquarters. Suddenly, the elevator allegedly dropped several feet, causing injuries to DeBord’s neck, left shoulder, hip and lower back.

“Mr. DeBord has had multiple claims that he filed under workers’ compensation,” a staff memo to the City Council states. “He has had a total of nine surgeries to his neck, back, left shoulder, left knee and left elbow over his years of employment. He returned to work after each of these surgeries.”

On Feb. 28, 2012, DeBord was declared to have reached “Maximum Medical Improvement” and have a “10 percent Permanent Disability/Whole Person Impairment.” On June 19, the Clearwater City Council authorized the city’s Risk Management Division to settle DeBord’s elevator accident claim for $220,750.

Who gets the money?

CLEARWATER – When city employee Mitchell Arnold died recently, the city owed him money for wages earned and pension contributions. City officials wanted to pay up but couldn’t determine who his rightful heirs were. On June 19, City Attorney Pam Akin sought and received the Clearwater City Council’s permission to file an “Interpleader Action” against Arnold’s estate. That is a legal action that requires the probate court to determine the rightful heirs and instruct Clearwater officials on how the money should be dispersed.

City fights allegation of excessive force

CLEARWATER – On Aug. 11, 2008, Clearwater Police Corporal Jeffrey Adkisson stopped Sarita Merricks for a routine traffic infraction. An altercation ensued and turned into a scuffle.

On Aug. 16, 2012, Merricks filed a federal lawsuit against Adkisson and the city of Clearwater, claiming that Adkisson had used excessive force in the incident. She further alleged that she had suffered serious and permanent injuries as a result of that force.

On Jan. 6, 2014, the city filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on behalf of Adkisson, saying that he “was entitled to qualified immunity as a matter of law.” But the District Court judge denied the city’s motion.

“The City Attorney’s Office believes that the motion for summary judgment is meritorious and that the city should appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Court,” a memo from that office to the city council explained.

On June 19, the council granted City Attorney Pam Akin’s request to proceed with the appeal.

City awards contracts for pond maintenance

CLEARWATER – When the contracts for the maintenance of the city’s lakes, ponds and storm water mitigation sites expired, the city’s environmental division sought proposals from companies interested in taking on that task for the next five years.

“The proposals were evaluated by a committee comprised of representatives from parks and recreation, storm water maintenance and the environmental division, considering technical ability, cost, experience, and location of the office providing service,” a staff memo to the city council explained.

On June 19, the Clearwater City Council approved the hiring of Aquagenix/DeAngelo Brothers, Inc., for pond and channel maintenance, and the hiring of Lake and Wetland Management for maintenance of storm water mitigation sites. The contracts will be renewed annually for a maximum of five years. Aquagenix will receive $57,139, per year. Lake and Wetland Management will be paid $61,675 per year.
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