More reason for Tampa City Council’s Orlando Gudes to resign | Editorial
Also among this week’s highs and lows: Pasco works on school start times, a hat tip to a Buc player, and Tampa adds some sanity to its contract rules.
Tampa City Council member Orlando Gudes is seen during a council meeting in March.
Tampa City Council member Orlando Gudes is seen during a council meeting in March. [ ARIELLE BADER | Special to the Times ]
This article represents the opinion of the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board.
Published May 21, 2022

Time to go. Let’s say this again: Tampa City Council member Orlando Gudes should resign. We said that back in March, and it remains a solid call given a lawsuit filed this week by his former aide, who accuses him of harassment and creating a hostile work environment. The lawsuit repeats many of the disturbing findings of an independent review commissioned by the city and performed by the Trenam Law firm. The city of Tampa already agreed to pay the aide $200,000, and Mayor Jane Castor apologized to the aide for Gudes’ “outrageous acts and misdeeds.” Gudes is too compromised to keep representing his constituents. If he doesn’t resign and decides to run again in next year’s elections, voters should oust him.

Starting earlier. Good for the Pasco County school district for scaling back the number of schools that begin at 10:10 a.m., an unpopular and disruptive start time for many families. About two dozen schools shifted to the 10:10 a.m. start time in January, as the district grappled with a shortage of bus drivers and chronically late buses. But as one School Board member said, “10:10 a.m. is brutal.” Starting in the fall, only six elementary and four alternative schools will start at 10:10 a.m. Now if only our local school districts could figure out ways to allow more high schoolers to sleep in a little longer, which nearly all the research says would be beneficial.

Better late than ... The Castor administration in Tampa has proposed that any future projects that increase by more than twice the original estimate come back to City Council as a new contract. The move comes a few months after the controversy surrounding the City Hall annex project in East Tampa that ballooned nearly 11-fold in cost, from $10 million to $108 million. Mayor Jane Castor has defended the increase and declined to rebid the massive municipal complex. A spokesperson for Castor did not directly answer the Times’ question about whether the move was an admission that the bidding process on the municipal complex was flawed, which it obviously was. Instead, the spokesperson said in part, “We listened to concerns raised by community members about the current law that governs procurement.” The annex project should have been rebid, but at least the new rule could help prevent a repeat of what happened.

Head smart. A hat tip to Bucs left guard Ali Marpet. He was a good player who retired earlier this year at the age of 28. He had just earned his first Pro Bowl selection, an acknowledgment that he was one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL in 2021. He had nearly $21 million and two years left on his contract. But he described this week the health concerns that led to his hanging up his pads. He suffered a concussion in 2020 and repeated sub-concussive blows. Plus he battled sleep apnea and hypertension as he fought to maintain the 300 pounds needed to play his position in the NFL. Marpet was fun to watch on the field, but it sounds like he made the best decision. Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Marpet.

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Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, Sherri Day, Sebastian Dortch, John Hill, Jim Verhulst and Chairman Paul Tash. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news.