Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mitch Perry Report 7.16.14: Mark Woodard a shoo-in to be next Pinellas administrator?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 8:53 AM

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Memo to the approximately three dozen or so applicants for the Pinellas County Administrator's position — the odds that you may get that gig have dropped precipitously over the past 24 hours if your name isn't Mark Woodard.

Woodard is the longtime assistant county administrator who has been running the county government in an interim position since the Board of County Commissioners sacked Bob LaSala back in April. His calm style — a noted contrast to LaSala's more intense approach — seems to have won over nearly the entire board.

Commissioner Susan Latvala declared yesterday she was ready to end the search and name Woodard the man right then and there. "I am so impressed by the job Mark Woodard is doing," she exclaimed.

Commissioner Ken Welch politely told Latvala to hold her jets a bit, saying that while Woodard is his top choice, competition is a good thing, and the process should continue to play out. 

Commissioner Janet Long said hiring Woodard would provide a sense of stability to the county government, and said that allowing the process to continue could lead to a "sticky situation."

But the board made no decision and will wait until the end of this month before paring down the candidates. But really, it appears moving forward that Woodard's got it.

In other news…

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was in Los Angeles yesterday, where he participated in a Politico Magazine panel discussion about some of the things being done in cities like, well Tampa.

Jeff Brandes is going to raise a lot more money than Judithanne McLauchlan in the Senate District 22 race that encompasses both Pinellas and South Tampa. But the USFSP political science professor is going to give him a fight, as she showed yesterday by immediately bashing Brandes after he broadcast his first TV ad of the campaign. 

In my reporting for last week's story about Uber and Lyft disrupting the taxi cab industry in Tampa Bay, I spoke with one cab driver in Tampa who had some interesting things to say about Hillsborough County's Public Transportation Commission compared with what how regulations work in Pinellas County.

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