Make us your home page
Instagram

Interim Citizens president created job for his former aide

Ultimate expense: a new state job

Of all the expenses Tom Grady ran up in his brief tenure at Citizens Property Insurance, none was greater than this: He created a job for his former legislative aide.

The day after Grady became Citizens' interim president in March, Jacob Pewitt applied to the company and was promptly hired as "special assistant to the president'' at $50,000 a year. The position didn't exist before — Citizens already had a $67,500-a-year "executive assistant to the president'' — and it hasn't been filled since.

It was the second state job in seven months that the 30-year-old Pewitt landed at a time when Gov. Rick Scott was pushing to downsize both Citizens and state government.

Pewitt got the first job in September, soon after Grady, a friend of Scott and former state representative from Naples, became commissioner of the Office of Financial Regulation. Pewitt joined the office as a $46,390 "senior management analyst.''

Because Pewitt had worked for Grady in the Legislature, "no other reference checks were made for Mr. Pewitt due to Commissioner Grady's knowledge of him and his work,'' an OFR employee emailed colleagues.

On March 12, the same day Grady started as interim director at Citizens, Pewitt resigned from OFR to follow him to the state-run insurance company.

"I am sad to go but I must take another opportunity that has been presented to me,'' Pewitt wrote in his resignation letter.

Pewitt, who has a master's degree in political science, did not respond to requests for comment. Grady said Pewitt's job was akin to chief of staff and called it "an important and necessary and altogether different position'' than what Citizens already had.

Like scores of other Citizens employees, Pewitt carried a corporate credit card. He spent $2,137 on travel, records show. On one trip to Tampa, he put in for mileage for driving Grady back to his hotel after a Board of Governors meeting even though Grady had rented a car at company expense.

Just three months after joining Citizens, Grady was passed over for the permanent president's job and left the insurer on June 15. Citizens asked Pewitt to quit the same day.

"We didn't need the position,'' said board chairman Carlos Lacasa, adding, "I wasn't crazy about it'' when Pewitt was hired.

Pewitt got a payout of $3,846. Grady received $31,194, although he declined to sign a separation agreement that included a confidentiality clause, as departing executives typically do.

During Grady's short stint at Citizens, the existing executive assistant to the president remained on board. She is now working with the new president, Barry Gilway.

As for Pewitt, who on the social network site LinkedIn calls himself an "experienced political operative,'' he went back to Naples in June — working at Grady's law office.

Susan Taylor Martin can be contacted at susan@tampabay.com. Jeff Harrington can be contacted at jharrington@tampbay.com.

Interim Citizens president created job for his former aide 08/25/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 25, 2012 7:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. PunditFact: George Will's comparison of tax preparers, firefighters based on outdated data

    Business

    The statement

    "America has more people employed as tax preparers (1.2 million) than as police and firefighters."

    George Will, July 12 in a column

    The ruling

    WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: Conservative newspaper columnist George Will poses on the red carpet upon arrival at a salute to FOX News Channel's Brit Hume on January 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. Hume was honored for his 35 years in journalism. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
  2. Appointments at Shutts & Bowen and Tech Data highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Legal

    Retired U.S. Navy Commander Scott G. Johnson has joined Shutts & Bowen LLP in its Tampa office as a senior attorney in the firm's Government Contracts and Corporate Law Practice Groups. Johnson brings 15 years of legal experience and 24 years of naval service to his position. At Shutts, Scott will …

    United States Navy Commander (Retired) Scott G. Johnson joins Shutts & Bowen LLP in its Tampa office. [Company handout]
  3. Macy's chairman replaces ex-HSN head Grossman on National Retail Federation board

    Retail

    Terry Lundgren, chairman of Macy's Inc., will replace Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman as chair of the National Retail Federation, the organization announced Wednesday. Grossman stepped down from her position following her move from leading St. Petersburg-based HSN to Weight Watchers.

    Weight Watchers CEO and former HSN chief Mindy Grossman is being replaced as chair of the National Retail Federation. [HSN Inc.]
  4. Unexpected weak quarter at MarineMax slashes boating retailer shares nearly 25 percent

    Business

    CLEARWATER — Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, a boating business leader issued a small craft warning.

    Bill McGill Jr., CEO of Clearwater's MarineMax, the country's biggest recreational boat retailer. [Courtesy of MarineMax]
  5. CapTrust moving headquarters to downtown Park Tower

    Corporate

    TAMPA — CAPTRUST Advisors, a Raleigh, N.C.-based investment consulting firm, is moving its Tampa offices into Park Tower. CapTrust's new space will be 10,500 square feet — the entirety of the 18th floor of the downtown building, which is scheduled to undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation by 2018.

    CAPTRUST Advisors' Tampa location is moving into Park Tower. Pictured is the current CapTrust location at 102 W. Whiting St. | [Times file photo]