NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco's new tax collector Mike Fasano wasted little time in making changes at the agency, showing deputy tax collector Eileen Ferdinand the door the same day he started the job.
Within minutes of sitting down with Ferdinand Wednesday, Fasano thanked her for her service but said the tax collector's office was "moving in a different direction." Just like that, Ferdinand was headed to her Dade City office to pack her belongings. She received a three-month severance package.
"It was a shock," said Ferdinand, a former Port Richey councilwoman and mayor who worked at the tax collector's office 11 years. "He thanked me and said he would give me a letter of recommendation."
The 63-year-old said she isn't sure what to do next and can't say what prompted her dismissal. She doesn't have any medical benefits and figures she'll enroll in COBRA for coverage.
She had hoped to replace Mike Olson who died June 26 after 32 years at the agency handling tax bills, driver's licenses and auto tags. The job instead went to the longtime Republican legislator Fasano when Gov. Rick Scott appointed him Wednesday morning at New Port Richey City Hall.
Fasano named Bill Poulos as Ferdinand's replacement. He'll start on Monday.
Poulos, 36, holds an MBA and previously worked as an auditor for Hillsborough County and the state's Department of Insurance Regulation. He most recently worked as an auditor for AAA.
"He's certainly got the credentials and qualifications for the job," Fasano said.
Fasano resigned from the state House on Tuesday after being notified by Scott's office about the appointment. Fasano said he planned to make other changes at the tax collector's office, among them the creation of a customer service division in September to suggest ways to improve citizen interactions. He said he's considering Greg Giordano, his longtime senior legislative aide, for the job.
"It's all about customers relations and creating the best service for our customers, and that's what Greg is all about," he said.
Rich Shopes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6236.