By Steve Plunkett
After 4½ years, commissioners of the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District decided to drop the “interim” part of interim Executive Director Arthur Koski’s title.
“I think you all will agree with me that Mr. Koski has done an incredible job for us,” Commissioner Susan Vogelgesang said before making a motion to change his title.
The new designation was one of two bits of employment news for Koski in December. District Chairman Robert Rollins also moved to give Koski a 13.6 percent pay raise for his work as the district’s attorney.
“We’ve heard enough about the work our district counsel has been doing for us, and as a chairperson I can tell you … Mr. Koski is an invaluable source of legal knowledge that’s helped us through a lot of different issues,” Rollins said.
Rollins said the boost in pay, to $150,000 a year from $132,000, was merited because of extra work Koski will do as the district navigates legal issues regarding the possible acquisition of the Ocean Breeze golf course.
George Brown, Boca Raton’s deputy city manager, has written Koski to see whether the district might consider taking the golf course via its eminent domain power.
Commissioner Steve Engel said the extra $18,000 was equivalent to hiring an outside attorney for perhaps 36 hours of work. “In my mind … you’re a bargain,” Engel said.
Briann Harms, the district’s assistant director, was in line to become executive director in January, after Koski said last spring he would step aside from the interim position. Because Harms was absent from the Dec. 5 meeting, commissioners decided to wait until Dec. 19 to make Koski’s new title official.
“I don’t want anyone to think that I was trying to torpedo my friend Briann in any way, shape or form. Briann had expressed the fact that she was not quite ready to take the executive director position,” Vogelgesang said.
Koski assumed the position of interim director in 2012 when Robert Langford retired. But his additional role drew complaints from city officials, peaking in March with City Council member Robert Weinroth insisting that he be replaced with someone full-time.
In May, Koski said he would step aside as director on Oct. 1, the start of the new budget year. But he was persuaded to stay until January, when commissioners choose their chairman for 2017 and Commissioners-elect Craig Ehrnst and Erin Wright take their seats.
Koski yielded his third district job in November, when commissioners hired Michael Fichera, Boca Raton’s recently retired chief building official, to do their contract administration work, a task Koski had handled since 2010.
The three jobs together paid Koski $330,000 a year. Now he will draw $240,000 annually. He does not get a pension or other benefits.
Koski started giving the Beach and Park District legal advice in 1978.
Also in December, district commissioners approved onetime payments of 2.5 percent of base pay and 4 percent raises for their only two employees, Harms and secretary Maddy Bentivegna. The salary adjustments mirror those Boca Raton gave its nonunion municipal workers.
By Steve Plunkett