Pinellas administrator gets rave reviews, 3 percent raise
Pinellas County commissioners love their chief executive.
The seven-member board have given county administrator Mark Woodard glowing written evaluations and on Thursday voted unanimously to give him a 3 percent raise.
"What a breath of fresh air you have been," Chairman John Morroni told Woodard. "In my opinion, you've proven yourself."
Woodard was scored by each commissioner in 10 categories and earned 185.5 points out of a possible 210. He scored perfectly in the budget management category, which is no surprise since He joined the county in 1988 as senior financial analyst and served as director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1994 until 2001, when he was tapped to serve as assistant county administrator. He kept that role under Bob LaSala, who was fired in April 2014 amid commissioners' growing discontent with his job performance. Woodard was first named acting administrator and given the permanent position four months later.
Where LaSala faltered, Woodard has excelled. Commissioners praised him for helping end the contentious fight with cities over the emergency medical services contract and reconnecting with a range of partners, especially non-profit social service providers that felt shut out under LaSala.
"I'm thrilled with the comments that I receive all around the county for your ability to develop partnerships and forge new relationships that have been, in the past, broken," Commissioner Janet Long said.
Commissioner Karen Seel said Woodard has abided by her cardinal rule: "No surprises."
There is room for some improvement. Woodard received his lowest marks in the category called "create a quality workforce in a positive, supportive organization." Commissioners noted that Woodard is popular with the rank and file workers, but commissioners Ken Welch and Charlie Justice want Woodard to work on increasing diversity in the workforce.
Woodard said he would and, true to form, deflected the praise to the county's 1,916 employees who work under him and the commission's various departments.
"They're the ones who really deserve the credit and praise because they're the ones out there doing the work," Woodard said.
Woodard has insisted on working without a contract and the kinds of perquisites and bonuses that other at-will employees aren't privy to. When commissioners recommended a raise, he said he would accept the 3 percent that other employees are set to receive.
His current salary before that increase is $241,072.