CLEARWATER - Pinellas County commissioners voted this afternoon to fire County Administrator Bob LaSala.
The board was scheduled to discuss LaSala's position in the wake of annual evaluations by commissioners. Instead, Commission Chairwoman Karen Seel called for a motion to terminate LaSala without cause and for no discussion on his performance. The vote to fire LaSala was unanimous.
“I want to thank Bob for his help in leading Pinellas County,” Welch said. “I do think this is the appropriate step moving forward.”
Because he was fired without cause, LaSala will receive six months of severance pay and benefits, which would add up to about $120,000 in salary and car allowance. He also has accrued roughly $40,250 in unused sick and vacation leave, according to the county's human resources department.
LaSala was hired in 2008. He has worked in local government for 35 years, primarily in Florida and California, and served as chief assistant county administrator in Pinellas for 10 years
Commissioners recently have expressed frustration with the county's handling of several issues, including a staffing crisis in the veteran's services offices and clashes with other cities and fire districts over attempts to lower costs for 911 medical emergencies.
“It is with mixed emotions I leave my position as Pinellas County administrator,” LaSala said. “It has been an honor to serve this community.”
He led the county through the recession when it lost tens of millions of dollars in property tax revenue and was forced to lay off hundreds of employees.
“I am particularly gratified to leave Pinellas County in far better economic position than when I arrived,” he said.