Pat Frank appoints retired judge to transit tax oversight committee

Former Hillsborough Chief Judge Manuel “Manny” Menendez was named by Clerk of Courts Pat Frank to serve on a transit sales tax oversight committee.
Former Hillsborough Chief Judge Manuel “Manny” Menendez was named by Clerk of Courts Pat Frank to serve on a transit sales tax oversight committee.
Published November 19 2018

TAMPA  — Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court Pat Frank has named  former Hillsborough Chief Judge Manuel "Manny" Menendez to serve on the committee that will oversee the spending of a new $280 million  yearly sales tax for transportation.

Frank, who under the county charter approved by voters is required to pick one attorney to serve on the 13-member board, announced Menendez as her choice Monday afternoon.

"I am thrilled that retired Judge Menendez has agreed to be my representative on the transportation oversight committee," said Frank. "This new source of stable funding will bring transformational change to our community, but only if the money is spent wisely."

Menendez, a graduate of the University of Florida College of Law, served as an assistant U.S. attorney between 1979 and 1983. He was then appointed as a county judge and rose to the circuit bench one year later.

He was Hillsborough's chief judge between 2001 and 2014 and oversaw the court's transformation from paper to digital dockets.

He becomes the second person named to the oversight board following Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's selection of former state lawmaker Arthenia Joyner last week.

The positions are unpaid and last for a three-year term.

Their focus will be the 30-year penny on the dollar sales tax voters approved Nov. 6.

Under the charter, 54 percent of the tax goes to Hillsborough County, Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace, which must spend the money across several categories including congestion relief, safety, sidewalks and trails.

Most of the rest goes to the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit authority for expansion of buses and other transit.

The oversight committee is authorized to ensure that proposed spending plans meet that criteria with a straight up or down vote.

If two-thirds of the committee find that an agency is not following the charter, it can instruct the clerk of the court to withhold sales taxes.

Contact Christopher O'Donnell at [email protected] or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times

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