Boca Raton: Beach-park director may drop job as its lawyer

By Steve Plunkett

Arthur Koski, the executive director of the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District, is ready to shed his duties as its legal adviser and focus on the Ocean Breeze golf course.

“What I’m looking for is that golf course to be finished, we have an opening, someday when my grandsons come down and visit, they can say my granddad had something to do with it,” Koski told commissioners May 21.

In discussing Koski’s job duties over several meetings, commissioners decided it is time to begin looking for his successor as executive director, but to keep him onboard for at least two years to shepherd the transformation of Ocean Breeze into “a public golf course with a private course atmosphere.”

They also gave him the choice of keeping his title and primary duties as either director or attorney. Koski said he plans to cut back on his private caseload after spending a week in New York City trying a case unrelated to the district.

“I’ve had enough of the travel,” Koski told them. “I’ve had enough of the time and effort that goes into it, what it takes out of you.”

He’ll continue legal work on the golf course.

Koski is paid $120,000 a year as the district’s executive director and $150,000 annually for legal services. He also billed the district $120,000 in February for extra legal work he performed in the $24 million acquisition of Ocean Breeze.

The bill prompted a letter from the city questioning whether the payment passed ethics guidelines and state law. The district’s outside bond counsel assured officials that Koski’s fees were proper. Koski also drew flak from Boca Raton in 2016 when then-City Council member Robert Weinroth demanded that the district replace him with a full-time executive director. 

Koski became the district’s legal counsel in 1978, four years after the district was created. Commissioners value his institutional knowledge as much as his management and legal skills.

“I appreciate everything that you’ve done,” District Vice Chairman Steve Engel said. “At some point we need to turn the page, and I guess that’s what we’re in the process of doing now.”

Commissioners will get an outside human resources specialist to create a job description of the executive director and to guide their search for Koski’s replacement. They hope to advertise the position by Jan. 1.

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