Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

New Port Richey employees in line to get raises

NEW PORT RICHEY — Less than two years removed from employee layoffs amid an economic crisis, many city workers will soon be seeing raises.

The pay bumps will be the result of a pay structure implemented by the city council Tuesday in an effort to be more competitive in attracting and keeping employees. The council approved spending more than $208,000 beginning April 1 to create a job classification tier structure that will establish minimum salary rates for all positions in the city. It means raises for 58 percent of the city's workforce now making less money than the new rates. The new pay plan does not affect pay rates for union police and fire employees.

In addition, the new pay plan raises the minimum pay for a city employee to $10.10 an hour, interim City Manager Susan Dillinger told the council. Of the city's 220 employees, 29 make less than $10 an hour.

Dillinger told the council there have been several studies completed since the early 1990s looking at competitive pay rates for employees but none have been implemented, leaving the city lagging behind area pay rates resulting in high employee turnover.

Council member Chopper Davis, who completes his first year on council next month, said he's "embarrassed" that the city waited so long to pay its employees competitive salaries.

"In fact, I would give them more money if I could. I can't wait. It needs to go," Davis said of the plan.

The move follows news that the city's reserves and general fund are flush after years of cutbacks, debt re-financing, and stormwater/streetlight assessment increases that have dramatically improved the economic outlook.

In other news:

• The council gave spending approval to staff to revamp a computer software system that is decades old.

Council members voted unanimously to approve spending more than $846,000 over three years to roll out new software for employees to manage financial data, utilities, development services and overall customer service management.

Currently, city operations are conducted using an IBM programming system from the 1980s. The new software will be implemented by Texas-based Tyler Technologies, a company that also services the Pasco County School District and recently won a bid to roll out the same system for Pasco County, according to the city's IT director Bryan Weed.

• After several failed attempts at finding a permanent city manager, the council has come up with a short list of candidates who are slated for interviews in two weeks.

The board selected three candidates with management experience to interview, including a high-ranking official with Pasco County. The city is offering $115,000 a year for the position. The council scheduled the following candidates for interviews on April 4:

- Elizabeth Goodwin Harris, community services director for Pasco County.

- Debbie Manns, assistant city manager of Clayton, Ohio.

- James McCroskey, city manager of Holly Hill, Fla.

Comments
Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could be suspended for up to three games  next season following the league's investigation into allegations he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016, a Tallahassee radio station reported.Jeff Cameron, a&#...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman."To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman and the coac...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Passengers on fatal Southwest flight sue airline and manufacturers of plane and engine

Passengers on fatal Southwest flight sue airline and manufacturers of plane and engine

Eight passengers who were aboard a Southwest Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after one of its engines blew apart filed suit Wednesday against the airline, Boeing and the companies that manufactured the eng...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Tesla sued a former employee Wednesday, accusing the man of hacking the automaker’s computer systems and stealing company secrets, shedding light on what chief Elon Musk had suggested was the work of a secretive internal saboteur.But the employee, Ma...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together.

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together.

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

LARGO — Vanessa Rodriguez thought she found the right house for her three kids, in the right neighborhood, for the right rent. She signed the lease for April 30, sent a $2,300 money order and planned to move in June 1.Then the delays started. She sai...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Clearwater wants $40 million from the county for a stadium. But there’s not $40 million to give.

Clearwater wants $40 million from the county for a stadium. But there’s not $40 million to give.

CLEARWATER —The city’s proposed $79.7 million overhaul of the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training facilities depends on getting $40 million in bed taxes from Pinellas County.But records show even if county officials wanted to bankroll the Phillies...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hillsborough commissioners approve referendum on making county officers non-partisan

Hillsborough commissioners approve referendum on making county officers non-partisan

TAMPA — The debate over whether "Rep" or "Dem" should be on the ballot alongside the name of candidates for sheriff or property appraiser is now in the hands of Hillsborough County voters.Hillsborough County commissioners voted 5-2 Wednesday to hold ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

TAMPA — Mortar & Pestle, a fledgling Seminole Heights eatery with a mom-and-pop pharmacy theme, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Seacoast Bank was listed as the creditor with the largest unsecured claim: $1.4 million.The restaurant...
Updated: 6 hours ago