CLEARWATER — At the request of the Nielsen Company, the County Commission voted Tuesday to end an incentive agreement for creating high-wage jobs that could have netted the company about $3.1-million over 11 years.
Calvin Harris was the only commissioner who voted against ending the incentive deal. He said Nielsen had met all the terms of the agreement and he hoped scrapping it would not label the county as anti-economic development.
On June 19, a Nielsen official sent letters to the county and to the city of Oldsmar, requesting that their Job Creation Incentive Grant agreements for creating high-wage jobs be terminated after the 2007 payments already in progress.
The Nielsen official said the county incentive had become a source of contention with Oldsmar and the company needed more flexibility in managing its global work force.
Oldsmar's mayor and other council members objected when local workers lost their jobs at Nielsen's global operations center in 2007 and 2008 to workers brought in from India-based Tata Consultancy Services. Nielsen had already received $3.1-million in state, county and city incentive payments for creating local jobs. And another $463,372 in payments for 2007 was in the pipeline.
Five days after Nielsen asked to be dropped from the Job Creation Incentive Grant program, the company announced another 170 layoffs in Oldsmar for 2008 to early 2009. The company had previously eliminated 117 jobs in 2007, then outsourced 115 jobs to India's TCS in late 2007 and 2008.
Nielsen brought 1,233 employees with it from Dunedin to Oldsmar in a company relocation that started in 2003. At its height, the Oldsmar site had about 1,800 employees. When layoffs are completed, about 1,300 will remain.
The final 2007 Job Creation Incentive Grant payments from the county, $202,008, and from Oldsmar, $144,712, have been paid to Nielsen.
Theresa Blackwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4170.