BELLEAIR BEACH — Fred Reilly of Reilly International Law Firm is the new city attorney of Belleair Beach.
Reilly was chosen in a 5-to-2 vote by the City Council at a special meeting on July 17. Interviews were held with the candidates prior to the vote.
Council members favored Reilly over Erica Augello of Trask Daigneault LLP, who received two votes, and Andrew Salzman of Unice Salzman Jensen law firm.
Reilly has been the city attorney of Haines City since 2012. He commutes to Haines City, east of Lakeland, where his offices are located, from his home in Belleair.
In written comments to Tampa Bay Newspapers, Mayor Joseph Manzo said Reilly, in his view, stood out in the candidate interviews.
He made “an excellent presentation,” Manzo said, having “a detailed knowledge of our strategic plan, current key issues, city charter, and legal needs.”
Manzo described Reilly as “a very down to earth attorney — no fanfare.”
“I personally cannot wait to have him on our team in this city and look forward to working closely with him,” Manzo said.
Reilly’s contract with the city is expected to be approved on or before the next council meeting, in which case he will be on the dais for that session on Aug. 5.
Reilly replaces longtime City Attorney Paul Marino, whose contract was terminated by City Council after deciding to put the attorney job out for bids. Marino had been the city attorney for 20 years, but had clashed with the recently elected Manzo over the legality of certain city ordinances and other issues.
Marino did not apply to retain his city attorney position.
Reilly said in his application for the city attorney job that he makes “every reasonable effort to handle assignments in a timely manner and have routinely gone above the call of duty” when needed.
Reilly said he has “excellent experience and expertise in the council-manager form of government” and is “a team player who believes in fulfilling his role and helping others fulfill their roles.”
“My communications (verbal and written) are highly professional and ethical,” Reilly said. “I write every written communication with the expectation that it will appear on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper.”
Reilly said he strives to be an effective problem solver, able to resolve issues with as little fanfare as possible.