It is the difference between the executive and the legislative.
The former is about the buck stopping here. The latter is about forming a committee to explore when would be best to meet to address the problem.
It’s about management style.
With a political career that included time on St. Petersburg’s City Council and as a backbench member of the Florida Legislature, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman‘s background is mostly one of committees and workshops. There wasn’t a lot of management training along the way.
Kriseman’s lack of management skills are beginning to show.
On at least three of the biggest issues now confronting the City of St. Petersburg, Kriseman isn’t doing a very good job as a chief executive.
The city’s efforts to keep baseball in St. Petersburg are, what, stalled. That’s being generous. They seem to be non-existent. That’s not really Kriseman’s fault. The Rays want to play in Tampa, but there isn’t the money or the room for them.
Yet, when it was reported the Rays were interested in a site in St. Petersburg that fit many of its needs, City Hall gave the baseball team the political equivalent of a brushback pitch:
Rick Mussett, a former top city development administrator who is coordinating the “Baseball Forever” campaign, said the city didn’t want to discuss alternate sites, including Snug Harbor.
“Our position really hasn’t changed,” Mussett said. “We’re focused on the Trop site.”
What we should have heard from Kriseman’s spokesman Benjamin Kirby is, “We’re excited that the Rays have identified at least one site in St. Petersburg that meets their needs. We think there are several possible locations which also do that. We look forward to discussing all of them with the club soon.”
Instead, it was fastball, high and inside.
And that was more than a month ago.
Of course, it’s possible Kriseman, Kirby, and Chief of Staff Kevin King can’t focus on Snug Harbor because the problems on Tampa Bay are more pressing.
It was reported today that demolition of the old St. Petersburg Pier is SEVEN months behind schedule:
“(S)ome 300 feet of the old pier approach still remains jutting out of the water. There’s also a mountain of concrete debris left onsite.
“… Construction of the new Pier is still slated to start in early 2017. Yet that construction cannot begin without key permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, Pinellas County and the Southwest Florida Water Management, also known as Swiftmud.”
Does anyone really believe that he new $66 million St. Petersburg Pier will be completed by late 2018?
Not that anyone will soon want to be within breathing distance of the waters of Tampa Bay.
It was also reported today that 20 million gallons and counting of partially treated sewage have been dumped by the city:
“Additional rain over the weekend didn’t help the city’s overwhelmed sewer system recover. Designed to handle 56 million gallons per day, all three plants were at capacity late last week. Albert Whitted, on the city’s waterfront, is only used to store overflow capacity, not treat sewage.
“The city’s aging pipes allow water into the sanitary sewer system when the ground is saturated with rain water. And city officials have acknowledged that shuttering Albert Whitted in 2015, which removed 12.5 million gallons of capacity from the system, exacerbated the problem.
“Kriseman and the City Council have pledged about $58 million in sewer improvements over the next several fiscal years. Some work has already been done, but the city has struggled to find contractors to do the work.”
Many of these problems are complex, big-ticket items that almost any politician would struggle to deal with.
Especially if, deep down in your DNA, you’re just not cut out to be a chief executive.