Briny Breezes: Council lacks quorum to meet after town manager resigns

By Charles Elmore

The latest episode in the managerial saga of Briny Breezes ended faster than a typical pop song.
The seaside mobile home community that not so long ago stood as Palm Beach County’s only municipality without a town manager found itself with no manager in sight again at an Oct. 24 meeting — and missing half the Town Council that was supposed to discuss finding a replacement. 
“We do not have a full quorum,” Mayor Gene Adams said. Agenda items would be taken up at the next meeting, on Dec. 5, he said.
Adams, flanked by council members Christina Adams and Bill Birch, presided over a meeting that formally ended in about three minutes. Members said afterward they understood travel and schedule complications accounted for the absences of colleagues on the six-member council.
In the aftermath, Police Chief Hal Hutchins, whose Ocean Ridge department provides law enforcement services to the town, met informally with residents to discuss parking and other issues while sharing pastries.
In the audience, resident Nancy Boczon said, “Where is everybody? That’s unusual.”
As for the postponed business at hand, she said she hopes the manager will be replaced soon: “It was good to have a town manager.”
Not present for the proceedings: Town Manager Dale Sugerman. He submitted his resignation after serving since the start of 2018 as the town’s first person in that role.
Among the issues arising in recent months was whether the workload matched up with compensation and benefits, including time off, for what Briny Breezes officials anticipated would be a position requiring 20-25 hours a week. But Sugerman, who was paid $40,000 annually, told them he was working at least 10 extra hours each week.
The town has grappled for years with how best to administer business such as permits, contracts, dealings with federal agencies and other matters. 
Tasks referred to the town attorney can grow expensive on an hourly basis, but unpaid volunteer work can leave elected leaders feeling overwhelmed.
The next council meetings are Dec. 5 and Jan. 23 at 4 p.m.
Pushed forward to the Dec. 5 agenda is council discussion of “selecting a date to interview candidates for the position of town manager.”

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