INSET BELOW: Steve Cooper

By Dan Moffett

    Briny Breezes solved one of its staffing problems in June with the hiring of Steve Cooper as the town’s new deputy clerk.
    Cooper, a Boston native, left his job as a health care consultant and retired to Delray Beach. He says, timing-wise, that was a mistake.
7960585099?profile=original    “I retired too soon, as far as I’m concerned,” Cooper said. “I still could use some of my management and organizational skills. This job came up; I thought this is a strange thing for me because I’ve never done that. But it’s management/administrative so I applied and I got it.”
    The town received several dozen applications for the position that Carol Lang has filled since August. Briny redefined the deputy clerk’s job last year and designated the position as a town employee, rather than an independent contractor who works on a freelance basis.
    Cooper, whose hiring was approved unanimously by the council, said he expects to work 12 to 15 hours a week during the summer and perhaps 20 hours during the tourist season. Lang drew praise for her contributions in reorganizing town records over the last 10 months.
    “I would like to publicly thank Carol, who came in and did a terrific job of cleaning things up in such an efficient manner,” said Councilwoman Barbara Molina, the town clerk pro tem.
    Briny is still looking to replace Councilwoman Karen Wiggins, who gave up her seat in April and moved to California. The town also has an opening on its Planning and Zoning Board.
    In other business:
    • Town Council members have approved new rules for golf cart use but can’t start enforcing them until the town puts up signs and widens some sidewalks.
    Briny is looking for help in paying for that work. Council President Sue Thaler said she has applied for a $23,500 grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and Mayor Mike Hill has applied for $1,500 from the Florida League of Mayors.
    Until the signs go up and the ordinance is enforceable, Ocean Ridge Police Chief Hal Hutchins says his officers will use “common sense and discretion” in trying to ensure that people operate their carts safely.
    • With Councilman James McCormick absent for the June 25 meeting and the Wiggins seat open, the three remaining council members — Thaler, Molina and Robert Jurovaty — reached unanimous consensus on increases for some fees and fines.
    The council voted to approve a $100 charge for expedited building permits. Thaler said the town loses money when residents wait until the last minute before applying for permits on their projects, then ask for expedited service. However, the town will continue to give verbal permits with no extra fees for emergency work — for example, replacing a water heater or an air conditioner that dies on a weekend.
    The council also gave its blessing to fine increases for parking violations. A Briny parking ticket will go from $30 to $50, and illegally parking in a handicapped space will cost $250. Town Attorney John Skrandel advised the council that fines should be set at a high enough level to deter illegal parking, but not unreasonably high where people are so annoyed they fight the tickets in court.

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