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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Latvala: Pinellas housing blunders "clerical errors" and "not a big deal"



County Administrator Bob LaSala said he's troubled by errors by his Community Development department in a report to the County Commission, and other commissioners have questions and criticism. But Commission Chairwoman Susan Latvala chalked up the mistakes to "clerical errors" Thursday.

"It’s not a big deal," she said, giving a quote that rekindles memories of her last "no big deal," her description last year during her re-election bid for the Jim Smith land purchase scandal.

"This is not a scandal and I’m not going to be a part of making it one. It’s an unfortunate incident," Latvala said.

The report by the department -- which handles millions of dollars in real estate and loan transactions -- misstated the level of foreclosures in 2010, embellished the typical cost of a home and exxagerated the level of job creation due to affordable housing.

Latavala said she's worried thinner staffs after budget cuts will create more mistakes by employees:

"I know how hard those people work. I have the utmost confidence in them. They’re providing credicble service to the public under the same stressful situations that all our departments are in."


[Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 4:18pm]


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