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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tiger Bay, LWV take on Hillsborough mayor



The folks for and against a proposal to create a Hillsborough County mayor are beginning to hone their messages, now that the spotlight is starting to shine on the issue.

Former Hillsborough Commissioner Jan Platt and former state Rep. Mary Figg squared off Friday before a capacity crowd for a joint meeting Friday of the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa and the League of Women Voters of Hillsborough County.

Figg emphasized the challenges of "governing by committee" in a large urban county, arguing that Hillsborough is the only large county without a mayor. A second ballot measure, giving the office holder veto power over commission decisions, would provide checks and balances.

"The question is, does governing by committee work?" Figg asked the roughly 120 people in attendance. She answered herself a bit later: "If you think Hillsborough County's doing just fine ambling along, those two charter questions probably won't interest you."

But if you don't...

Platt, who served on the commission when the county's current governing structure was created in the early 1980s, argued that its creators sought to spread decision-making power in the wake of a corruption scandal.

"It was our opinion that power should dispersed," Platt said, "To save us from ourselves in other words."

And by the way, she noted, "Everybody is not doing it," debunking Figg's asserting and drawing attention to Pinellas County, which has a professional county administrator rather than an elected mayor.

-- Bill Varian, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:28am]


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