Building official leaving St. Pete Beach
By AMY WIMMER, Times Staff Writer
ST. PETE BEACH -- Michael Knotek, the building official known for his common-sense approach, has resigned. His last day with the city will be Jan. 10.
Knotek submitted a letter of resignation that expressed dismay about the direction the city is headed, though he was not specific. Knotek did not return phone calls Tuesday.
"I am disappointed with the path the city has chosen, and it is my feeling that the city's future does not include me," Knotek wrote.
Knotek, whose current title is building services administrator, also wrote that he believes the Department of Community Services, a department Knotek once supervised, is consistently blamed for problems, including "items or activities that they had no control of."
Knotek was hired as building official in 1999. He arrived in St. Pete Beach from New Port Richey, where he was also building official.
He immediately took on some formidable challenges, such as trying to correct several construction problems at the Mirabella townhomes, which were developed by a former mayor of St. Pete Beach.
Knotek also took on Suzanne Ferry and her low-rent motels on the west end of Corey Avenue. He condemned some of Ferry's properties.
In July 2000, then-City Manager Carl Schwing reorganized the city staff and named Knotek director of community services. The promotion was a big step for Knotek, increasing his salary from $47,700 to $56,000. It also left Knotek supervising several smaller departments and a total of 24 employees.
After City Manager Mike Bonfield came on board, he again reorganized city staff, making Knotek building services administrator and reducing the number of employees he supervises to six.
Bonfield said Tuesday that Knotek was "stretched pretty thin" in his former role. When Bonfield made the changes, Knotek "wasn't shy about his dissatisfaction," Bonfield said.
In his letter, Knotek criticized how his department has been blamed for problems.
"This concept is narrow-minded," Knotek wrote, "and because of this constant negativity, I can find neither the challenge nor the desire that I must have to continue."
He did not mention in his letter any plans for his future.
Bonfield said the city will advertise to fill Knotek's building official job and has no plans to contract with the county to provide those services.
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