REDINGTON SHORES – A Town Administrator will be taking on the tasks of five commission members in running the affairs of government in this community of 2,200 residents. In doing so, Redington Shores will join nearly every other municipality in the county that has a city manager or administrator form of government. The topic was on the agenda of a special commission meeting June 2.
Redington Shores had an administrator once before, in 2004, but fired him a year later after the commission decided, after some disagreements and charges the administrator was “meddling”, to return to the previous commission-based government.
Mayor Mary Beth Henderson said, despite the previous lack of success with a Town Administrator, “it would be nice to have somebody to do all the executive and administrative types of things and take that off our plates.”
Henderson said the commissioners’ roles have become too involved and time consuming. “We’re very busy here,” she said. Also, Henderson said the Sunshine Law has made it very difficult for the commissioners to communicate with each other when conducting city business.
The administrator would oversee everything, and “we could talk one-on-one without breaking the Sunshine Law,” Henderson said.
She also said although it would be expensive to hire a Town Administrator, it is a wise investment, adding that the biggest thing is finding and hiring the right person.
Commissioner Cinda Krouk said she spoke with Debra Sullivan, City Administrator of Belleair Bluffs, which switched to an administrator form of government. Sullivan told her the main advantage is in “getting things done.”
“When you have to go through the commission, it takes so long to do things,” Krouk said. She also commented on the workload of the commissioners. She said she spends at least 40 hours a week in the office at Town Hall because “it’s an important and necessary thing.”
A Town Administrator is able to take action and make things happen, Krouk said. “It’s a much more effective form of government.”
“I agree,” said Commissioner Michael Robinson. “We just need to find the right person.”
Commissioners Bill Krajewski and Jennie Blackburn also spoke in favor.
Mayor Henderson said, “We need to vote to create the Town Administrator position, and move forward. The details will be worked out later.”
The commission’s vote was a unanimous Yes.
Earlier commission meeting times
In a close vote, the commission has decided to meet earlier in the day, changing the meeting times from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m. for regular commission meetings, and 2 p.m. for workshops.
The move was made, Robinson said, so city staff members will not have to wait around to attend meetings after wrapping up their workday at Town Hall, which closes at 4 p.m.
Commission members Blackburn and Krouk disagreed with the meeting time change.
Blackburn said the public is better able to attend the meetings if they are held in the evenings.
“If the meeting is at 4 in the afternoon, that just precludes a lot of people from being able to do this,” Backburn said.
“Keep (the meeting time) the same,” Krouk said.
Commissioners Krajewski and Robinson, along with Mayor Henderson, voted for the earlier meeting times, with Blackburn and Krouk opposed.
Henderson said that although it may be difficult for some people to attend meetings during the day, it is possible for them to use Zoom to listen to the meeting and make comments without actually being present.
The time changes begin with this month’s workshop on June 30, which will start at 2 p.m. The following regular meeting on July 14 will be at 4 p.m.
Three people were watching the special commission meeting via Zoom, which started at 4 p.m. No one commented on the time change.
Henderson said she hoped residents would let commissioners know what they think about the meeting time changes.
Storm drain cleaning to continue
The commission also voted to put more money in the budget so work to clean out the storm drains, which had become clogged with debris, can continue. The job had been halted when the current year funding ran out.
The budget was increased from $50,000 to $200,000, which includes an additional $150,000 that Krajewski said was the amount needed to complete the drain cleanouts. He said it is important to continue with the work, which helps prevent flooding, particularly as the rainy season is starting.