Make us your home page

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 Jeff Harrington can be contacted at

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

  1. Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy but keeps stores open (w/video)


    NEW YORK — Toys 'R' Us, the big box toy retailer struggling with $5 billion in debt and intense online competition, has filed for bankruptcy protection ahead of the key holiday shopping season — and says its stores will remain open for business as usual.

    Shoppers shop in a Toys R Us store on Black Friday in Miami in 2016. Toys R Us, the pioneering big box toy retailer, announced late Monday, Sept. 18, 2017 it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while continuing with normal business operations. [Associated Press]
  2. Trigaux: Waiting for your next pay raise? Keep dreaming, employers hint

    Working Life

    The economy's bouncing back. The stock market keeps hitting new records. And the jobless rate in Florida may soon drop below 4 percent. Surely, these are robust indicators — key signs that an annual raise is just around the corner. Right?

    Who doesn't want a pay raise? Demonstrators have rallied for years in a number of states for a $15 minimum wage. But many workers across a broad pay range are unlikely to see much if any raises this year, a new survey says. [AP Photo/Seth Wenig]
  3. Florida Guard scales down troop strength; Navy sails away from the Keys

    State Roundup

    The Florida National Guard on Monday drew down its activated statewide forces to about 1,200 on-duty troops, mostly in operations focused on relief distribution in the Florida Keys — and the last of a mini-armada of U.S. Navy ships off Key West set sail for home.

    Soldiers from the Florida National Guard's Delta Company, 1st Battallion, 124th Infantry, 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team on Sept. 14. The Federal Emergency Managment Agency has reported that 25-percent of all homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed and 65-percent sustained major damage when they took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma.  [Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images]
  4. LOCALE Market hosting St. Pete job fair for hospitality positions


    ST. PETERSBURG — Locale Market / FarmTable Kitchen is hosting a hospitality job fair Tuesday in St. Petersburg. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the LOCALE Market at 179 2nd Ave. North, St. Petersburg. Organizers said they hope to hire about 20 workers with a focus on displaced workers from Hurricane …

    Locale Market is hosting job fair on Tues., Feb. 19. [LARA CERRI | Times] 

  5. So far, 335,000 Irma claims totalling $1.95 billion filed in Florida


    Times Staff Writer

    As of Sunday afternoon, insurers had received a total of 335,347 claims statewide for insured damage totalling $1.95 billion caused by Hurricane Irma, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reported Monday based on preliminary figures.

    This shows a damaged mobile home inside Clover Leaf Farms RV Park in Brooksville. So far, insurers have received a total of 335,347 claims statewide for insured damage totalling $1.95 billion caused by Hurricane Irma.
[MEGAN REEVES   |   Times]