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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Interim Hillsborough attorney recommends further cuts, including his own job



Hillsborough County commissioners approved a budget for their county attorney's office that included sharper job cuts than he had recommended before. But they also made clear they want to look for further spending reductions in the office, including exploring options for outsourcing some of its work.

Commission Chairman Al Higginbotham voted against the budget, saying he didn't think the cuts went deep enough, as did Commissioner Victor Crist.

The vote came after Interim County Attorney Don Odom presented one more revision to his spending plan for fiscal year 2012. It included eliminating his regular job as deputy county attorney, the post he held before stepping in to fill the void after the departure of former attorney Renee Lee. (Odom is eligible for retirement next year.) He also proposed eliminent a contract eminent domain position as well as an accountant.

Last week, Odom had presented his second revised budget, which eliminated six of the 66 jobs in his office, in response to demands from Higginbotham and other commissioners that he cut costs more deeply. His latest revision acknowledges that his original calculation on savings his prior proposal had been overstated.

The budget approved Wednesday shaves $1.4 million from his current spending plan, which totaled $8.4 million this year. That represents a 17 percent reduction.

Commissioners still want to meet next month to discuss further trimming the attorney's costs. Higginbotham and Commissioner Ken Hagan both made the argument that other departments are outsourcing work in their office, so the attorney's office should consider doing the same. Higginbotham suggested the attorney looked into negotiating flat-rate contracts from private firms.


[Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:31pm]


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