You Paid For It

You Paid For It investigation of temp worker salaries stirs up Pinellas County Commissioners

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) -- Pinellas County Administrator Mark Woodard says he is taking full responsibility for a temp worker system that has had little oversight and led to one county retiree making $88 an hour as a temp the day after he retired - much more than he earned as a full-time employee.

"I'm not blaming HR or anyone else for that. This is on me, this is on the county administrator because this is an action my staff took," Woodard said at Tuesday's Pinellas County Commission meeting.

8 On Your Side broke the story Monday before commissioners had a chance to see the results of a temp services report they requested in December. That troubled Commissioner Pat Gerard.

"Could we not get the same information since we asked for it before?" Gerard asked Woodard.

"It did not flow to my desk or come to my attention until last week," Woodard responded, saying the holidays delayed the communication. "I'll take full responsibility for that lack of information coming to the board."

Woodard explained there were pressing circumstances that led to the rehiring of construction manager Thomas Borawski at an inflated rate. But Woodard put an end to Borawski's temporary employment as soon as he found out after 8 On Your Side started asking questions last week.

"Ultimately, it was the wrong decision (by my staff) and I take full responsibility for that decision," Woodard said.

Commissioners said they expect Woodard to review policies and procedures and put safeguards in place when the county signs a contract with a new temp services vendor in the next few months.

"It does warrant a review of how we're using our temporary employees to leave and come back. Making a larger salary is not the way to approach business and we're going to review that," said Pinellas Commission Chairman Ken Welch.

That temp services review will also take a look at how long temp workers should remain on the payroll.

Mark Pistillo retired from the county in 2011 and started working as a temp the next day. He now earns $55 an hour as a construction manager.

"In some cases, they're here for five years and you're wondering 'Oh my gosh how does that make sense?'" said Commissioner Dave Eggers.

Woodard said Friday that Pistillo's position is under review.

The county's temp services contract with Randstad has ballooned from $1,978,284 in 2012 to $3,687,391 last year. Currently, there are 130 temp workers on the payroll. Pinellas is now negotiating with a different vendor for a new temp services contract that will start around March.

Until now there has been little control over who gets hired and for how much - those decisions were left to department heads. Those policies will likely change when the county hires a new vendor in the next several months.

"We should be looking at the salaries we pay for certain positions and making sure whatever we contract for isn't way above what we would pay for a position in the marketplace," said Commissioner Karen Seel.

"There may be some additional actions to come," Woodard told commissioners.

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