Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

List of contenders for Pasco County administrator narrowed to 10

One resigned after he was investigated for snooping into confidential emails. Another, among the highest paid public servants in Texas, was accused of accepting tickets to professional sporting events from vendors.

Both men were cleared of any wrongdoing — and now are on a recruiter's top 10 list of candidates to succeed retiring Pasco County Administrator John Gallagher. Gallagher, who in 1982 inherited an operation that brought grand jury scrutiny and the arrest of the commission chairman, was known for cleaning up government.

"He won't even let someone buy him lunch," Commission Chairman Ted Schrader said.

Tomas Gonzalez, city manager of Irving, Texas, earns $450,000 in salary and benefits to manage a city with a population of 216,000, about 2,100 employees and a $500 million budget.

He lists himself as a "black belt" in a program aimed at improving efficiency, and said his efforts saved the city $44 million. Under his leadership, the city won numerous awards.

Yet he also faced ethical questions. According to the Dallas-Fort Worth TV affiliate WFAA, the CEO of a large firm emailed Gonzalez in April 2008, saying, "I didn't forget your desire to take your family to a [Texas] Rangers-[Boston Red] Sox Game … compliments of me." Gonzalez took the tickets and attended the game, the station reported.

Three years later, Gonzalez urged the Irving City Council to award the firm economic incentives and a 40 percent tax break.

Schrader, who met with Gonzalez recently when he visited as a candidate for the top job at Tampa Bay Water, said he was impressed but would "have a conversation" about ethical issues should Gonzalez make the next cut. Schrader said an Irving official told him that Gonzalez committed no violations because the city has no policy against accepting gifts.

Pasco has a policy forbidding employees from accepting any gifts of value.

Robert Bartolotta served as Sarasota city manager during the toughest part of the recession, from 2007 to 2012. He recommended pension cuts and cut the work force 24 percent. Last year, allegations surfaced that he and another employee read confidential emails and erased public records during an investigation involving the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Bartolotta resigned under pressure. He was later cleared.

Bartolotta told the Tampa Bay Times his departure "was a mutual agreement."

Others making the cut included: Pasco's second-in-command, Michele Baker; Carl Harness, an assistant administrator in Pinellas County; Eric Johnson, strategic planning director for Hillsborough County; Pensacola consultant Charles Oliver; Washington, D.C. consultant Ronald Rabun; Tampa consultant Lee Evett; Mascotte City Manager James Gleason; and Michael Jones, administrator for Paulding County, Ga. Commissioners are expected to select a few finalists by May 14 and schedule interviews for May 24.

List of contenders for Pasco County administrator narrowed to 10 05/06/13 [Last modified: Monday, May 6, 2013 8:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Cal Foote said he was so young when his father, Adam, played in the NHL, he didn't remember their hug in the Avalanche's dressing room during the 2001 Stanley Cup celebration.

    Head shot of Times staffer Joe Smith. Joe Smith is the Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer for the sports department. Staffer mug shot taken in Times studio on Tuesday (06/20/17).
  2. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary celebration

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Anthony DeAngelo of the Tampa Bay Lightning poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.