It was in February when Jodie Tillman with the Tampa Bay Times first reported on the Children's Board of Hillsborough County CEO Luanne Panacek had helped spread holy oil on the desks and doors of the Ybor City building. A bit unusual, sure. But who knew that it would lead to Panacek's ouster less than five months later?
But it has. And two weeks after a report blasted the direction of the taxpayer-funded agency, Panacek yesterday announced that she was quitting, or as the vernacular goes, stepping down after 15 years on the job.
Her short term replacement is former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, who tells the Times this morning that she expects the gig to last about six months. Over the past year Iorio has been rumored to be in line for a variety of jobs, and there are those who still throw her name out as being a possible Democrat to challenge Rick Scott for governor in 2014.
After seeing the former mayor speak in Brandon last month talking about compromise and leadership, it'd be stunning to see her shift gears and run for such a hugely demanding position as governor in two years. But who knows? If she can help clean up this agency, it could bolster her already extremely positive public reputation. Welcome back to the fray, Mrs. Iorio.
Meanwhile we learned yesterday that it's best that you not even attempt to drive in downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg the last week of August - also known as when the Republican National Convention hits the Bay area. Yes, the Bay area, and not just Tampa. We get closing down parts of town near Tropicana Field for the big welcoming party on the eve of the convention, but we're still awaiting information while other parts of downtown St. Pete will be shut down during a convention taking place over 20 miles away (link to come).
Speaking of Tampa and St. Pete, some of our top lawmakers representing both areas were together under one roof yesterday for a discussion about the upcoming report that will be written with the help of a consultant on the ramifications of a possible merger between the HART and PSTA transit agencies.
And speaking of the convention, the GOP is calling on anybody to help them write the party platform that the delegates will ultimately vote on in Tampa.
And Mitt Romney takes off for his big overseas trip tomorrow. The Obama re-election team says they're looking for to it..