After making inferences that Hillsborough Clerk of the Circuit Courts Pat Frank hasn’t been showing up for years to put in full days of work, the Kevin Beckner campaign on Thursday sent out Excel spreadsheets to reporters, documenting when she checked in and out of office with her key card in the downtown Tampa office.
According to the Beckner campaign, the information shows that in 2013 and 2015, Frank showed up at the downtown office for the equivalent of 120 days a year, putting in an average of 4-5 hours per day. In 2014, the information says she put in just 108 days in the downtown office.
Frank, however, downplays that data, and says her work schedule can’t be quantified by such data.
“If you’re using as a basis when I come in to screen in myself through an elevator? There’s all sorts of places I could be working, that’s not the reflection of what the job is about,” she said. “It’s what have we done in the office?”
Tom Scherberger, Director of Communications for the Clerk’s office, also notes that Frank sometimes does not park in the garage where she would insert her key card, referring to a parking space reserved for the clerk on Morgan Street outside the County Center. “This is the 21st Century,” he notes. “She has an office at home.”
Scherberger also states that the public information records received by the Beckner campaign only show when Frank swiped her key card to get into the parking garage and when she entered the elevator to go to her downtown office. He says it does not reveal how many hours she actually she worked on any specific days.
Frank’s Clerk of the Courts office issued a statement on Thursday announcing that the office had won the ACE Award (Advanced Commitment to Excellence) from the Florida Government Finance Officers Association (FGFOA). The award recognized new procedures that created electronic storage and signatures of County Commission documents and online access of those documents for the public. Earlier this year Frank’s office won the Florida Excellence Best Practices Award, presented in April for a major restructuring that improved customer service, increased efficiency and enhanced communication.
Beckner wasn’t available for comment on Thursday, but his campaign manager, Nick Janovsky, blasted the incumbent.
“Pat Frank’s public calendar that she maintains in the Clerk’s office, in conjunction with her swipe cards to actually access the clerk’s office, proves without a shred of a doubt, she doesn’t work, she works less than 30 hours (a week), and she worked less than 130 calendar days all of last year. Taxpayers in Hillsborough County deserve somebody who makes $157,000 to actually show up and do a good job, and to work,” he said.
This isn’t the first time that such accusations have been made against the 86-year-old Frank, now running for her fourth four-year term in the office that she was initially elected to in 2004.
At at Tiger Bay Forum in Tampa in April, Frank was asked about her attendance record, and said that her office has 10 separate locations. “I’m out and around them if I’m not in the main office,” while adding that she hadn’t had a vacation since Christmas of 2014.
Frank also noted at that event that there had been public records requests made to learn more about her attendance record.
In March of 2012, WTSP-10 News reporter Mike Deeson reported that Frank had not worked in her office for nearly six months following heart surgery.
Beckner, 45, has upset some Hillsborough Democrats for having the temerity to run against a fellow Democrat in Frank, who has served in public office in Hillsborough for over four decades. The two got into a much publicized dispute over a year ago about whether Frank had encouraged Beckner to get into the race or not.
Frank repeated on Thursday that she has offices all over the county she works at, and asked how should the public measure what the type of performance she’s doing. “If I take a phone call at home, does that mean I’m not working? Does it not mean I’m on a computer somewhere? Does it not mean I’m not working in another office?”
Frank criticized Beckner for making an issue out of her attendance. “I think he has to run a negative campaign to win, and I’m not going to engage in every single thing that he says to try to defend myself. I know that I’ve been working. I know that I work hard. There are things that happen, but that’s an exception, and I’m on the job all the time.”