Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Les Miller's resignation from PTC a rebuke to Victor Crist

Posted By on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Les Miller
  • Les Miller
Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller has quit his appointed position on the Public Transportation Commission (PTC) board. The commissioner's resignation came on the same day that the troubled agency selected Kevin Jackson as the interim choice to replace Cesar Padilla as executive director. Padilla retired from the agency last month after reports surfaced that he had been moonlighting on county time to work in security at a used equipment auction.

Jackson heads the county's consumer protection division, and was referred by County Administrator Mike Merrill to PTC Chair Victor Crist immediately after Padilla's resignation became official.

Miller and Crist, who both served for years representing Hillsborough County in the state legislature in Tallahassee before being elected to the Board of County Commissioners in 2010, have had several arguments at PTC board meetings in recent months, often over rules of order.

But recently, Crist mentioned that he was considering appointing Miller to the task of finding a new PTC full-time executive director.

In an interview with CL 12 days ago, Crist said, "I believe in him (Miller) because he and I share the same vision for this organization. He’s been my biggest critic, but putting that aside, he shares the vision and I know what he’s capable of doing and he can run the search committee and get that job done and bring back quality candidates who we can choose from."

Crist said he wanted to delegate that assignment to somebody he trusts and respects because his main concern at the moment is turning the public perception around, "so that quality people will apply and not be afraid of it."

Although the PTC is being battered by various politicians these days, Miller is not one of them. Before the black-on-black crime summit held at Middleton High school last week, he passionately defended the PTC. Referencing the arrests of three Hillsborough County Commissioners in 1983, he said, "Did they talk about getting rid of county government? No. It's the same thing ... let us work on getting this thing together ... I think it can be done."

Commissioner Miller also told CL that he was open to the idea of leading the search for a new PTC executive director after being informed that Crist was considering selecting him.

"I would be up for it if I'm allowed to do what I need to do as chairman of the committee to get that done," Miller said at the time.

But that won't be happening now, obviously.

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