Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kenneth City Mayor Teresa Zemaitis acts to rein in spending

KENNETH CITY — New Mayor Teresa Zemaitis has wasted no time in taking charge of this town's affairs, clamping down on spending and changing policies she finds wasteful.

Among her actions:

• Freezing salaries on all non-contractual employees.

• Banning council members from attending banquets, conferences or other events on the taxpayers' dime unless the function "provides a clear benefit for the town," the council member attends at least one workshop and writes a report of what was learned at the meeting.

• Barring any employee from attending functions or conferences unless they have a clear benefit for the town, attend at least one workshop a day and file a report on those sessions.

• Eliminating the practice of allowing public works employees to take home town-owned vehicles unless there is an emergency.

• Ordering thermostats be turned up a couple of degrees to save on electricity.

Zemaitis froze salaries on April 27, a mere four days after she was sworn in as mayor pro tem. The decision came after she spent the weekend studying Kenneth City's current $2.3 million budget. Zemaitis said she was shocked to find that the town was using reserves to balance the budget.

Zemaitis said she knew the town often used reserves to balance the budget but seldom spent that money. It appears, she said, that the town recently has been dipping into reserves to pay bills. Zemaitis said she wants to go back and study the budgets over the past several years to determine how much, if any, of the reserves were spent.

But, in the meantime, Zemaitis said she wanted to make sure the town is not wasting money. Some of her moves, like turning up the thermostats, may not save a lot of money, "but nickels and dimes add up to dollars."

She also made some more sweeping decisions, such as the salary freeze and the change in policy concerning attendance at conferences and such. The salary freeze does not affect police officers, who are covered by a union contract.

"I'm not trying to be mean to anyone," Zemaitis said. "If it's not necessary, we're not going to do it."

She explained her reasoning about conferences in a memo to other council members and town employees.

"In the past it was more the norm for council members to attend conferences and only enjoy the banquets without earning their meal by attending the workshops," Zemaitis wrote. "This was a waste of our residents' hard-earned tax dollars. I am certain they did not elect us to provide us with free meals."

In addition to the requirement that workshops be attended and reported on, Zemaitis said she must approve all travel-related expenses in advance from now on.

Kenneth City Mayor Teresa Zemaitis acts to rein in spending 05/05/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 5:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Manchester police say they have made three more arrests in concert bombing

    World

    BREAKING: Manchester police say they have made three more arrests over pop concert bombing. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.

    PREVIOUS STORY:

    People light candles after a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended on Monday night. [Associated Press]
  2. Who will headline the 2021 Super Bowl halftime show in Tampa?

    Blogs

    The NFL announced Tuesday that Tampa will host Super Bowl LV in 2021, a result of stadium construction delays in Los Angeles.

    Taylor Swift performed at Raymond James Stadium in 2015. Could she return for Super Bowl LV in 2021?
  3. New DEP secretary says there's no conflict in political side businesses

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — When Noah Valenstein, the newly appointed head of the Department of Environmental Protection, was applying in April to be the state's top environmental regulator, he left one thing off the application: Companies he started and his wife runs have been paid nearly $1 million by politicians and lobbying …

     Noah Valenstein got the job as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday May 23rd, on a unanimous vote by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet. He will take the helm on June 5, with a salary of $150,000 per year. [Florida Governor's Office]
  4. Trump says 'we can use peace' during meeting with Pope Francis

    Religion

    VATICAN CITY — President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, two leaders with contrasting styles and differing worldviews, met at the Vatican City on Wednesday, setting aside their previous clashes to broadcast a tone of peace for an audience around the globe.

    Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump on the occasion of their private audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. [Associated Press]
  5. Pinellas construction licensing board looking for ways to fill financial hole

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board's interim leader told the governing board Tuesday that the troubled agency is looking for ways to climb out of its