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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas commission votes to cut its pay 4 percent

Pinellas County commissioners voted 4-3 during a working lunch today to cut their salaries by 4 percent next year.

Ken Welch, Susan Latvala, Karen Seel and John Morroni voted for the cut, which amounts to $3,638 from their $90,954 annual pay. Neil Brickfield, Calvin Harris and Nancy Bostock opposed it.

The county faces an $85 million budget shortfall next year, and hundreds of layoffs. Pay-cut opponents supported paring the number of commissioners' aides from eight to five. Employees are not receiving raises or, as yet, pay cuts for next year.

Besides the hit on the wallet, critics worried about the implications of carrying out the cut. Commissioners' salaries are set by law, but County Attorney Jim Bennett said there are ways to cut pay.

"Can I vote on my own compensation? Isn't that inherently a conflict of interest?" Brickfield asked, only to be reminded that other cities and counties have done so.

"Very clever," Seel responded. "That was creative," Latvala said.

Nonetheless, the cut has to be formally approved as part of the budget. "I feel there still needs to be some discussion," Harris said.

David DeCamp, Times Staff Writer

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[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:52am]

    

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