New boss for county's top lawyer

The county attorney now will report to the elected commissioners.

By Times Staff Writer
Published November 3, 2004

It appears Hillsborough county's top government attorney will now report to elected county commissioners after Tuesday's elections.

It's an issue that may have came across as arcane to voters, but county commissioners say it's an important one. The county attorney previously reported directly to the Hillsborough County administrator.

But the administrator could only hire or fire the attorney with the "advice and consent" of the board of commissioners.

Some commissioners say that arrangement led to confusion over who the county attorney really reports to - the county administrator, or commissioners, or both. So they pressed to make the chain of command clearer by amending the county's charter - its constitution of sorts.

Most of the local governments in the state have their top attorney report to the elected board.

Opponents said the measure will weaken the charter, which was crafted to lessen the ability of commissioners to meddle in day-to-day operations.