By Rich Pollack
Highland Beach Town Commissioners will consider appointing interim Town Manager Beverly Brown to the position permanently this month.
During a meeting March 31, commissioners unanimously expressed support for appointing both Brown and Interim City Clerk Valerie Oakes to their positions on a permanent basis.
Brown, who served as town clerk for nine years, was appointed as interim town manager in January following the mutually agreed upon departure of former Town Manager Kathleen Weiser. Oakes was named to fill Brown’s position on an interim basis.
Commissioners said they saw no reason to spend time and money on an outside search.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to come up with anything better than what we have now,” said Commissioner Carl Feldman.
Both Brown and Oakes received praise from commissioners for their efforts over several years as well as for the work they’ve done while serving in an interim capacity.
“Beverly Brown knows this town inside and out,” Commissioner Rhoda Zelniker said.
Prior to becoming town clerk in Highland Beach, Brown spent 30 years as a town clerk in Connecticut.
Oakes drew praise from commissioners for her work in coordinating the recent municipal election and for helping to ensure the Town Clerk’s office ran smoothly during the transition period.
Newly elected Vice Mayor Bill Weitz said that not only do Brown and Oakes have the knowledge and experience to do the jobs but they also have an ability to work well with other members of the staff.
Both Feldman and Weitz asked that staff prepare a contract for the town manager’s position. Salary and benefits for the town clerk — who is hired by the town commission — fall under the responsibilities of the town manager.
“I’d want to see a draft contract that protects the town more than it protects the individual,” Feldman said.
Commissioners are expected to further discuss and possibly finalize the appointments at their meeting this month.
By Rich Pollack