Claude Tankersley began his post as St. Pete’s public works administrator this month. During an unrelated workshop Thursday, City Council members officially welcomed him to the city.
“My motto is that it’s very important to keep the public in public works,” Tankersley said. “I like to make sure that I know our constituents as well as I can. When we have unfortunate crises, they’re more willing to help us find solutions.”
Tankersley’s statement is fitting considering the terms by which he enters the position. He arrives to the after inauspicious circumstances dogged his predecessor.
Mike Connors resigned abruptly in late summer after millions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage was dumped into Clam Bayou, Tampa Bay, and the Eckerd College campus.
Prior to that, Connors was already 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.
Tankersley will earn $149,000 annually. Connors’ salary was $140,000.
Tankersley joins St. Pete from the City of Bradenton where he served in a similar capacity. He 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.
Tankersley joins St. Pete’s leadership team in a swap of sorts with St. Pete Assistant Police Chief Melanie Bevan who left her longtime post with St. Pete to join the Bradenton Police Department as its chief.