Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Praise but no raise for Hillsborough County administrator

TAMPA — Mike Merrill has had to oversee layoffs and major budget cuts due to a sagging economy during his first year as Hillsborough County's full-time administrator.

County commissioners appear pleased with the job he has done, giving him largely good grades on his first evaluation Wednesday.

On a scale of 1 to 5, they gave him an average score of 3.43 in performance categories ranging from leadership to strategic management, meaning they think he's somewhere between meeting expectations and exceeding them. He scored slightly higher on specific performance measures.

"I'll just state that despite the fact that there was fierce resistance for changing the leadership here at County Center, you came in, you took the ship, you righted it and you put us on, I believe, the correct course," said Commissioner Mark Sharpe.

In keeping with what other county employees are experiencing, however, commissioners elected not to raise his $195,000 salary.

Commissioners scored Merrill most favorably in financial resource management. His past experience as the county's trusted debt management director helped lead to him being named interim county administrator early last year when predecessor Pat Bean came under scrutiny for awarding secret pay raises.

Merrill got less favorable remarks in the area of responsiveness to commissioners' concerns, with Sandra Murman, Victor Crist, Les Miller and Kevin Beckner giving him a score of two, meaning he failed to meet their expectations. Murman, Crist and Miller, all former legislators, have just completed their first year on the board.

"While I've seen improvement in this area over the past few months, I believe Mr. Merrill could be more up front in his communication with me and my staff," wrote Crist, who was Merrill's harshest evaluator.

Unlike in recent past years, when sometimes a majority of commissioners would fail to submit written evaluations of their top appointees, all seven filled them out this year. The evaluation form was also revamped to evaluate the administrator on specific objectives, with Merrill providing a self-evaluation as well.

Merrill thanked commissioners and his staff for their guidance and help in his new job.

He confirmed Wednesday that he will be moving back to Hillsborough County by the end of the year to fulfill a residency requirement. Merrill had moved to Clearwater shortly before taking the job full time and commissioners gave him a year to move back to Hillsborough.

He said he will live in Westchase.

Bill Varian can be reached at (813) 226-3387 or

Praise but no raise for Hillsborough County administrator 11/16/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 11:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility


    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia


    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and 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]