Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance examines Strategywise contract

TAMPA — An upcoming Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance graduation that is budgeted for $95,000 likely will not happen, the agency's interim president said Thursday.

The publicly funded job training center has paid its largest vendor, Strategywise, more than $250,000 over the last three years to put on year-end ceremonies for former welfare recipients trying to become self-sufficient.

The events took place at the upscale Pepin Hospitality Centre in Tampa. Another is scheduled for June.

"I would not consider that to be a necessary and reasonable expenditure," said Ed Peachey, who recently took over leading the agency.

Strategywise, a Tallahassee consulting firm, has secured more than $2 million in contracts from the Workforce Alliance since 2007. The company is run by Laurise Thomas, a felon whose former sister-in-law, Renee Benton Gilmore, was the Workforce Alliance chief executive until resigning Feb. 15 amid accusations of excessive spending.

Last month, the St. Petersburg Times first reported on Strategywise's lucrative contracts and ties to Gilmore.

Peachey, who also is president of WorkNet Pinellas, said he plans to spend the next week evaluating the services Strategywise provides and the costs the Workforce Alliance incurs as a result.

It is possible, he said, that the current $710,275 contract could be terminated.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation is under way on the Workforce Alliance and its vendors.

Kevin Smetana can be reached at or (813) 610-1650.

Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance examines Strategywise contract 04/01/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 2, 2010 12:05am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bar review: Les Partners Lounge goes old-school in Clearwater

    Bars & Spirits

    There are some local places that I'm shocked aren't more well known, and I think that's the result of a general aversion to stepping out of one's comfort zone. I make regular concerted efforts to step outside of mine, which often leads me to strange and rewarding drinking establishments.

    Les Partners Lounge is an old-school, smoker-friendly cocktail lounge and live music venue tucked away in a nondescript shopping plaza in Island Estates.
  2. Local craft beer of the week: Plongeur a L'eponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.

    Bars & Spirits

    Tarpon Springs' Saint Somewhere Brewing Co. has a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to wild ale brewing, utilizing an open brewing approach involving uncovered fermenters in order to brew beer with local ambient microbes, reminiscent in some ways to the fermentation techniques used by rustic farmhouse breweries in Belgium …

     Plongeur a?€š€™L?ˆš??ponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Company, 6/23/17  Electric Chair Sour Shandy, Angry Chair Brewing, 6/30/17   Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA, Motorworks Brewing 7/7/17
  3. Ramadan having an economic impact on local charities, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Dodging the rain, a few families and customers gathered inside Petra Restaurant on Busch Boulevard. Around 8:30 p.m., the adham (or call to prayer) music begins, signaling Iftar, the end of the daily fast. Customers grabbed a plate to dig into the feast.

    Baha Abdullah, 35, the owner of the Sultan Market makes kataif, a common dessert that is eaten during the month long celebration of Ramadan in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Senate GOP leaders face tough job in selling health-care bill to their members


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders on Thursday moved swiftly to begin selling their health-care measure to substantially rewrite the Affordable Care Act to their wary members as they seek to garner enough support to pass the bill in an expected vote next week.

    U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill's chief author, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said "Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief." [AP]
  5. Rick Scott eyes Patronis as CFO, but it may not help him in Panhandle

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's expected pick of Jimmy Patronis as the state's next Chief Financial Officer would be a solid addition to the Republican Party ticket but may not do much to smooth some rough waters developing in the Panhandle over schools, area Republicans said this week.

    Former state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, left, is being considered by Gov. Rick Scott for the state's chief financial officer. Patronis, seen with Scott in 2011, is considered one of the governor's chief loyalists.