1. News

St. Petersburg city attorney to retire

Published Apr. 18, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — After four decades of legal advocacy for his adopted hometown, City Attorney John Wolfe will step down this summer, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Friday.

The mayor has tapped Chief Assistant City Attorney Jacqueline Kovilaritch to replace him on Aug. 1, pending the approval of City Council.

Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Wolfe said he felt the time was right to retire as he approached his 72nd birthday and felt the office was in good hands with Kovilaritch.

Asked what he viewed as his biggest accomplishment, Wolfe quipped: "Lasting 40 years."

He said taking part in the transformation of the city, including the addition of the Tampa Bay Rays and laying the foundation for the downtown renaissance, would be career milestones.

Wolfe is widely credited with crafting the use agreement with the Rays that strongly protected the city's interests. The agreement is considered iron-clad, with new Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred recently saying as much.

Kovilaritch, 48, took the lead in the most recent negotiations with the team. She was promoted to chief assistant in December. She joined the city's legal staff in 2000 and has specialized in First Amendment law, ethics law, pension and public finance, according to the news release.

"Jackie is uniquely qualified to serve as city attorney," Kriseman said. "I am confident that her education, experience and temperament have prepared her well for this leadership position."

City Council will have to confirm her appointment.

Wolfe joined the city attorney's office in 1975. He became the city attorney in 2000. He came to Florida from Pittsburgh after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University and working for several years as a nuclear engineer.

He will take a 10 percent pay cut and stay on to help Kovilaritch in her transition, formally retiring in January 2016.

Currently, Wolfe makes $162,878 and Kovilaritch makes $151,700. It's unknown what Kovilaritch's new salary will be, said Ben Kirby, Kriseman's spokesman.

Contact Charlie Frago at or (727) 893-8459. Follow @CharlieFrago


  1. In this file photo, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is announcing arrests in a sting operation that targeted unlicensed contractors. [Times (2018)]
    Monday morning, Sheriff Chad Chronister will announce the results.
  2. Buccaneers fan Heather Chase, of Tampa, is surrounded by Saints fans during the first quarter of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, November 17, 2019, in Tampa. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The Bucs saw a larger crowd Sunday for their 34-17 loss to New Orleans Saints, but largely because of Saints fans.
  3. The man, 57, died at the scene.
  4. Hillsborough County deputies are seeking a man and woman suspected of using a stolen credit card. They are shown here in screenshots taken from surveillance video at a Walmart in Seffner, one of six stores where the credit card was used. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    Surveillance video shows two people leaving a Walmart in Seffner with a shopping cart full of merchandise.
  5. Sally Carlson of Seminole talks to her newly adopted 5-year-old miniature poodle held by Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center volunteer Mary Claire Streator. Potential owners browsed some of the 300 puppies that were put up for adoption Sunday in the gymnasium at All People's Life Center in Tampa. The designer-breed dogs had been rescued from Trish's All Breeds Pet Grooming in Tampa, where they were found sick and malnourished. Prospective owners were chosen out of thousands who applied during a lottery-type system and were able pick out a dog. LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The animals were found in deplorable conditions at a grooming business in September. Their new owners had 15 minutes to make a selection.
  6. People hug each other during a vigil Thursday after a 16-year-old student shot several classmates then himself in the quad area of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif. Another vigil is planned for Sunday evening. HANS GUTKNECHT  |  AP
    The two students were killed Thursday after a 16-year-old began shooting randomly at Saugus High School.
  7. Pasco County community news TMCCARTY80  |  Tara McCarty
    News and notes from Pasco County
  8. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
    That and other news from Hernando County
  9. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
  10. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The driver faces charges of driving under the influence and refusal to submit to testing.