By Dan Moffett

    After 15 years as town attorney, Ken Spillias says he plans on retiring in 2016, and he is going to serve out his last year as an employee of Ocean Ridge.
    Spillias won the Town Commission’s blessing for a new employment arrangement that will change his status from an outside contractor to town employee.
    7960551066?profile=originalCommissioners unanimously approved a contract at the Feb. 2 meeting that will pay Spillias a $90,000 annual salary, beginning March 1, and also about another $16,000 in benefits. Currently, Spillias earns a base retainer salary of $84,000 from the town, working out of the West Palm Beach law firm of Lewis, Longman & Walker. He earns extra fees for specific casework and litigation that the town requests.
    Spillias said 2015 is shaping up as a “year of transition” for the town because of the resignation of  Police Chief Chris Yannuzzi and the expected retirement of Town Clerk Karen Hancsak, and the switch to employee status will allow him to spend more time at Town Hall to help usher in the changes in administration. He said it will save the town money.
    “A lot of the things you now spend extra for — special services like litigation — would come within my responsibilities” as a salaried town employee, Spillias said.
    An extra benefit of the shift from private to public sector for Spillias is enrollment in the Florida Retirement System. Spillias served as a Palm Beach County commissioner in the 1980s and needs only to work six months more under the state pension plan to become vested in it with six years’ employment.
    Commissioner Richard Lucibella said he had worked and fought with Spillias for many years.
    “I can’t picture better representation for a town than he has shown,” Lucibella said. “He has made some very hard decisions on behalf of this town.”
    Mayor Geoff Pugh said having Spillias’ expertise in-house for the personnel changes ahead will be invaluable.
    “I’m very proud that you would actually do this for us,” Pugh told him.

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