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Hillsborough commission lauds administrator Bonnie Wise

The county administrator gets a three-year contract extension.
Bonnie Wise, Hillsborough County deputy administrator and chief financial administrator.
Bonnie Wise, Hillsborough County deputy administrator and chief financial administrator. [ Hillsborough County ]
Published Jun. 25, 2021

TAMPA — The sentiment from Hillsborough County commissioners is unanimous — they like the job performance of County Administrator Bonnie Wise.

Wise, on the job for a year, received superlative scores and public comments from commissioners last week during her first performance evaluation as county administrator.

“I just think you’re awesome,” said Commissioner Kimberly Overman.

So do others, apparently.

Commissioners ranked Wise on a scale of 1 (unsatisfactory) to 5 (exceptional) in 10 categories. She received an overall score of 4.9 out of 5 on six performance criteria including across-the-board scores of 5 for leadership, decision-making and financial management. On performance objective goals, including delivery of core services and connection to the community, commissioners gave Wise an average score of 4.8.

Commissioner Harry Cohen, who, along with Commissioner Gwen Myers, was not on the board when it hired Wise, highlighted the top score on fiscal management. He said it should send a strong signal to lenders.

“That should send a message that we are stable and that we handle our finances in a very responsible way. And that translates into real savings for our taxpayers. The cruelest tax of all is an interest payment that is higher than it needs to be.

“It’s more than just a positive evaluation. It’s something that really does translate into, I think, real dollars for the county,” Cohen said.

Commissioner Mariella Smith, who voted against promoting Wise from assistant county administrator last year, also lauded her performance, calling her a “straight shooter with no hidden agenda.”

The commission said it would increase Wise’s salary by 4 percent and it extended her contract through Dec. 31, 2025. Wise was hired last year under a two-year contract paying her an annual base salary of $277,000, plus 5.4 percent, or just less than $15,000, in deferred compensation, a car allowance, and other benefits.

Wise told commissioners “it truly has been a privilege and an honor to serve the past year.”

She also thanked the county’s 5,000 employees, “who wake up every morning to serve our citizens”