Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen taking part-time job with clerk of court

TAMPA — Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen is returning to the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Circuit Court's office for a part-time job overseeing a wide-ranging project to update the agency's information technology.

Related News/Archive

A lawyer by training, Cohen, 41, left his job as the chief deputy clerk of court to campaign full-time for the City Council.

After he was sworn in on April 1, he said he would spend a month or so getting used to the demands of his city job, which pays $40,250 annually, before deciding about other work.

Starting Wednesday, Cohen will work 18 hours a week and will be paid $65.99 per hour, the same hourly rate he earned as chief deputy clerk. That works out to about $61,767 annually.

"That's a good bargain," Clerk of Court Pat Frank said, praising Cohen's knowledge of the Clerk's Office and the courts.

This month, Frank saw three high-level employees leave in a reorganization that she said will reduce costs and put the office in a better position to carry out the legislatively mandated technological overhaul.

The reorganization did not have anything to do with an investigation of ticket-handling irregularities in the Clerk's Office, Frank said.

One of the three employees who left resigned after indicating that she doubted she could oversee the technology overhaul while handling her existing duties.

Frank said she is confident that Cohen will handle a critical job as the liaison between the IT specialists who are implementing the new system and the people who will use it.

Cohen said the technology project will affect everything from the imaging of documents to the redacting of personal information from court records, online access to court documents (once Supreme Court rules allow it), how judges use court records and how the Clerk's Office remits money to the state.

Before taking the job, which does not include any benefits, Cohen got a letter from the Florida Commission on Ethics saying that he could work for the Clerk's Office while serving on the City Council.

Cohen also provided the Times with a Florida attorney general's opinion from March saying that an elected official could work for another local agency as long as the second job entailed carrying out duties assigned by the agency. The attorney general's opinion dealt with a Clay County deputy clerk of court serving as an elected county commissioner.

Cohen, who represents South Tampa on the council, is not the first City Council member to hold a public sector job while in elective office. Chairman Charlie Miranda has long served as a state steward, a state official who regulates various aspects of thoroughbred horse racing, at Tampa Bay Downs.

Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen taking part-time job with clerk of court 05/27/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 27, 2011 11:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gov. Rick Scott could soon be the all-time king of line-item veto


    2016: $256,144,027

    2015: $461,387,164

    2014: $68,850,121

    2013: $367,950,394

    2012: $142,752,177

    2011: $615,347,550

    Only once has Scott used the line-item veto sparingly. That was in 2014, the year he ran for re-election, when he removed a paltry $69 million from the budget.

    Gov. Rick Scott waves a veto pen at The Villages in 2011.
  2. Rays morning after: An up-and down day for Jose De Leon


    Rays RHP Jose De Leon had a busy Monday - getting called up to join the Rays for the first time and making his way from Pawtucket, R.I., to Boston and the flying to Texas, working 2 2/3 eventful innings to get the W in the 10-8 victory over the Rangers, and then getting optioned back to Triple-A.

  3. Resignation of communications director Dubke could signal more changes within White House staff


    WASHINGTON — Mike Dubke has resigned as White House communications director, a senior administration official confirmed Tuesday, in the first of what could be a series of changes to President Trump's senior staff amid the growing Russia scandal.

    President Donald Trump speaks at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 29, 2017, during a Memorial Day ceremony. [Associated Press]
  4. Trump pays somber tribute to fallen troops on Memorial Day


    ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald Trump expressed the nation's "boundless" gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice paid by Americans defending the United States, dedicating his first Memorial Day address as commander in chief to a top Cabinet secretary and two other families who lost loved ones.

    Brittany Jacobs, left, watches as her 6-year-old son Christian Jacobs meets President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Arlington, Va. Jacobs father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, was killed in 2011. [Associated Press]
  5. Florida education news: Budgets, discipline, charter schools and more


    BUDGETING: Florida school district officials keep a close eye on their spending plans as they await word on the Legislature's budget. Gov. Rick Scott