Pinellas environmental lands chief quits
CLEARWATER -- Bruce Rinker, director of Pinellas County environmental lands division, is leaving July 21 to take a job in Virginia teaching biology, environmental science and tropical studies.
Rinker, who was paid nearly $98,000 year, will scoot out as the county's preliminary budget called for cutting the department nearly in half, from 32 to 17 employees. The cuts would reduce the hours of education centers and environmental monitoring by the county and maintenance. County commissioners say the environmental lands enforcement unit also could be trimmed, though Rinker and other officials said it appears safely funded now.
But Rinker, who not so long ago espoused a tree canopy walkway project, said his decision is separate from the county's proposed cuts. He wanted to get back to teaching, he said, and accomplished a lot in five years.
In an e-mail to volunteers today, Rinker said an announcement about his replacement could happen soon.
David DeCamp, Times staff writer