Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

Pinellas Park say job duality ruling doesn't apply

PINELLAS PARK — Officials here pride themselves on trying creative, out-of-the-box solutions to issues facing the city.

But their latest innovation — to let a police captain and the fire chief train and compete for the job of city manager — may have collided with the state Constitution, which forbids dual office holding.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi ruled on April 18 that the dual-office-holding clause prohibited a Miami police officer from simultaneously serving as acting city manager, The ban applies, Bondi said in the opinion, even if the "appointment is of a limited and finite duration, without tenure or additional remuneration."

She referred to a 2006 opinion "in which this office concluded that a city police chief could not serve as city manager until a successor was appointed without violating the dual office-holding prohibition."

Pinellas Park spokesman Tim Caddell said the city does not believe the ruling applies to Pinellas Park.

"We do not believe we have a problem with the ruling the way things are set up now," Caddell said. "It's not the same situation."

But, at least on the surface, the situations appear to be very similar.

City Manager Mike Gustafson announced earlier this year that he planned to retire sometime in the next few years. Fire Chief Doug Lewis and Capt. Mike Haworth, the second-in-command in the Police Department, told him they wanted his job.

Gustafson decided to let the two test drive the job. He appointed them co-interim assistant city managers. As such, they will oversee city departments, and complete projects and tasks. Gustafson said the idea would provide on-the-job training, give them a chance to see if they really want the position, and give him a good idea of which is better for the job, or if the council should look elsewhere for a replacement. The understanding was that neither would lose his current position and could return if not chosen to succeed Gustafson.

Haworth, 51, received a 5 percent bump in salary from the $94,613 a year he was earning as police captain to $99,344 a year. Capt. Kevin Riley has taken over his daily duties in the Police Department.

Lewis, 57, also received a 5 percent salary jump from about $115,276 a year to about $121,040 annually. District fire Chief of Training Guy Keirn has been promoted to interim fire chief.

City attorney James Denhardt said he analyzed the opinion and compared it to Pinellas Park's setup.

"It is my belief that our situation does not fall under that opinion," Denhardt told city officials.

Neither Haworth nor Lewis has any powers to set policy and, if Gustafson is gone, his duties are taken over by Assistant City Manager Tom Shevlin. And, Denhardt said, neither the captain nor the chief are continuing to perform the duties they had before the change. Haworth is not carrying a gun, nor serving as a police officer. Lewis is not functioning as fire chief.

"Neither of them are holding or serving in dual offices at this time," Denhardt said.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.

Comments
Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, calls relative after being reported missing

Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, calls relative after being reported missing

Seven months ago, Jalyssa Shannon’s older sister Janessa went missing, sparking a frantic search that ended with the discovery of the 13-year-old’s body in a Hillsborough County nature preserve and, later, the arrest of the girls’ father in her murde...
Updated: 5 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 19

Monday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 11, Central 0
Updated: 6 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Feb. 19, midday:46 278 6907e_SRit78769Mon., Feb. 19, evening:59 597 4363e_SRit97936Fantasy 5Mon., Feb. 19...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Updated: 6 hours ago
Water Wars starting to simmer again in Tampa Bay

Water Wars starting to simmer again in Tampa Bay

CLEARWATER — A simmering feud between Tampa and the regional water authority avoided boiling over Monday, but little was resolved.At a Tampa Bay Water meeting, board members requested Tampa work with the agency on the city’s plan to convert tens of m...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Associated PressST. PETERSBURG, Russia — While Russian officials scoff at a U.S. indictment charging 13 Russians with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, several people who worked at the same St. Petersburg, Russia, "troll factory" say t...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Man sought in sexual assault of woman, 71, in New Port Richey

Man sought in sexual assault of woman, 71, in New Port Richey

NEW PORT RICHEY — Deputies are searching for a man who they said broke into a home and raped a 71-year-old woman on Monday.The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said the woman was checking on a home at 7437 Heather St. for the homeowner at about 8:15 a.m...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Associated PressWEST PALM BEACH — From the confines of his Mar-a-Lago golf club, President Donald Trump offered support Monday for a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases while staying largely mum in the past few days ab...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Puerto RicoJudge grants $300M loan for power companyA federal judge on Monday approved a $300 million loan for Puerto Rico’s power company that officials say will help keep the troubled agency operating until late March. The judge had originally reje...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Grief-filled funerals also can be cathartic

Grief-filled funerals also can be cathartic

PARKLAND — Each funeral for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High massacre is different, yet the same: the mourning relatives, teens walking in clutches wearing black, politicians paying their respects, media cameras pointing at the entran...
Updated: 8 hours ago