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The city wants to develop more entertaining and educational events such as Country in the Park by cooperating with other groups.
By ANNE LINDBERG
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 11, 2001
PINELLAS PARK -- When city officials went looking for a new person to plan entertainment for residents, they found a familiar face: Tim Caddell, former executive director of Girls Inc.
"This was just an ideal fit for me and for the city," Caddell said. "I get to do some fun stuff now with a little less stress than I had in my previous life. . . . It's not less stress, it's different stress."
Caddell, 50, began his job as Pinellas Park's public events director Monday. Although the title is new, the job is the same as that held by Melanie Hasburgh, who left it late last year over a salary dispute.
Like Hasburgh, Caddell will write press releases, oversee the production of governmental newsletters, calendars and the television channel. A special focus, though, will be planning events, such as the popular Country in the Park.
It's part of a new city emphasis on creating more fun, entertaining and educational activities, said Barbara Ponce, head of the Community Activities department.
"We want to have a lot more events," Ponce said. "I look at that as part of Tim's position. Also getting out the word about what we do. We do a lot of good things."
The move toward more city-sponsored activities began in 1999, when the City Council approved merging the library and recreation departments into a department devoted to leisure services. Since that time, officials have also directed more money into construction projects -- the England Brothers Bandshell, a large gathering room in the revamped library, a recreation center at Broderick Park -- that can be used for such activities.
One goal, Ponce said, is to create partnerships with other groups in the community to provide this entertainment. Caddell's contacts in the area could make that job easier, she said.
"Tim's creative. He's got a lot of contacts. He's worked in the city for so long, I just feel like it's a perfect match," Ponce said. "(He has) a lot of residual good will. . . . I've never heard anybody say a bad word about him."
She added, "I can trust him to start now. He's already productive."
Caddell agreed that his first week with Park celebration, the annual volunteer banquet and the coming library opening.
"I'm really kind of wading in," Caddell said. "There's plenty of things to do."
As public events director, Caddell will earn about $34,400 a year. That's less than Hasburgh's $40,200 annual salary. It's also substantially less than the $63,000 salary Caddell was earning after 16 years as executive director of Girls Inc. before he retired last year.
But it's not about money, he said. It's more about changing focus. The only way to do that, he said, was to start lower on the pay scale.
"It was time to go and it was time to do something different," Caddell said. "The big difference is I get to do the fun stuff but I'm not responsible for raising the money to pay everybody's salary."