By Dan Moffett
The Briny Breezes Town Council spent the holidays examining the résumés of candidates for the open part-time positions of manager and deputy clerk.
During a special meeting on Dec. 19, the council interviewed three candidates for manager and decided one of them was right for the town’s opening.
He was a familiar choice: William Thrasher, who worked for 21 years as the town manager next door in Gulf Stream, until retiring in 2017.
“The love of management has never left me,” Thrasher told the council.
His familiarity with Briny and experience dealing with code enforcement and his record of working with other Palm Beach County municipalities and the Federal Emergency Management Agency impressed council members.
They voted 5-0 to authorize Mayor Gene Adams to negotiate a contract with him. The town will offer up to $38,500, and council President Sue Thaler says she’s hopeful a new manager will be on board within weeks.
The other two candidates the council interviewed were Lee Evett and James McCroskey. Evett is the former city manager of Jupiter; Pueblo, Colorado; Clayton, Missouri; Cape Coral; and most recently Frostproof.
McCroskey is the former city manager of Holly Hill, assistant manager of Daytona Beach Shores and most recently interim manager of Estill, South Carolina.
In November, Town Manager Dale Sugerman and Deputy Clerk Maya Coffield told the council they would resign at the end of 2019. Sugerman and Coffield complained that the workload for their part-time jobs had steadily increased during the last two years, and their pay was inadequate compensation for the growing responsibilities.
Adams consulted with the senior advisers group of the Florida City and County Management Association to recruit candidates for the manager’s job. The advisers help municipalities find qualified applicants for administrative positions.
Thaler said interest in the deputy clerk position has been strong after the town posted a job listing on indeed.com. She said 33 qualified applicants sent résumés, and the council is considering at least five candidates with significant municipal experience.
The deputy clerk currently earns about $30,000 a year in hourly wages, including some overtime. Both the clerk and manager positions call for working three days a week and roughly 20-25 hours.
Sugerman and Coffield attributed much of the reason for their increasing workload to nagging problems with the town’s building permit process.
During Briny’s Dec. 5 town meeting, the council unanimously approved giving Mayor Adams the authority to terminate the existing contract with C.A.P. Government Inc., the town’s building inspection contractor.
Sugerman told the council that C.A.P. continues to cause the town problems because of inspectors who aren’t qualified for mobile home assignments and chronic permit processing errors. He said the company has been unresponsive to staff’s calls for changes.
“We’re at wits’ end trying to get this resolved,” Sugerman said.
The council is considering terminating the C.A.P. contract and switching to another inspection vendor that is more experienced in dealing with mobile home cases.
Alderwoman Christina Adams proposed hiring a part-time permit clerk to help reduce the workload at Town Hall. Her motion was defeated 4-1, but council members said they were willing to re-examine the idea after the hiring of a new manager and clerk.
Besides starting the year with a new staff, the town could have new faces on the council.
Charles Swift and Lynne Weiner have qualified to run against three incumbents in the March 17 municipal election. Seats held by Christina Adams, Bill Birch and Kathy Gross are up for re-election. Ú