Mike Merrill re-organizes top staff, hires Tampa finance director
TAMPA -- Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill has hired women with local government experience for two new top county jobs created as part of a re-organization designed to save money and make Merrill's executive staff more responsive.
Helene E. Marks, a lawyer in private practice who previously worked as chief deputy to former Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson and as general counsel to former Clerk of Court Richard Ake, will become Merrill's new chief of staff at an annual salary of $155,000.
Bonnie M. Wise, the city of Tampa's chief financial officer for nearly eight years, will take over the new job of chief financial officer for the county. She will paid $160,000, the same as her city salary.
Merrill also named Lucia Garsys to be deputy county administrator for infrastructure and development services and Sharon Subadan as deputy county administrator for public safety and community services. Both will make $155,000 a year, a 12 percent raise for Garsys and a 14.7 percent raise for Subadan.
Merrill estimates the reorganization will save the county about $195,000 a year because he is eliminating three top positions formerly held by Carl Harness, by Merrill himself and by Manus O'Donnell. Harness left for a job with Pinellas County, Merrill took over the administrator's job after Pat Bean left the county and O'Donnell volunteered to have his job eliminated.
In recent months, "it became clear to me that county government needs to be reshaped in order to be a more streamlined operation," Merrill said in a 35-page memo to County Commissioners. The reorganization cuts the administrator's executive staff by half, "brings together units that will further collaborate and consolidate," and delegates more authority and decision-making to the department level, he added.
In the new organization, Marks, Wise, Garsys and Subadan will report directly to Merrill. In turn, Marks will supervise human resources, professional development, communications and the county's television operation, legislative, neighborhood and community liaisons and government administration services.
Wise will oversee strategic planning, business and support services, information technology, affordable housing and economic development.
Garsys will manage public works, facilities management, public utilities, customer services, development services, real estate, and code enforcement.
Subadan will supervise family and aging services, libraries, co-op extension services, parks and recreation, public safety services and fleet services.
In a letter given Monday to Mayor Pam Iorio , Wise said she leaves the city with "both sadness and excitement."
"With your tenure coming to an end, I have been giving thought to where I could best continue to serve the public," Wise said in her letter to the mayor. The new job with the county "allows me to continue to serve the citizens of Tampa, and expand this service to the citizens of the entire county."
Wise joined Iorio's administration in the spring of 2003, soon after Iorio was elected. Before then, she was senior vice president at William R. Hough & Co., in St. Petersburg, with 16 years of experience working on public finance in the private sector. Her clients had included Tampa Bay Water, the city of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County government, where she worked with Iorio's husband, who was Pinellas' budget director at the time.