Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough begins search for new county attorney

TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners voted Wednesday to hire an outside firm to begin the search for a county attorney.

The 5-1 vote authorizes the county to solicit offers from a recruiting firm, cap the payment for that firm at $25,000 and conduct a statewide search. A recommendation on what firm to hire must go back to commissioners before the actual search begins.

Commissioner Kevin Beckner voted against the motion, saying that the position ought to be advertised nationally. He also suggested that the county's Civil Service Board could conduct the search and that, if an outside firm was picked, the fee shouldn't be capped to ensure that the county gets the most qualified firm.

Commissioner Al Higginbotham was absent due to a death in his family.

Board Chairman Ken Hagan, who brought the matter forward, noted the issue has been lingering for some time. Former County Attorney Renee Lee was dismissed last year amid allegations that she blessed a stealth raise for herself and engaged in email snooping. Acting County Attorney Don Odom is due to retire by July 1.

Hagan argued that Florida law has many state-specific quirks, and it's important for the county to hire someone familiar with them. He said a statewide search wouldn't preclude someone who is licensed in Florida but has moved out of state from applying.

He also said that hiring an outside firm provides the best assurance that the search is conducted at arms-length, preventing the process from favoring any prospective candidate.

"I think by hiring an outside firm," Hagan said, "it depoliticizes the search and keeps us above the fray."

Beckner pressed several times to advertise the position in national legal publications, but was generally rebuffed by his colleagues.

In other action:

•Commissioners narrowly rejected Les Miller's request to create a regional vendor preference program. It would have allowed bidders from Hillsborough and four surrounding counties an opportunity to match the winning bid if their original offer had come close to winning the work. The proposal died on a 3-3 vote, with Beckner, Mark Sharpe and Sandra Murman opposed.

•The board voted 6-0 to ask legislators to spare Hillsborough Correctional Institute, the Riverview women's prison, from closure, as is currently planned.

Hillsborough begins search for new county attorney 02/08/12 [Last modified: Thursday, February 9, 2012 12:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cap on number of taxicabs on the road may survive abolition of PTC


    State lawmakers made no secret that their decision to abolish the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission was partly becasue they believed its excessive regulations protected the taxicab and limo-rental industries from competition.

    Taxi cab drivers wait at an offsite area for fares at Tampa International Airport
  2. Judge denies bail for woman accused in Selmon crash that killed three


    TAMPA — A judge denied bail for 29-year-old Amber Nicole Perera in connection with a Thursday collision on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway that killed three members of a Tampa family.

    Amber Perera, the driver that caused a crash on the Selmon Expressway last week that killed a couple and their daughter, leaves the courtroom after being denied bail on Aug. 16, 2017, at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  3. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — More than a decade after plans to develop a vacant waterfront tract were first announced, a new rendering finally gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District will ultimately look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}
  4. Buddy Brew Coffee to open downtown Tampa location


    TAMPA — Buddy Brew Coffee plans to open a new location in downtown Tampa at Park Tower. The specialty coffee craft roaster, which was founded in 2010, has five other locations throughout Tampa including the Oxford Exchange, Sarasota, Hyde Park Village and Terminal F inside the Tampa International Airport.

    A cappuccino is displayed at Buddy Brew in Tampa in January 2017. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  5. What you might have missed in the second episode of the Bucs on 'Hard Knocks'


    We're back for another episode of The Annotated Hard Knocks, trying to find behind-the-scenes insights and things you might have missed in Tuesday's second episode of "Hard Knocks," following the Bucs in …

    As the crowd recognized him and got loud, Jameis Winston jumped up and down in celebration. [GREG AUMAN | Times]