Thursday, April 19, 2018
News Roundup

Zephyrhills council will accept city manager applications

ZEPHYRHILLS — The city council will conduct an official search for a new city manager, even though most members believe interim city manager Steve Spina will end up with the job.

Council members decided this week to form a three-member committee to evaluate candidates and make a recommendation.

The job advertisement will be published after the council votes on the wording at its July 28 meeting, when it will also confirm the committee members. The council agreed to invite Mayor Gene Whitfield, former mayor Cliff McDuffie and former longtime council member Clyde Bracknell to form the committee.

While most council members agreed that Spina is doing a good job and is likely to be the most qualified to step in permanently, council member Alan Knight said he has heard from a couple of people who are interested in applying for the position. Council president Charlie Proctor said he, too, has heard from potential candidates.

Knight said in fairness, the council should advertise the position and give qualified applicants a shot at the job.

"We've got to be careful about the precedents we set," he said.

The council is not legally obligated to conduct a search; the city charter gives the governing body authority to fill the city manager position as it sees fit.

Spina was city manager for 15 years before retiring in 2011. He was replaced by Jim Drumm, who resigned in May when a majority of council members indicated they would not vote to renew his contract. Spina has said he is interested in staying on as city manager again in a permanent capacity.

In other business, results of the annual citizen satisfaction survey indicate a slight majority of people who responded do not favor having property taxes increased to pay for a public swimming pool. At the same time, the top requested amenity is a public swimming pool.

University of South Florida public administration students Sea Marshall-Barley and Susan Obarski told council members that of the 1,200 surveys sent out, 340 were returned. Overall, respondents said they are satisfied with city government and the top three departments they are most happy with are sanitation, utility billing and street maintenance.

Comments
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Gilchrist County sheriff’s deputies were shot and killed at a restaurant about 3 p.m. Thursday.The deputies were at Ace China restaurant in downtown Trenton when a man shot them through the restaurant’s window, a Sheriff’s Office statement said.A...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

ST. PETERSBURG — Development of the city’s long-awaited pier advanced another step Thursday.The City Council approved a $15 million construction contract and additional money to design a waterside restaurant, build a playground and ferret out naming ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions.The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 at...
Updated: 1 hour ago
FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

ST. PETERSBURG — A distracted driver walked away unscathed after his car plunged 50 feet off Interstate 275, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Thomas Highhouse, 61, of Pinellas Park, was driving his 2016 Chevrolet Camaro south on Interstate 275...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

The Lightning's Victor Hedman is a finalist for the second consecutive year for the Norris Trophy, given to the top defenseman in the league. The other two finalists are Drew Doughty of the Kings and P.K. Subban of the Predators, it was announced Thu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

LARGO — Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who broke into a home early Thursday morning and confronted the owners with a knife.The incident took place about 3:40 a.m. at a townhouse at 7360 Ulmerton Road, according to Largo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

SEMINOLE — A Seminole man was arrested on allegations that he burglarized a home, set it on fire and stole the homeowner’s dog, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Austin Lang, 19, now faces numerous charges of burglary, arson and poss...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Deputies: 15-year-old threatened attack on River Ridge High School

Deputies: 15-year-old threatened attack on River Ridge High School

NEW PORT RICHEY—A 15-year-old student was arrested Wednesday on allegations that he threatened to stage a shooting attack on River Ridge High School, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.The student attended Schwettman Education Center, dep...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Deputies: 19-month-old child hospitalized after being found in pond

Deputies: 19-month-old child hospitalized after being found in pond

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 19-month-old child was taken to the hospital Thursday after being found in a pond, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies were called at 12:31 p.m. to the 4700 block of Crestknoll Drive.An adult was watching the c...
Updated: 2 hours ago