Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas administrator, commission budgets spared as other departments cut

Pinellas County Administrator Bob LaSala and the County Commission have spent much of the summer ruing the cuts and layoffs in most departments.

But two places were spared — their own offices.

Those budgets would even increase slightly under the proposed 2011 spending plan, which faces its first public hearing tonight. While more than 200 employees have received layoff notices, none came from those departments.

LaSala sought 15 percent spending cuts from department heads. But his and the board's budget proposal illustrate how that demand wasn't always followed in a $1.6 billion spending plan.

"There isn't any more room to cut staff positions here," LaSala said of his office. Further, a quarter of layoffs will be management, according to a presentation that will be given at tonight's meeting.

But with morale admittedly down among county workers, LaSala acknowledged, "I'm sure you could find someone in the organization who is not happy with either of those arrangements."

Here's a look at some areas where spending increased:

County administrator

Budget: $1.56 million, up $47,000.

Rationale: Last year the county laid off an assistant county administrator and three others. LaSala said that's enough because the workload isn't decreasing, particularly as management seeks other ways to consolidate and cut operations and costs. A longtime assistant county administrator, Elithia Stanfield, will retire this month from a $166,000-a-year job. LaSala will fill her job, though he said no national search will be done.

County Commission

Budget: $1.58 million, up $38,520.

Rationale: Unlike other budget hearings, the County Commission met off camera to discuss its budget during three public meetings in an office conference room. While commission Chairwoman Karen Seel suggested furloughs, others such as Commissioner John Morroni objected because they didn't want their seven-member staff to have an option that others didn't. Since no one could agree, they did neither. The commissioners voluntarily agreed to cut their pay 4 percent again, but did not impose it on their aides for a second year.

Economic development

Budget: $1.81 million, up $6,100.

Rationale: The 14-employee department lost $321,000 in general county funding, but would make it up with federal grants. During a recession, LaSala and Seel said, the department is key to creating jobs for residents and helping the economy. The agency, which oversees incentives to businesses, has budgeted $215,000 for those grants, up from $192,000 last year. Those incentives are doled out via contracts with the state and companies.

Fleet management

Budget: $18.5 million, up $3.56 million.

Reasons: Despite cutting the staff from 42 to 31, the budget for the department in charge of the county's 1,750 vehicles would get more money to save for future vehicle purchases. Reserves would increase from $3.6 million to $7.6 million. Fleet director Keith Grant said replacement purchases would be frozen, and maintenance deferred — oil changes every 6,000 miles, for example. "You still have to have money for their replacement at some point in time," Grant said.

David DeCamp can be reached at or (727) 893-8779.

Public hearing

The county will hold a public hearing on the 2011 budget at 6:30 p.m. tonight on the fifth floor of the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Clearwater. The second hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21.

Pinellas administrator, commission budgets spared as other departments cut 09/06/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 9:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  2. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and similar events, saying they are inappropriate could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  3. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  4. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  5. Photo gallery: Nation pays respects to America's war dead on Memorial Day

    Human Interest

    At Memorial Day ceremonies in Tampa Bay area and around the country, Americans paid tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with rhythm section. On Saturday local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops placed flags on veterans???‚??„? graves prior to the event. This is an annual tradition of Curlew Hills' Memorial Day services and helps the Scout troops achieve merit badges. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.