Update: Head of Tampa Jobs Resigns

11:34 PM, Feb 15, 2010   |    comments
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Update: On Monday the head of the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance, Renee Gilmore, resigned.

Board member and Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe said, "I know it was a hard decision for her and even some of the board members. But at the same time I think it was the right decision to be made."

Original Story:

Tampa, Florida - Thursday, the state Workforce Florida Board of Directors unanimously voted to call for Gilmore's suspension without pay pending the outcome of a state investigation into her questionable spending, according to Florida's workforce leaders.

The Tampa jobs agency used tax money that was supposed to help unemployed people and bought $133,000 of food and beverages for its employees over a 13-month period.

Some of the purchases included a dozen gourmet cupcakes for $50, a $9 slice of cheesecake, and hiring a disc jockey to entertain employees during an $8,000 meal.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe pushed for Gilmore to resign. He says the purchases are unreasonable and have angered a lot of people.

"Outrage by myself, outrage I think you've heard from the board of County Commissioners in Hillsborough County and outrage in particular from the citizens. If you read the e-mails, if you go out and speak to the public, there's not a day that passes that the citizens themselves don't express outrage."

Workforce Florida President and CEO Chris Hart says state workforce leaders are also considering decertifying the local board overseeing the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance.

"Outrage could be one word that's used. A lack of managerial discretion and oversight could be another one."

The Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance must pay back at least $24,000 in questionable spending. Another $81,000 is under review.

As a result of this case, the state has banned all 24 regional workforce centers in Florida from spending any more cash on food or beverages.

Plus, state lawmakers are drafting legislation detailing exactly how workforce agencies can spend their tax money.

Dave Heller & Tammie Fields, 10 Connects

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