REDINGTON SHORES — A unanimous approval of the job description for Building Code/Floodplain Administrator at the June 12 commission workshop was overshadowed by the larger issue of how the job will be filled. The person or firm hired would replace former Building Official Steve Andrews.
Since January, building services have been handled by an outside firm. Bruce Cooper of M.T. Causey, LLC, works on Redington Shores building issues at Town Hall three days a week, three or four hours a day. With the time spent, Cooper has said he has “kept up with everything.”
At a workshop in April, the commission decided to contract out building services on a permanent basis and to go out for bids. At that meeting, most commission members agreed with getting a contracted building official.
But that could be changing. At the June 12 workshop, Commissioner Pat Drumm praised the work of the committee that did the Building Code/Floodplain Administrator job description.
“I applaud the work of the committee,” Drumm said, “but finding a building official is not going to happen overnight. It would take months to find someone we can all agree on.”
“I think we have that someone in Bruce,” the contracted worker, said Mayor MaryBeth Henderson. Speaking of the job description, Henderson said, “Bruce is every bit of that.”
But Commissioner Jeff Neal said town employee Joseph Walker, who worked for Andrews and is still doing some building inspections for the town, should be considered for the job.
“(Walker) is working to get all of the certifications he needs to be a building official and floodplain manager,” Neal said. “We’ve got a lot of taxpayer money invested in this man, and we should give him a stab at the job,” said Neal.
Commissioner Tom Kapper said he agreed, and indicated he favored Walker for the job.
“We’ll know in a few months if Joseph is going to make it (get the certifications needed),” Kapper said. “If he’s not, then we start looking.”
Commissioner Michael Robinson had some doubts. He said, “In looking at our expectations for a Building Official/Floodplain Administrator, that requires, in my opinion, more experience than Joseph has now, or may have then (upon getting certifications).”
Pinellas County Floodplain Administrator Lisa Foster, who lives in Redington Shores, told the commission in April that Redington Shores’ location in a coastal high hazard area subject to FEMA floodplain rules creates “a very unique situation” that is challenging for a building official.
Foster said, “It will be a pretty large undertaking to find a building official who meets all the criteria.” She added, “Bruce (Cooper, the contractor) is fully qualified.”
The commission approved the job description and agreed to continue the contract with Cooper for now.
But some commissioners appear to be backing off the decision to permanently contract out the position.
A showdown appears likely over continuing with a contracted arrangement, or promoting Joseph Walker, when, and if, he gets the needed building inspector and floodplain certifications.
Gulf Blvd. utility undergrounding completion coming soon
Utility wires on Gulf Boulevard in the Redingtons will be underground “by the end of September,” Mayor Henderson said. “We’re very excited about that,” she said. The project is focused on undergrounding wires on the east side of the boulevard and those crossing the road.
Take belongings off the beach at night, residents told
Residents were reminded that a town ordinance requires they take their belongings, including tents, umbrellas, beach chairs, etc., off the beach at night. That is especially important now that turtle nesting season has begun, Henderson said, and there will be stepped-up enforcement of that law during the coming months.
Turtle nests are already on the town’s beaches, Henderson said. She told the Beacon after the meeting that she has seen tents and other resident belongings on the beach after dark near the turtle nests.
Also, Henderson said all holes dug on the beach need to be filled in when residents leave the beach. The baby turtles can get trapped and unable to escape from the holes, she said.