Longboat leaders rate Town Attorney

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Longboat Key Town Attorney Maggie Mooney-Portale universally received high marks in her annual review by the town commission. But it was not all a love-fest, several commissioners noted areas that could be improved.

Mayor Terry Gans gave Mooney-Portale excellent ratings, the highest grade in all areas with the exception of Communication Skills and Town Knowledge.

But Gans added that the initial institutional knowledge that was initially lacking is quickly narrowing and that he expects her rating to move to Excellent next year.

He also wrote that Mooney-Portale, “continues to improve and work on succinctly speaking and not over-explaining.”

Gans wrote that the attorney could work furher on summarizing issues and recommendations and quickly getting to the bottom line.

Vice Mayor Ed Zunz, a former attorney himself, gave fully satisfactory marks in most areas and wrote that Mooney-Portale is “very attentive and meets all deadlines.”

Commissioner Randy Clair, another former attorney, wrote in his comments regarding Legal Counsel Responsibility that when discussing and responding to a proposed Planned Unit Development solution to nonconforming properties, the town attorney failed to point out that many of the legal problems under this simple approach were also present under the town’s staff approach.

Clair also wrote that Mooney-Portale has “good listening skills.” He also said that she has a tendency to trust people but that “she would be better to trust but verify.”

Commissioner Jack Daly wrote in his evaluation that Mooney-Portale’s most significant asset is her “concise, clear and timely legal advice during commission meetings.”

Daly added that the attorney had managed the town’s undergrounding legal assessment issues very well.

Commissioner Irwin Pastor rated Mooney-Portale as excellent in all areas and he wrote that the town of Longboat Key had “unprecedented accomplishments which denotes the exceptional legal performance of our town attorney.”

Commissioner George Spoll gave Mooney-Portale generally Fully Satisfactory and Satisfactory ratings and said that he encourages a more “assertive stance and presentation…a stronger voice.”

Mooney-Portale started working as town attorney for Longboat Key in June 2013. She works at a flat rate of $235 per hour.

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