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Cramped Pasco County Commission race yields more room

ELFERS — In an already crowded County Commission race, a fifth candidate, Matthew Matey, filed papers Tuesday to run for the southwestern Pasco District 3 now held by Ann Hilde­brand.

He's quick to say the six-term incumbent has served the county very well.

But Matey, a Republican, adds that he's opposed to "double-dipping," which is when retired pensioners return to public service jobs and end up collecting both a pension and a paycheck. Hildebrand was among hundreds of double dippers statewide recently identified by the St. Petersburg Times.

"For them to retire, wait a while and come back, that's not right," he said. "It's not right for taxpayers. It's not just Ann; it's others as well. It's not personal. But it is an issue."

Hildebrand collects a monthly retirement check of $2,778, plus an annual salary of $78,895. She collected $143,196 in deferred compensation when she "retired" in 2005.

Matey said he wants to bring fresh ideas to the commission.

He wants to bring more jobs to Pasco. He wants to promote green practices and recycling. He wants to attract more tourist dollars.

"Part of getting tourists back is by maybe giving a break on property taxes," he said. "A lot of people sold their second homes here because of property taxes and insurance."

It's the 53-year-old electrician's first crack at public office, but he claims a political pedigree by marriage.

His wife Danielle's maiden name is Baillie, a family that lent its name to Baillie's Bluff in Holiday and includes William J. Baillie Jr., a Pasco County commissioner for 12 years first elected in 1940.

William Baillie enjoyed a reputation for fairness, Matey said. He related an anecdote about Baillie refusing to pave his own street until others in his community got theirs paved first.

"That's the kind of commissioner I want to be," Matey said.

Matey has no criminal record apart from one incident of driving under the influence in 1992. He said he made the bad choice of deciding to drive home.

"I'm not blaming anyone but myself," he said.

A former U.S. Army captain stationed in Germany during the Cold War and a Pasco resident since 1994, Matey has two children, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.

Something about his time in Germany must have stayed with him.

Matey said his wife — who's sometimes identified as Danielle Posner from an earlier marriage — will be the "Bismarck" of his campaign, referring to the German chancellor of the late 19th century German Empire.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this story. Chuin-Wei Yap can be reached at cyap@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4613.

Cramped Pasco County Commission race yields more room 04/24/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 27, 2008 11:56am]
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