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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charter Review board to tackle idea of Pinellas mayor



The Pinellas County Charter Review board will study creating a Pinellas mayor, a topic previously dropped from its list of possible referendum ideas for this year.

Orange County and Miami-Dade County have county mayors, and Hillsborough County has a vote brewing on the topic. Panel member and Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold was able to resurrect the idea for studying a Pinellas post late Tuesday, despite the panel setting it aside recently. It wasn't on the list of potential study topics on the meeting agenda.

Besides creating a high-profile political post, it would make the top official in the county have to win voters' approval, not County Commissioners.

County Administrator Bob LaSala opposes the change, which would downgrade, or even eliminate, his job's influence and power (which isn't always lauded by some city officials). His argument: A county administrator brings professional management.

"I think it’s very early. We’re just looking at the pros and cons. ... I wouldn’t say it has momentum," said County Commissioner Ken Welch, a Charter Review commission member.

The panel also will study making the supervisor of elections a nonpartisan office, revamping the County Commission to have only single-member districts instead of three at-large ones, and combining the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Pinellas Planning Council.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:25pm]


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