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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

No metal detector pass for Tampa City Council members at Hillsborough County Commission meetings



People who attend government meetings at Hillsborough County Center must go through a metal detector. It's been that way for a few years now.

That apparently doesn't sit well with a member of the Tampa City Council, who objected recently to emptying her pockets with the rest of the rabble.

"Somebody has asked me from City Council why they have to go through security when they come into the building," County Commissioner Sandra Murman informed her fellow board members Wednesday. "You know, there's some frustrations there with especially City Council members that are coming in here for meetings."


After the meeting, Murman said the person who mentioned it to her was Lisa Montelione. She had arrived late to a recent meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, on which both sit, and said she would have been on time if not for having to wait in the security line with everyone else attending the meeting. Murman said she'd mention it at her next County Commission meeting. Montelione could not be reached immediately.

Her gripe sparked a brief discussion in which commissioners Mark Sharpe and Kevin Beckner both said there should be no waivers for anyone from a security standpoint. (It should be noted that commissioners and certain high-ranking county officials do get passes.) Sharpe and Beckner said they think everyone should be treated equally, including commissioners. (Another note: Commissioners have their own bat-cave, passcode-protected entrance to the commission chambers behind the dais.)

That's when Les Miller piped up with a wait-a-minute question.

"Do we not get screened when we go to City Council?" he asked.

"I don't believe so," Murman said.

"Yes you do," Miller said.

"Well, then, they're going to get screened," Murman said.

In fact, County Administrator Mike Merrill offered a further suggestion for City Council members visiting County Center meetings in the future: "extra security!"

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 6:13pm]


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