tampabay.com

The job she loses may be her own

The county administrator is asked to tell the public about the elected county mayor proposal.

By Times Staff Writer
Published March 16, 2006


TAMPA - Hillsborough commissioners put the woman who stands to lose the most in charge of responding to questions about a proposal to create a county mayor.

Commissioners voted 5-1 Wednesday to put County Administrator Pat Bean in charge of providing information to citizens and civic groups about the proposal. Her appointed position would be replaced by an elected county mayor if voters approve the idea.

The group Taking Back Hillsborough County Political Committee is trying to have the proposal placed on the ballot.

What sort of information Bean will provide is not clear. Commissioners also directed her and County Attorney Renee Lee to provide an analysis of the proposal once county Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson has received the suggested ballot language on Tuesday. That analysis is part of what would be shared with voters.

Commissioners have not taken a position on the county mayor proposal, though a majority of them have said they are opposed to it. They told Bean not to take a position either.

The county's charter, its constitution of sorts, forbids the administrator from participating in political activities beyond voting. But Lee has concluded the provision was primarily aimed at preventing her from campaigning for people or issues. By providing facts, not campaigning, Bean does not trigger the prohibition, Lee said.

Commissioner Kathy Castor voted against the measure, and Chairman Jim Norman was absent.