Commission fires Pinellas County Administrator Robert LaSala - FOX 13 News

Commission fires Pinellas County Administrator Robert LaSala

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CLEARWATER (FOX 13) -

With very little discussion, Pinellas County Commissioners Tuesday afternoon terminated county administrator Robert LaSala "without cause."

That proviso entitles LaSala to three month's pay and unused vacation time, which totals roughly $110,000.

While there was little discussion at the meeting, LaSala recently received doubtful performance evaluations from most commissioners, and met the decision with a prepared farewell letter.

Minutes later, he spoke to a handful of reporters.

"Communities need different kinds of managers and administrative leaders at different stages of their evolution," LaSala said. "So it's time for somebody different to lead this organization."

He pointed out that his five and a half years running Pinellas government started in October 2008 -- literally the start of the Great Recession.

Handling that crisis involved steep budget cuts and staff reductions approaching 2,500 jobs. His advice for his successor: "The work of insuring the financial sustainability of this community isn't done, it's only been begun."

LaSala added that the 10-year forecasting he brought to the table allowed commissioners to see the long-term implications of decisions they make year-to-year.

LaSala is 64 years old, and said 42 years of public service is probably enough. He referred to a "five-point plan" for what he calls his "encore career."

He envisions consulting, training, teaching, travel and volunteer work. When it was pointed out those activities could be based anywhere, the former county administrator said he has not decided whether to move.

"This is a very fine place to live," he said.

Briefcase in hand, he departed the county building about an hour after being terminated.

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