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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Salary questioned, but Pinellas County hires LaSala



Bob LaSala is Pinellas County's next permanent top administrator.

The County Commission voted to hire LaSala -- a veteran of county government now living in California -- to assume a job last held by Steve Spratt, who resigned a year ago after a land deal between the county and Property Appraiser Jim Smith led to controversy.

LaSala, 59, begins work Oct. 12.

Six commissioners voted to approve LaSala's contract, but County Commissioner Karen Seel balked and cast the lone dissenting vote. Seel said she wanted LaSala for the job, but didn't like paying LaSala more than Spratt at a time when the county budget is getting slashed.

LaSala will be paid $225,000 a year. When Spratt resigned, he was getting $223,476. LaSala will also get a monthly car allowance of $750, $250 more than Spratt got. The county also will cover LaSala's moving expenses, which are not to exceed $30,000.

LaSala most recently served as city manager in Lancaster, Calif. He has held posts in New York state, New Jersey and Florida, where he worked for Pinellas County from 1979 to 1989. For most of that time, he was chief assistant county administrator under Fred Marquis.

Marquis has been serving as interim county administrator. He will step down in November.

"I'm looking forward to this more than I can tell you," LaSala told the commission just before the vote. "It is in many ways a homecoming for me and my family."

Look for a Q&A with LaSala in tomorrow's Times.

--Will Van Sant, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:34am]


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