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Environmental boss' evaluation okayed
By MICHAEL VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
Published November 16, 2007
Rick Garrity, executive director of Hillsborough County's EPC has a lock on his $160,000 job.
[Chris Zuppa | Times]
TAMPA - Richard Garrity probably wasn't looking forward to his performance evaluation in July.
At the time, the boss of Hillsborough County's environmental agency was trying to preserve the county's $2-million wetlands program. He was fending off complaints from his bosses, the county commissioners who wanted to disband the program, that he wasn't providing leadership.
In the weeks that followed, however, Garrity helped shield commissioners from criticism leveled by residents and some former EPC employees, who charged that the commissioners were doing the bidding of developers at the expense of the environment in seeking to eliminate the wetlands program.
In August, Garrity came up with a compromise that preserved the program - while easing rules protecting wetlands - and spoke glowingly of the leadership that he said commissioners provided.
This chapter of their relationship wasn't mentioned Thursday when commissioners approved Garrity's evaluation, making him a lock to keep his $160,000 job.
Three commissioners, Rose Ferlita, Mark Sharpe and Kevin White gave Garrity a 4.59 overall mark in written evaluations. Five is the highest rank, with four being "excellent."
"Super work in challenging times!" wrote Sharpe.
Al Higgenbotham and the three commissioners who were crucial in pushing to eliminate the wetlands program - Brian Blair, Ken Hagan and Jim Norman - didn't contribute to Garrity's written evaluation or submit any comments.