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Bradenton engineer to run St. Pete’s public works

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Claude Tankersley will replace former St. Petersburg Public Works Administrator Mike Connors. Tankersley comes to the city from Bradenton where he worked in a similar capacity as Public Works director.

He’ll begin mid-February and take over for Tom Gibson who has been interim head of public works since Connor’s departure in late August.

“I am incredibly pleased to have Claude join our team in the Sunshine City and provide our Public Works Administration with new leadership and direction,” Mayor Rick Kriseman said. “Claude is an experienced, accomplished professional with an appreciation for community engagement. His relationships across our region and state will be an asset to our citizens and the City of St. Petersburg.”

Tankersley began working with Bradenton in 2008. The year prior he earned the city’s Leadership Award. Tankersley has been a Florida Certified Professional Engineer since 1995 and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was named the Young Engineer of the Year in 1996.

Tankersley earned his Master’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida in 1991.

“I am very excited to join Mayor Rick Kriseman’s City of St. Petersburg team. As a lifelong Florida resident, I am passionate about building partnerships supportive of our people, our visitors and our environment,” Tankersley said. “I look forward to working with our neighborhoods, businesses and cultural communities to keep the ‘Public’ in Public Works.”

Tankersley will earn $149,000 a year in his new capacity. According to a database of 2014-2015 fiscal year salaries, Tankersley earned just under $120,000 annually working for  Bradenton.

Tankersley arrives to the position after inauspicious circumstances dogged his predecessor. Connors resigned abruptly in late summer after raw sewage was dumped into environmentally sensitive Clam Bayou, Tampa Bay, and the Eckerd College campus.

Prior to that, Connors already was being scrutinized for his work despite nearly three decades of service. The scrutiny followed a contentious selection process for a new Pier design where the most popular design chosen by survey was dismissed by the committee Connors led.

Connors’ salary was just over $140,000 annually.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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