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Early city manager exit could raise problems

Commissioners will discuss the issues at a special Tuesday meeting.

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA, Times Correspondent
Published October 25, 2007


MADEIRA BEACH - Finding a new city manager at the same time as an election could result in a change in the commission majority, which will pose special political issues for the current commission, Mayor Charles Parker says.

Commissioners will discuss City Manager Jill Silverboard's pending departure at a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Silverboard has accepted the job of assistant city manager for Clearwater.

Silverboard wants permission to leave her post in Madeira Beach Nov. 16. Under her contract, she must give the commission 60 days' notice but can leave earlier if the commission approves.

"My three-plus years as city manager have been filled with challenges and accomplishment," Silverboard wrote in a letter sent to the commission Tuesday.

"I believe that we have made organizational progress that has allowed us to better serve the community and your constituents. I have great confidence in the City staff and their ability to support and continue the progress we have made and are planning for the future. I will always be appreciative of the support and discretion you afforded me in leading the day-to-day operations and programs of the City of Madeira Beach," she continued in her resignation letter.

Parker strongly praised Silverboard's performance as city manager in Madeira Beach.

"I have worked with six city managers and she is by far the best - and that includes Mike Bonfield (now St. Pete Beach city manager) who was very good," said Parker. "She is a consummate professional. It will be tough to replace her."

Tuesday, the commission is expected to discuss the appointment of an interim city manager until a permanent replacement for Silverboard is selected.

How and when that selection process will be conducted is also at issue.

Two of the city's commissioners - John Wolbert and Arnold Alloway - have announced they do not intend to seek re-election. Parker has yet to decide whether he will run for another term.

This could mean that if the present commission picks a permanent replacement for Silverboard, the new city manager could be working for a commission that had no say in that person's appointment.

Before coming to Madeira Beach in 2004, Silverboard was city manager at Destin, a beachfront Panhandle town of 11,000 whose average population swells to 38,000 by mid July. She previously served as deputy city manager at Hallandale Beach and planning director in Brevard, N.C.

Silverboard was hired to be one of two assistants to Clearwater City Manager William Horne. She will be responsible for virtually all city operations and departments including budgeting, planning, code compliance, communications, parks, recreation and public works.

The city's police and fire departments report directly to the city manager. The other assistant city manager is responsible for economic development and community redevelopment.

Silverboard, who presently earns $95,000 annually, will be paid about $120,000, under a contract that still must be finalized.

Her new position marks a significant step up in responsibility, said Silverboard, who was one of 145 candidates for the job.

Clearwater is a city with more than 110,000 residents, and 1,700 city employees. Madeira Beach has 4,500 residents and 57 city employees.

"I am very excited. This is a career opportunity I just could not pass up" she said Friday.

"I will be leaving Madeira Beach with a sense of nostalgia. This is a great community and a city with great employees."

[Last modified October 24, 2007, 21:24:49]

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