Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando commission candidate's ride-along with firefighters raises questions

Republican Laurie Pizzo is seeking the Hernando County Commission seat held by Dave Russell. 

Republican Laurie Pizzo is seeking the Hernando County Commission seat held by Dave Russell. 

BROOKSVILLE — For Laurie Pizzo, a District 4 candidate for the Hernando County Commission, the ride-along with fire officials for 10 hours Monday was a chance to educate herself about the county's fire service.

In the course of her visits with firefighters, she also had the opportunity to answer questions and pass out palm cards about her candidacy.

Now county officials are asking questions of their own, to find out whether the firefighters violated the county's policy restricting political activity.

And to make sure that others do not tread into that treacherous arena, the county's risk manager, Cristi Charlow, on Thursday issued copies of the policy to all county employees via email with a cover letter noting: "As election season is upon us, we wanted to remind all employees of the attached Political Activity Restrictions Policy that regulates political activities of Hernando County (Commission) employees.''

After Pizzo heard that questions had been raised, she said Friday that she read the county policy and realized that handing out campaign literature and her political conversations were problematic.

"I probably should not have done that,'' she said. "There was no harm intended.''

Pizzo said such ride-alongs help her understand firsthand what county employees do and that she expects they will help her make good decisions as a commissioner.

Interim Fire Chief Mike Nickerson said county officials learned about Pizzo's activities on Wednesday and have not yet determined whether an investigation of the employees' activities is warranted.

Ride-alongs are not an uncommon practice when members of the public want to see how the government is spending their money, Nickerson said.

This is the second time Pizzo has found herself in the middle of a situation because of a ride-along. In January, she was riding with a Hernando County sheriff's deputy when another off-duty deputy was pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated. She was a witness and stated that the accused deputy appeared to pass field sobriety tests.

Pizzo is seeking the commission seat held by Dave Russell, who has announced he will not seek re-election. She will face Jeff Holcomb in the Republican Party primary later this summer. The other announced candidate for the seat is Democrat Dan Oliver.

Hernando commission candidate's ride-along with firefighters raises questions 05/16/14 [Last modified: Friday, May 16, 2014 7:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Repertory's 'Flying' soars in some places, sputters in others

    Stage

    TAMPA — Tampa Repertory Theatre has always insisted on putting on plays that mean something. Several shows over the last couple of years have zeroed in on the social and cultural baggage that comes with being female (The Children's Hour, Silent Sky and Grounded come to mind). None of those …

    The Southeastern premiere of Flying, Sheila Cowley's play at Tampa Repertory Theatre about veterans of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots, includes (from left) Holly Marie Weber, Rosemary Orlando, and Becca McCoy. Photo by Megan Lamasney.
  2. Bucs-Vikings: What could make Tampa Bay's defense elite again

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The last time the Bucs had a top-five defense also happens to be when they last appeared in the postseason.

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) celebrates after recovering a fumble by Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Top 5 at noon: Detours, delays on I-75 in Pasco; last call for New World Brewery; and more

    News

    Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.

    Road crews clean up a mess of crash debris - and pumpkins - left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash on Interstate 75 in Pasco County on Sept. 22, 2017. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  4. Trumps travel ban to be replaced by restrictions tailored to certain countries

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, the New York Times reports, citing officials familiar with the plans.

    President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, officials familiar with the plans said Friday. The new restrictions, aimed at preventing security threats from entering the United States, could go into effect Sunday after the conclusion of a 90-day policy review undertaken as part of the administration's original travel ban. Though the restrictions would differ for each country, people living in the targeted nations could be prevented from traveling to the United States or could face increased scrutiny as they seek to obtain a visa. [Associated Press]
  5. New World Brewery is closing. Where will all its concerts go now?

    Blogs

    Ever since it was announced that New World Brewery was closing its beloved Ybor City location and relocating to a spot farther north, there’s been an outpouring of nostalgia from artists, promoters and fans throughout the Tampa Bay music scene.

    Allison Weiss performed at New World Brewery in 2015.