MIke Twitty eager to get started as Pinellas County appraiser
Mike Twitty has started a plan to sell his appraisal firm since he won the Republican primary to be the next Pinellas County property appraiser.
Twitty's victory over Jim Frishe in Tuesday's primary election all but secured the appraiser position for the primary winner, who will run against write-in challenger Joseph Catalano, 24, in November. He has not raised any campaign contributions.
Twitty has been a real estate appraiser for more than 26 years and has been the principal officer of his firm, Valbridge Property Advisors, for more than 23 years.
"I'm very much looking forward to it," Twitty said Wednesday about taking office. "It's my way to give back to the community."
In order to avoid conflicts, Twitty said he will sell his interests in the appraisal business before he takes office.
In the primary, Twitty won 60 percent of the vote compared to 40 percent for Frishe, a businessman and former state lawmaker. Of the 72,234 votes in the contest, Twiity won 43 percent from mail ballots.
To minimize any "learning curve" about the public office, Twitty said he plans to meet with current appraiser Pam Dubov to learn more about how the office operates.
The appraiser's office currently has about 125 employees and a $12 million budget. Dubov has been the appraiser for two terms.
Once in office, Twitty wants to add more information to the website and make it friendlier for mobile users.
"There's a lot of energy and excitement there," Twitty said about the employees. "I want to give them the tools they need."
While running a private business is different than managing a public office, Twitty said taxpayers will be his new boss.
"The clients and customers will be the public," Twitty added.
Frishe, 67, served two stints in the Florida House of Representatives, from 1984 to 1990 and then from 2006 to 2012. He has also spent more than three decades in the insurance, consulting and real estate industries. Frishe also unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for state Senate District 22 in 2012.
Although Twitty was a newcomer to Pinellas politics, collected nearly $152,000 in campaign contributions versus Frishe's $63,000.
Frishe wished Twitty good luck during a phone conversation on Wednesday, Twitty said. He said he plans to work with Frishe in the Republican Party to help improve Pinellas County, adding: "I know we'll cross paths."