Pinellas County tax collector's chief deputy to run for top spot
Following Pinellas County Tax Collector Diane Nelson's retirement announcement on Wednesday, her chief deputy said he plans to run for her position in the Nov. 8 election.
Charles W. Thomas, 58, has worked under Nelson for about 15 years. If elected, he said he plans to continue the office's emphasis on quality customer service by building a strong workforce.
"With the incredible turnover and loss of institutional knowledge, one of the big challenges is recruiting, retaining, developing and inspiring people to be longterm public servants," he said.
In 1990, Thomas came to the Tampa Bay area to set up a program sanctioned by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles that was designed to measure emissions from cars at a time when there was bad air pollution in the area.
Thomas met Nelson during the program. She asked him to be her chief deputy when she was elected tax collector in 2000 after they discovered they shared a passion for customer service, Nelson said.
"He will make a fine tax collector," Nelson said. "We have created a road map on where we want to take this organization, and I'm extremely pleased to say that where I've left off, he will pick it up."
Thomas lives in Palm Harbor with his wife of 36 years, Patti. He has not filed to run with the county but said he plans to in the next couple weeks.