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Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announces big City Hall reorganization

TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Thursday unveiled a wide-ranging reorganization of City Hall staff assigned to development review and neighborhoods.

The changes make Bob McDonaugh the city's new administrator for economic opportunity and give budget officer Dennis Rogero new responsibilities for neighborhood empowerment.

The goal is to create jobs by helping businesses grow and making City Hall easier to work with and more open to new development.

"What we're attempting to do is change the culture," Buckhorn said.

The city already is buying a $2.7 million software system to make permitting and licensing faster. It also is moving employees involved with various aspects of permitting out of other departments to the Construction Services Center to create a one-stop shop.

The changes announced Thursday should create a more streamlined and accountable organization, Buckhorn said.

"That positions us to be far more competitive, far more user friendly and far more efficient than we've ever been before," he said.

The reorganization is expected to save more than $425,000 a year through the consolidation of existing positions, several of which are currently unfilled.

It comes a week after Buckhorn's Economic Competitiveness Committee, a group made up of lawyers, builders, architects, engineers and developers, released a report on how Tampa can shake its image as a hard place to do business.

But this is something Buckhorn has talked about for more than a year. During his campaign for mayor, he promised to reorganize City Hall and create two new deputy mayors, one for economic opportunity and one for neighborhood empowerment.

None of the positions announced Thursday are being called deputy mayors, but Buckhorn said the economic opportunity administrator will have "the same powers, the same impact (and) the same influence" as what he promised.

The reorganization affects a half-dozen city employees, four of whom will go before the City Council for confirmation, as is required by the city charter for anyone being named a department head or to a job with equivalent or greater authority.

McDonaugh, now the city's acting administrator for economic development, will focus on attracting new businesses to Tampa, help grow entrepreneurship, and grow and retain existing businesses.

In that role, he will oversee all programs and divisions related to economic development and business regulation.

Specifically, that means McDonaugh will oversee planning and development, the city's community redevelopment areas and the Riverwalk. He will report directly to the mayor and will make $135,000 annually.

Reporting to McDonaugh will be Thom Snelling, who has been named director of planning and development.

Snelling will oversee the consolidated Construction Services Center, which will include planning and land-development coordination, as well as the divisions of housing, real estate and historic preservation and urban design. He will be paid $118,781 annually.

In addition to his duties as budget officer, Rogero will now oversee neighborhood services as the city's new budget and neighborhood empowerment director. His salary will be $115,000 a year, and he will continue to report to chief financial officer Sonya Little.

Reporting to Rogero will be Jake Slater, currently the code enforcement director, who will become neighborhood services director. In that new job, he will oversee code enforcement, business tax collection, community affairs, neighborhood and community relations, and the Clean City program. Slater will make $105,000 a year.

"I want the departments that touch the quality of life in neighborhoods to be working more closely together," Buckhorn said.

Richard Danielson can be reached at, (813) 226-3403 or @Danielson_Times on Twitter.