INDIAN SHORES – Beginning with the acceptance of one officer’s resignation, approval of two new hires and a request to hire another officer, as well as the ratification of a 3-year collective bargaining agreement with the police union, Indian Shores Police Dept. personnel issues dominated the Nov. 14 town hall agenda.

Investigator Larry Maynard’s resignation due to health issues was accepted by the Town Council. In a memorandum, Chief Terry Hughes granted Officer Maynard’s request to be on “non-paid” status until Nov. 17, so he could continue his health insurance.

The two new officers hired were introduced at the meeting. Carol Green Perry is a 30-year veteran in law enforcement who will be working as a reserve/part-time officer. Trooper Matthew Ehrhart, an active first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, will be working full time in the patrol division. Since these positions were already open, their addition to the dept. will not have a negative impact on the current budget.

An additional memorandum by Hughes was added to the agenda at the start of the meeting. With the addition of the two new officers that were hired, the department reached “minimal staffing level, which means every shift is covered,” according to Hughes. In order to reduce overtime and costs associated with covering officers’ sick days and vacations, the town approved opening a slot for one more officer to take on those “adverse” shifts.

Town Council unanimously ratified the 3-year collective bargaining agreement between the town and Pinellas Lodge No. 43 of the Fraternal Order of Police. The contract is effective Oct. 1,2017 to Sept. 30, 2020. The new pay plan makes the compensation commensurate with the rest of Pinellas County.

Indian Shores lost two officers this past year to other towns where the pay was better. The new pay plan will “standardize the steps” for increases and “be competitive,” said Bonnie Dhonau, town administrator.

An ordinance amending the town’s police officers’ pension trust fund passed unanimously on first reading. Updates to the ordinance involved corrections to reflect corresponding IRS rulings and definitions.

A resolution amending the town’s 2016-17 budget was unanimously approved. The police department required $67,964.58 in additional funds to cover personnel services. The extra funds were attributed to added officer hours needed during Hurricane Irma, the officer personnel shortage, and resulting overtime.


New holiday

Susan Scrogham, director of finance and personnel, requested that the addition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day be included as a paid holiday for non-union full-time town employees. Her request came as a result of the new police contract which added MLK Day as a paid day off for town police officers. The town has a history of keeping the paid holidays the same for both police and administrative staff. The Town Council unanimously approved the request.

The proposed holiday schedule for the Municipal Center and corresponding pay for town employees was presented by Stephanie Waters, town clerk.

Due to “the tremendous efforts by our employees during and after Hurricane Irma,” Waters requested that, in addition to the regular holiday schedule, the employees be granted the four hours of pay (when the Municipal Center closes at noon on Dec. 22) “without requiring the use of vacation or personal time.” The request was unanimously approved.


Building software

Councilors unanimously approved a contract with CityForce in the amount of $7,149 for the purchase of building software. That amount includes $2,870 for system configuration and installation as well as $4,279.20 for the annual fee. The contract was reviewed and approved by Regina Kardash, town attorney.

Gregory Yantorno, the town’s building official, submitted the request to approve the contract with CityForce. According to Yantorno, the town’s current software, BDMS (building dept. management system), is unsupported and not user-friendly, whereas, the CityForce software is supported and user-friendly.


New fire chief

Mayor Pat Soranno introduced Chief Michael Burton as the new fire chief of the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District. Burton took on the job in early Octber replacing Chief Salvatore D’Angelo who resigned to take a job as executive director with the North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District.

Burton has a career that spans over 40 years in firefighting with the last 18 as a chief. He came to PSF&RD from his last position as chief of Tamarac Fire Rescue on Florida’s east coast.

When Burton came to the podium to say a few words, he invited the mayor to contact him. “I’d especially like to hear from you when I exceed your expectations…and when I don’t,” said Burton.