McCollum lays off eight to meet tight budget
Attorney General Bill McCollum has laid off eight people, saying the move was necessary to meet Gov. Charlie Crist's ordered 4 percent across-the-board spending holdback. The move saved $321,586, according to his office.
Those let go are attorneys Shelly Chichester, Chandra Dasrat, Juliet Fattel and Dale Tarpley, and staffers from the criminal appeals and capital collateral divisions: Valerie Daewood, Lynn Deming, Gary Parker and Gem Persaud.
The layoffs follow other cost-saving measures, said spokeswoman Victoria Langley Heller. In the past year, about five jobs vacated due to attrition, resignation and other reasons were not filled, saving about $500,000, she said.
At a time of budget cuts, it may have seemed surprising for McCollum to promote his press secretary Sandi Copes and give her a $13,000 raise. But Heller said Copes is moving into a vacant communications director job (once held by Jenny Nash) at a lower salary and that the press secretary position has been eliminated. "We're actually saving money," she said.