By Steve Plunkett
The Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District’s longtime attorney has given up the third of three jobs there that paid him a total of $330,000 a year.
Arthur Koski, who is also yielding his role as the district’s executive director, recommended Nov. 28 that beach and park commissioners hire Michael Fichera, Boca Raton’s recently retired chief building official, to do their contract administration work, a task Koski has handled since 2010.
Koski said Fichera “probably is the most knowledgeable person in the city of Boca Raton relative to permitting and inspections and making sure work passes inspections.”
Fichera “supervised all of the individuals at City Hall who are involved with issuing permits for any construction within the city … and had the direct supervisory responsibility of all of the individual inspectors who do the various inspections on all the construction,” Koski said.
Commissioners approved his hiring unanimously.
“This is a coup in my opinion,” Commissioner Earl Starkoff said.
Fichera, who retired from his city position Nov. 1 after starting out as a construction inspector for the city in 1981, will get $6,000 a month as a consultant without benefits.
Koski said the rebuilding of the district’s Sugar Sand Park playground, which is winding down, along with building a new community center at the Swim & Racquet Center and converting a grass field at Patch Reef Park to artificial turf will keep Fichera busy for two to three years. Also on the horizon may be construction of additional sports fields at DeHoernle Park.
Koski will end his part-time job as the district’s executive director in January, a task that paid him $90,000 a year. He took the interim position in 2012 when Robert Langford retired. But his additional role drew complaints from city officials, culminating in March with City Council member Robert Weinroth’s demand 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 will choose their chairman for the calendar year and commissioners-elect Craig Ehrnst and Erin Wright will take their seats.
Koski started giving the Beach & Park District legal advice in 1978 and is paid $132,000 a year for it, more if the district is involved in litigation. Commissioners value his institutional knowledge.
Koski, who has a bachelor’s degree in engineering, has said contract administration work is “something that I enjoy very much.”
His total district pay — $330,000 a year — dwarfed that of other public officials, though most government employees receive pension and other benefits that Koski does not. Koski, who pays office and staff expenses, also has a private law practice downtown.
By Steve Plunkett