Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando's budget director may get more responsibilities under new plan

BROOKSVILLE — After commissioners shot down his first plan this week, County Administrator David Hamilton is devising a new job description for his top financial officer.

Hamilton said Friday he is proposing a job with more responsibilities for Hernando's 10-year director of the Office of Management and Budget, George Zoettlein, a job that would land him on Hamilton's leadership team.

Zoettlein probably would take on some new administrative duties, but he would keep the same salary and benefits package, Hamilton said.

In August, Hamilton told Zoettlein that his position would not be included in the 2010 budget. With deputy administrator Larry Jennings taking early leave and the budget job eliminated, Hamilton had proposed combining both jobs into a director of budget and administrative services.

The goal, he said, was to have more management but fewer managers. The merger also would have saved taxpayers an estimated $120,000 a year in salary and benefits, he said.

Zoettlein had already signed up for the early leave package, but he said he was interested in applying for the new position. He added that he didn't want to go and had intended to finish out his government career in the next six years.

The commission approved the concept of the new position when the budget was approved in late September. On Tuesday, however, things changed.

The board rejected the job description for the merged position and the plan for filling it. Then Commissioner Jeff Stabins made a strong pitch for Zoettlein to keep his job.

Zoettlein has had no negative evaluations and has been preparing the county's budget documents for a decade, Stabins argued. He also noted that, with Jennings' departure, the budget office needs continuity.

The county needs a strong budget officer, Stabins said, pointing out that the county has gotten by for long stretches in recent years without a deputy administrator.

Commissioner Jim Adkins backed Stabins, saying he didn't want to spend more money to hire another person to do Jennings' tasks. Commissioner Rose Rocco noted that Hamilton has been in his job long enough to know what tasks need to be done by administration.

Hamilton said Friday there may have been some misunderstanding about what his initial proposal would have cost. He said that combining the jobs held by Jennings and Zoettlein would save the county at least $120,000. He had no intention of making the new job pay more than the total cost of the two positions.

In the new job description, Hamilton said he would make it clear that the finance job would be at or below Zoettlein's current salary range but that Zoettlein would be grandfathered in and his pay would not drop.

He now makes $97,739 in salary, $127,792 including benefits.

The salary range for Zoettlein's current position is $72,488 to $116,857, the same amount proposed for the position the commissioners shot down. Hamilton said the pay grade may go down one step, and if it did, the range would change to between $69,014 and $111,257.

He noted that Zoettlein, in his current job, is making as much or more than other members of the county's leadership team, of which Zoettlein has not previously been a part. As Zoettlein joins the leadership team, he should take on a few additional duties, Hamilton said.

One major task that would not be included this time is the responsibility to fill in for the administrator when he is not available. Hamilton said the leadership team would instead rotate those responsibilities in his absence.

During Tuesday's discussion, Stabins said one duty he especially wanted Zoettlein to be responsible for in the coming year is to help the county find a way to deal with a predicted revenue shortfall of $9.5 million from the general fund next year.

"Handling the budget, that's what I was hired to do,'' Zoettlein said. "If they let me continue to do that, I'll be more than happy to do it.''

The new job description proposal is set for discussion at the next commission meeting Oct. 27.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando's budget director may get more responsibilities under new plan 10/16/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 16, 2009 11:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Some teachers allege 'hostile and racially charged' workplace at Pinellas Park Middle


    PINELLAS PARK — Two black teachers at Pinellas Park Middle have requested transfers out of the school, alleging the work environment there has become "hostile and racially charged."

    Pinellas Park Middle School at 6940 70th Ave N, where some black teachers have alleged they were treated with hostility by colleagues after starting a tutoring program for black students. Just 22 percent of black students were proficient in English language arts in last spring's state tests. Two black teachers have asked to be transfered, according to a letter from two local chapters of the NAACP. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  2. Editorial: The unknown price tags in the mayor's race


    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has been busy promoting all sorts initiatives in the months leading up to the Nov. 7 election, doubling down on his progressive agenda without spending much money or generating much controversy. But make no mistake, the cost will come due after the election. Without a change in …

    The mayor is determined to get artist Janet Echelman to create a sculpture for the new Pier. But the cost would be much higher than what is allocated. Above is Echelman’s As If It Were Already Here in Boston.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. Judge won't cut prison term of man who pleads obesity


    TAMPA — A claim of obesity won't shave time off a Tampa man's prison sentence.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.
  5. Advocates for charter, public schools argue their cases at education forum


    TAMPA — Advocates of charter schools argued for diversity in education while supporters of traditional public schools charged that state funding is stacked against them during a forum Friday titled "Choices in Education."

    Schools such as Winthrop Charter School deserve greater public support, their operators say, because they offer a choice in education that is popular among parents. Public school advocates say charter and voucher schools represent a double standard in accountability and enrollment. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times]