Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spring Hill Fire Rescue Chief Mike Rampino declines raise

SPRING HILL — In keeping with a promise he made a year ago when he accepted the top job, Spring Hill Fire Rescue Chief Mike Rampino on Wednesday turned down a 5 percent pay raise in solidarity with his fellow firefighters.

Citing the district's ongoing budget squeeze, along with his desire to stand with the district firefighters' union that voted against asking for a pay raise last year, Rampino politely thanked the four commissioners who approved the raise.

Then he politely declined it.

"If the men and women (of the department) didn't take a pay increase, I can't take one," he said.

Shortly after taking over the department, Rampino told commissioners that as long as the district faced financial challenges, he would do his best to hold down costs — even if it meant not taking a pay raise for himself. His contract allows for up to an 8 percent annual increase in salary.

In his annual review, Rampino got high marks from four of the commissioners. He received an "unacceptable" rating from Commissioner Rob Giammarco, who said Rampino often failed to keep him and other board members properly informed of department matters.

As an example, Giammarco cited last year's failed attempt to levy a tangible tax on Spring Hill businesses that the administration hoped would help offset a projected $1.3 million budget shortfall. Rampino, he said, never told commissioners about the proposed tax, and that he first learned of it two days before they were asked to approve it.

"I felt like we were left hanging," he said. "It's not a good way to do the public's business."

Rampino said he expects the coming year to be filled with more fiscal challenges, and that he and his staff are evaluating the district's capital needs, including whether some older vehicles and equipment may be in need of replacement.

"I don't see it getting any easier anytime soon," he said.

Commissioners also voted 4-1 to restore a Web page created by district chaplain Jack Martin and to link it once again to the district's Internet site, while attorney Andrew Salzman seeks a legal opinion from the state attorney general.

The decision followed an impassioned outcry from several firefighters and members of the public who believed that disconnecting the Web page was unjust.

Controversy over the site ensued after a Spring Hill resident complained it violated separation of church and state rules because taxpayer money is used to support it.

Salzman, however, said that based on his research he could find nothing illegal about the Web page, but recommended it be taken down as a cautionary measure.

Logan Neill can be reached at or (352) 848-1435.

Spring Hill Fire Rescue Chief Mike Rampino declines raise 02/10/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 7:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. FHP: 55-year-old pedestrian struck, killed by car in Largo


    LARGO — A 55-year-old St. Petersburg man died late Saturday after he walked into the path of a car on Ulmerton Road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  3. Study offers warning for Florida strawberry farmers from global warming


    LAKELAND — Florida strawberry growers already have experienced a dress rehearsal for the impacts of climate change during the past two seasons.

     Carl Grooms shows off some of his strawberries at Fancy Farms near Plant City Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.  Grooms, President of Fancy Farms. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times]
  4. Two Interstate 275 tractor-trailer crashes cause delays in Tampa


    TAMPA — Two tractor-trailers driving in opposite directions on Interstate 275 crashed Sunday within a mile of each other, causing lane closures on both sides for much of the morning.

    Two tractor-trailers going opposite directions on Interstate 275 in Tampa crashed Sunday morning, closing lanes on each side, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Read Anthony Scaramucci's old tweets. You'll understand why he deleted them


    New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci hasn't always shared the political views of the administration he now serves.

    Anthony Scaramucci, incoming White House communications director, takes questions as he speaks in the briefing room at the White House on Friday. [ Washington Post photo by by Jabin Botsford]