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City opts for criminal charges for ex-manager

The city attorney said he was also ready to file civil charges against Al Grieshaber for repayment of illegal compensation.

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA
Published March 4, 2007


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INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - The city is asking for criminal charges to be filed against former City Manager Al Grieshaber Jr. because of the $15,000 the City Commission believes he took fraudulently for compensatory time and moving expenses.

The City Commission authorized the city's finance director to file a criminal complaint with the Sheriff's Office in the hopes that the state attorney would file formal charges.

The action was taken Tuesday after City Attorney Andy Salzman told the commission he is ready to file a civil suit against Grieshaber to recover the money that was doled out late last year and in January.

Grieshaber, who resigned in January, now works as general manager at Sun n' Lake, an improvement district near Sebring. Before leaving his post here, he was issued a check for $13,124.28 for relocation expenses he said were incurred during the summer. Earlier, he was paid for what the city claims was overcharged compensation time.

An analysis conducted by Finance Director Martin Schless indicates that Grieshaber was not entitled to most of the compensatory time he claimed.

Schless had also asked Grieshaber for receipts and other documentation to justify the relocation money paid him.

The city says the documentation he provided was insufficient, and that Grieshaber told Schless that Salzman authorized the payment. Salzman has denied ever authorizing the relocation expenses.

The city sent Grieshaber a certified letter last month demanding $15,650.04 in reimbursement, but has yet to receive a reply.

Commissioner Jose Coppen then asked why the city did not "pursue a criminal action" against Grieshaber, who he says lied to Schless about Salzman's approval of the expenses.

"If they (the State Attorney's Office) know we are going civilly, they probably will not file criminal charges," Salzman explained.

The city could get its money back either way, Salzman said, through a restitution order in criminal court or a judgment in civil court.

The flap over Grieshaber's alleged financial fleecing of the town is a key issue in the upcoming March 13 commission election.

Residents are expected to confront commission candidates on this and other issues at a 7 p.m. candidates forum Monday at the city hall auditorium.

Fast Facts:

 

City manager search

The City Commission will interview its top four candidates for city manager on Wednesday. The public will be able to "meet and greet" the candidates during a social event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at City Hall.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, the commission will narrow the list to two candidates who will then undergo complete background checks.

Candidates include: Mitchell Bobowski, former general services director for Seminole; Donald W. O'Neal, former city manager for Eastpointe, Mich.; Patricia C. Quigley, former city manager of Woodstock, Ga.; and Gregory S. Wood, former assistant city manager and economic development director for Holly Hill.

[Last modified March 3, 2007, 19:56:10]


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