Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough County commissioners vote to cut their car allowances in solidarity with employees facing a budget squeeze

TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners will have a little less gas money after a vote Thursday.

In an effort to show they are feeling the pain of county employees facing layoffs and pay cuts, commissioners voted 5-0, with two members absent, to cut their own car allowances by more than half.

What was once a $540 monthly car perk will fall to $233.

"I would just like to set the tone early," said Commissioner Kevin Beckner, who made the surprise proposal during a budget workshop Thursday. "I think we need to place ourselves first in front of the pay cut line."

In April, Beckner suggested commissioners take a 10 percent pay cut as a symbolic gesture in trying times. The rest of the board would agree to accept only whatever wage cuts county employees face next year.

County Administrator Pat Bean proposed in her budget released earlier this week that employees take five unpaid furlough days. As part of her cost-cutting plan, she also seeks to cut the county match of employee retirement savings plans by 1.5 percent.

That's a 3.4 percent hit for the rank and file, which would have extended to commissioners.

Beckner's proposal will pre-empt that.

He suggested commissioners go a little further Thursday by agreeing to cut their own compensation package by 4 percent. He didn't warn the other commissioners, two of whom, Jim Norman and Mark Sharpe, were absent.

Rather than cut their own roughly $92,000 annual salaries, Beckner convinced commissioners to take a commensurate amount from their car allowances. That avoids the need to change a county ordinance and the public hearing necessary for altering their salaries.

This was tidier and immediate, Beckner reasoned.

Commissioners Kevin White and Chairman Ken Hagan initially moved to delay a decision for a future meeting when their absent colleagues would be present.

"At a minimum, I think that's a common courtesy," Hagan said.

They relented with some clarification of the proposal by Beckner and once it was clear from board members' comments that there were enough votes to pass it.

Bill Varian can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3387.

Hillsborough County commissioners vote to cut their car allowances in solidarity with employees facing a budget squeeze 06/04/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 4, 2009 11:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  2. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy


    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  4. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)


    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  5. Chemical industry insider now shapes EPA policy


    WASHINGTON — For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

    This is the Dow chemical plant near Freeport, Texas. Before the 2016 election, Dow had been in talks with the EPA to phase out the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is blamed for disabilities in children. Dow is no longer willing to compromise.