Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco's pick for administrator backs out but may reconsider

Tomas Gonzalez, the city manager of Irving, Texas,  said he might reconsider coming to Pasco County.


Tomas Gonzalez, the city manager of Irving, Texas, said he might reconsider coming to Pasco County.

When Tomas "Tommy" Gonzalez brought his wife and two young sons last week for a tour of Pasco County, he spent most of the three days in meetings. The family never got to scope out the neighborhoods or evaluate schools, he said.

"I was consumed with meetings," said Gonzalez, whose schedule included a county workshop, a tourism council meeting and sit-downs with government and business leaders. "We really didn't get a good feel for the area."

That, as well as salary issues, was why Gonzalez, 46, said Monday that he declined an offer to be Pasco County's next county administrator.

Gonzalez sent a brief email Saturday to commission Chairman Ted Schrader saying that after "discussing compensation and much consideration, I don't believe this is the best fit for my family and me at this time."

And yet, both sides indicate they might be willing to reopen talks.

Gonzalez, who is paid $246,000 in base salary per year as city manager of Irving, Texas, plus incentives that reports say total $450,000, said the pay in Pasco was lower than in Irving, but he didn't name an acceptable figure during talks.

"I never did throw any numbers out," he said.

Schrader said figures that were discussed were "competitive" with what administrators are paid in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Hillsborough Administrator Mike Merrill is paid $210,000 while Pinellas Administrator Bob LaSala makes $225,000 per year.

Retired Pasco Administrator John Gallagher was paid $180,000. Michele Baker is making $170,000 as Pasco's interim administrator.

"He just never would give me where he thought we needed to be," Schrader said.

Schrader said he would ask commissioners what they wanted to do as a result of Gonzalez's decision. He said he had not been given the authority to begin negotiating with Baker and said the search could be reopened if board members chose that course. The county paid about $24,000 to a Tallahassee recruiter to conduct a national search.

If that happens, he said, Baker would likely not reapply and other candidates could emerge.

At least one commissioner wants the job to go to Baker.

"I would offer the job to Michele," said Pat Mulieri, who said early in the search that Baker was her top choice.

Baker, who served as the chief deputy county administrator since 2007, did not return a message Monday.

Commissioner Henry Wilson Jr. said during the search that he wanted an outsider for the job.

Gonzalez said Monday that he has not accepted an offer elsewhere. He said he stood by his memo but then said he would be willing to reconsider if commissioners allowed him more time to explore the county with his family.

Commissioner Jack Mariano said he sympathized with Gonzalez's plight and would be willing to let the Gonzalez family return for a less structured visit.

"He's a family guy," he said. "There's still a tremendous opportunity for him here."

Pasco's pick for administrator backs out but may reconsider 06/24/13 [Last modified: Monday, June 24, 2013 8:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gov. candidate Chris King: Climate change is biggest threat to Florida's economy


    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King today made his case for how economic growth and fighting climate change go hand in hand. His rivals for the Democratic nomination, Gwen Graham and …

    Winter Park businessman Chris King and his family
  2. Editorial: Buckhorn's proposed tax increase is too high for Tampa


    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed city budget for 2018 confronts some hard realities of the times. With debt payments looming and another fire station opening in fast-growing north Tampa, the City Council needs to consider raising property taxes, especially with the prospect of another homestead exemption around the …

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s proposed city budget for 2018 confronts some hard realities of the times. But it seems overly ambitious, and the City Council should be cautious about raising taxes too much in a single swoop.
  3. The next step in a sex abuse survivor's recovery: Erasing her tattoo


    TAMPA — Even after 20 years, Sufiyah can't escape the memories of being sexually exploited by gang members as a teenager.

    The tattoo makes it impossible.

    Sufiyah, an aAbuse survivor, prepares to have a tattoo removed  at Tampa Tattoo Vanish  on Thursday. During her teen years, she was sexually exploited by a gang. The tattoo is a mark of her exploiters. 

Tampa Tattoo Vanish is a new tattoo removal business run by Brian Morrison, where survivors of human trafficking get free tattoo removal.  [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  4. Cridlin: Linkin Park's Chester Bennington had a wail that stood apart

    Music & Concerts

    For all the old-timers' talk about how they don't make singers like they used to, about how rock vocalists of the 21st century can't hold a candle to the frontmen of yesteryear, here's a fact no hater could deny:

    Chester Bennington could flat-out wail.

    Chester Bennington of Linkin Park  performs at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa for the 2014 Carnivores Tour. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  5. Police investigating shooting in north Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Police were investigating a shooting in north Tampa Thursday that left one person seriously injured.