Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County Commissioner Neil Brickfield has yet to take board-approved pay cut

CLEARWATER — As hundreds of layoffs strafed the Pinellas County workforce last year, county commissioners voted to cut their own pay by 4 percent in a show of solidarity.

But Commissioner Neil Brickfield has not followed through with the voluntary cut. His reason: car trouble.

The first-term Republican voted for the reduction in May as part of a 6-1 majority. The decision reduced commissioners' $90,954 pay by $3,640 a year.

The board also voted to cut most of their individual assistants' pay by 4 percent, too.

That reduction included Brickfield's aide, Patrick Adamson, whose annual salary fell nearly $1,900 from $48,186 in 2009.

The commissioners' pay cuts had to be voluntary because their salaries are set by the Legislature. But nothing stops a county official from donating a portion of the salary back to the county or a charity as a voluntary measure.

Pinellas' other six commissioners began taking the cut by donating to the county or a charity between October and January, county and bank records show.

After the St. Petersburg Times asked to see records regarding the pay cuts, Brickfield said he planned to donate the value of the pay cut to charity before year's end. He said he might start with giving away a car he blamed for delaying his pay cut.

Brickfield, who informally opposed the cuts when they first came up at a county workshop, said he is underwater on the loan for his 2004 Cadillac DeVille. He said he owes $6,000 on it, but it's worth only $4,000 and has a faulty transmission.

Instead of fixing it, he decided to pay off the loan and buy a new car, forking over $3,000 for a 1991 Honda Accord with 122,000 miles.

"I wish my car didn't break. But it did. I wish I wasn't upside down on my car, but I am," said Brickfield, whose last financial disclosure report listed his net worth at $164,000.

"But correct me if I'm wrong, but we all agreed to do this by the end of the year."

Brickfield, 47, is a political consultant and former Safety Harbor commissioner who pledged to keep an eye on county spending.

"I think we need to work on having a government that we can afford, and I think we need a commissioner that will watch our spending, dollar by dollar," Brickfield told a crowd in a campaign event captured on YouTube.

County Attorney Jim Bennett, who endorsed the way in which commissioners decided to cut their pay, said nothing in the law or vote makes the cuts enforceable.

Commissioners Calvin Harris, John Morroni and Ken Welch opted to give their cuts to the county, paying $139 from each paycheck, payroll records show.

Welch started first in October, the start of the fiscal year, while Morroni and Harris began in January, the beginning of the tax year. Welch said giving money back to taxpayers was the "cleanest way" and the right thing to do. He didn't know Brickfield had not followed through.

"All I can control is my office. We just wanted to make sure we complied and did our part," Welch said. "I'm surprised we all didn't comply."

The others have given to non-profit groups.

Commissioners Susan Latvala ($3,550) and Karen Seel ($2,565) have made contributions to charities, providing itemized lists and bank records to the Times. Commissioner Nancy Bostock also provided bank records for $3,420 donations she has made.

Latvala, who voted against the cut because she had sought a deeper reduction, said she gave to charity because that was the initial option the commission discussed.

"We are giving back 4 percent of our salary in different ways — some to charity, some back to the county," Morroni told the public during a March budget meeting. "But we have — we have. We feel the pain."

David DeCamp can be reached at or (727) 893-8779.

Pinellas County Commissioner Neil Brickfield has yet to take board-approved pay cut 04/09/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 9, 2010 11:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Controversial landfill site could be rechristened as industrial recruiting land in Pasco

    Economic Development

    The east Pasco property of Angelo's Aggregate Materials, which failed to obtain a state environmental permit to be developed as a garbage landfill, is being studied as a potential 1,000-acre mega site for industrial recruitment.

  2. Joe Henderson: At son's wedding, memories of child-rearing build to a perfect moment


    On a secluded beach known as Hawksnest on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a bride-to-be named Heather McNeill hurried along a wooded path to meet the man she was about to marry.

    Heather McNeill married fellow Strawberry Crest High teacher Ben Henderson on a secluded beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands. "They wanted something totally theirs," says Ben's dad Joe Henderson. "I think they had their parents in mind, as well." [Courtesy of Henderson family]
  3. Forecast: Near record-high temperatures, minimal rain in store for Tampa Bay


    Tampa Bay residents can expect a significantly hot Wednesday — possibly record-breaking — and a small chance of pop up showers.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Marriott opening new hotel on Clearwater Beach


    CLEARWATER BEACH — A dual-branded Marriott hotel with a tongue-twister name is opening on Clearwater Beach in August. The Residence Inn Tampa Clearwater Beach and SpringHill Suites Tampa Clearwater Beach will have 255 suites total, connected by a lobby.

    A dual-branded Marriott hotel called the Residence Inn Tampa Clearwater Beach and SpringHill Suites Tampa Clearwater Beach will open in August in Clearwater Beach. Pictured is a rendering.
[Courtesy of Hayworth PR]