CLEARWATER — The first public job review of County Attorney Jewel White became a laudatory meeting that brought the chief lawyer a 3 percent pay raise.
The Pinellas County Attorney Oversight Committee, composed of the seven county commissioners and five constitutional officers, conducted its first review of White after appointing her to replace her former boss, Jim Bennett, who retired in May after three decades....
12/05/17 Local Government
CLEARWATER –– When most supervisors review an employee's performance, it's not usually in front of 12 bosses at a public meeting.
But that will occur Tuesday –– a first for Pinellas County government and its top attorney.
The county's 12 elected leaders will hold their first performance review of newly-appointed county attorney Jewel White at 9:30 a.m. inside the courthouse....
12/01/17 Local Government
CLEARWATER –– Assistant Pinellas County administrator John Bennett left his position Thursday to return to his passion: law enforcement.
Bennett, who oversaw emergency management, accepted a position NC4, a California-based firm that provides such services as cyber threat intelligence, emergency management and risk management for law enforcement agencies and Fortune 500 companies....
Pinellas County residents do not have to pay $16.5 million to a developer over a Safety Harbor apartment complex that commissioners rejected.
A ruling Wednesday from Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeal said the county does not owe the money to the Richman Group of Florida for damages and interest after county commissioners unanimously denied zoning changes to stop the project in 2013. ...
11/08/17 Local Government
With an estimated $2 billion coming in the next decade or so, county and city officials can now start planning to build bridges, fire stations and sewer upgrades.
But it's still too early to start cutting checks.
Officials will have to wait until 2020 to start spending the money collected from the next iteration of the Penny for Pinellas sales tax. On Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly approved –– 83 percent –– to extend the 1 percent sales tax between 2020 and 2030....
After county and city officials spent months touting the Penny for Pinellas sales tax, voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the program for another decade.
With all precincts reporting, about 83 percent of voters supported approving the 1-cent-per-dollar sales tax. More than 168,000 voters weighed in on the tax, with almost 139,000 voting for it.
"It's a great day for Pinellas County," commission chair Janet Long said about the landslide tax victory. "Clearly, the residents see the value in the Penny and the infrastructure it pays for."...
11/01/17 Local Government
TARPON SPRINGS — The embattled Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board may soon get a makeover and new oversight.
After months of debate, Pinellas lawmakers voted unanimously on Wednesday to support legislation in early 2018 that would give the County Commission control of the agency that is charged with protecting residents from shady building contractors but has itself come under scrutiny....
10/31/17 Local Government
It's reckoning day for the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.
Pinellas lawmakers will discuss the troubled agency's future when they meet on Wednesday in Tarpon Springs to discuss their priorities for the 2018 legislative session.
The 10 Pinellas County legislative delegation members agree that the licensing board needs improved accountability and transparency to better protect the public from unscrupulous contractors. The question is whether lawmakers will seek to keep it independent or fold it into Pinellas government like in Florida's other 66 counties....
10/30/17 Local Government
Pinellas County sheriff's deputy Tony DeAngelo spied the two roofers pulling metal panels from a trailer and slowly rolled by. He parked around the corner from the Redington Beach home and keyed in their license plate.
It took the 34-year deputy about a minute to find that the roofing company was licensed in Pinellas. So he drove off to continue his search.
This was no ordinary patrol....
10/27/17 Local Government
LARGO — The executive director resigned amid controversy. Two investigators were forced out after they were accused of wasting hundreds of hours of county time. And an inspector general report excoriated the agency's management for among other things being "unconcerned with ethics, which can have a trickle-down effect on employees."
For years, licensed contractors in Pinellas County have yearned for law enforcement to target unlicensed roofers, painters and others in the construction trades who perform shoddy work and swindle money from homeowners.
Deputies fulfilled that wish on Tuesday.
At 5 a.m., they began pounding on doors in a roundup of contractors accused of working without licences and workers' compensation insurance....
10/10/17 Local Government
LARGO –– A member of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board has denied allegations that he abused his position to push through a rule change that could have benefitted his own business.
10/04/17 Local Government
CLEARWATER — The Pinellas County Commission is trying to convince voters to renew the 1-cent Penny for Pinellas sales tax for another decade.
So this news comes at an inconvenient time: The commission recently decided to sell off a piece of land at a loss of $1.7 million — money that was raised by the penny sales tax.
09/29/17 Local Government
Pinellas commissioners and legislators have spent 10 months debating how to fix the dysfunctional Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board. But as the deadline to submit legislation to reform the independent agency approached Friday, County Attorney Jewel White dropped this bombshell:
Pinellas County may not have the legal authority to take over all the duties of the licensing board.
If that's the case, then the county could not take over the agency. The licensing board would remain independent, although with new accountability measures recommended by a grand jury....
09/28/17 Local Government
CLEARWATER –– It's easy to pass a $2.2 billion budget when rising property values bring in extra cash.
The Pinellas County Commission unanimously approved the 2017-18 budget this week with little discussion. The millage rate stayed the same, so commissioners said they were also to continue providing residents with "high-quality services" without increasing taxes.