Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Office of the Mayor – is it worth the money?

St. Petersburg, FL
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want to Blog
During last Thursday's St. Pete City Council meeting the Karl Nurse District 6 City Council member indicated that as part of the City Budget process he had asked Mayor Kriseman for a report on the accomplishments of the team of people hired to staff the "Office of the Mayor".

That would be Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, Chief of Staff Kevin King, and Communications Director Ben Kirby along with some support staff.

All of that adds up to about $900,000 in salary and benefits including the Mayor and Council member Nurse was looking for information on payback for the public's investment in this new layer of administration.

Council member Nurse indicated he was disappointed because there had been no report or even a response from the Mayor's office.

The office of Mayor was a creation of Rick Kriseman probably before he ever set foot in City Hall as the elected Mayor. King and Kirby are longtime political cronies of the Mayor and these jobs are simply high paid political crony appointments.

King has no credentials for the position he occupies; he is careful to make sure his fingerprints are on as little as possible. Kirby, a writer and Blogger, is at least qualified for the position he holds, problem is one floor down in City Hall is a fully staffed marketing department that should be doing the communications job.

The concept of a loyal office of the Mayor might have been a good idea if Kriseman had staffed it with some qualified, experience people instead of political sidekicks.

Tomalin is a bit different in that the objective was to get a successful African American as high up in the organization as possible. Think Don McRea.

In reality after nearly a year on the job Tomalin has very little to hang her hat on in the way of significant accomplishments. I suspect that is more Kriseman's fault than hers.

Nurse indicated he had hoped the report could showcase some of the accomplishments of the office of the Mayor.

The reason Nurse didn't get his report is because there is nothing to report.

The taxpayers are not really getting much for the money being spent on the Office of the Mayor other than some political maneuvering, some cute posts in the Mayor's e-mail blast and keeping the reelection team well fed.

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