BELLEAIR BLUFFS — Wrapping up the first year since creating a city administrator position and hiring former City Clerk Debra Sullivan to fill it, city commissioners appear pleased with the way city government is working and her job performance.
The city administrator’s job is similar to a city manager in other communities. When created in May of last year, it put the major staff positions of city clerk and public works supervisor under the city administrator. Sullivan, who had been the long-time city clerk, was appointed to the job, which was a first for Belleair Bluffs.
Now that government under the city administrator has had a year to work, the commission members gave their evaluation of the position and Sullivan at the June 17 City Commission meeting.
Commissioner Joseph Barkley said Sullivan was given increased duties and responsibilities “and everything is going along well.”
Mayor Chris Arbutine said he likes having one point of contact.
“It’s so much easier to just ask you what’s going on,” he told Sullivan.
Commissioner Suzy Sofer liked that too.
“We have one-stop shopping, so we don’t have to go to three different people to find out what’s happening,” Sofer said. “There’s a quicker response time now. The turnaround on issues is like night and day from before.”
Arbutine praised Sullivan for her performance as city administrator.
“I think you have succeeded very well in the position. It shows your leadership abilities,” he said.
Sullivan also credited the new employees reporting to her for the success of the city administrator government model.
“These are young, talented, well-educated, striving people,” she said.
“I think it’s a good team, and the staff all works well together now,” said Commissioner Taylour Shimkus.
Commissioner Jack Nazario said Belleair Bluffs has grown in importance as a commercial center and a desirable place to live, and “we’ve modified the organization to adapt to that.”
“We are growing in the way we handle things and work together,” he said.
Sullivan said the city “has become well known across the state for the things we have done that are innovative and successful.”
The commission approved a 3 percent raise for Sullivan. She received a performance rating of 4.585 out of 5.0 from the mayor and commissioners.
Garage sale dates set
The citywide garage sale will take place this fall on Nov. 2 and next spring on March 7, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
City loses a ‘great contributor’
Commissioners expressed their sorrow at the recent passing of Robert Russo, a longtime resident who served as city commissioner from 2001 to 2009. He was a strong advocate for beautification of the city.
Arbutine said Russo was “a great contributor to the city of Belleair Bluffs.” A tree will be planted in his honor as he had requested, Arbutine said.