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Sheriff Jim Coats comes to Tiger Bay on Thursday

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

More than half of Pinellas County’s budget goes to support its 2,800-person Sheriff’s department.  But in a year of making do with less,  Sheriff Jim Coats has been asked to cut $30 million for 2010-2011.  Can it be done without a significant hit to public safety?  The sheriff steps into the Tiger’s Den to tell us where he is willing to tighten and what needs to stay.  As budget planning begins in earnest will he fight to be spared the full force of the budget ax as he has in past years?  Or are a smaller force and a more crowded jail inevitable?  Curious Tigers may also wish to ask whether there is any way to reduce significant future liabilities for pension benefits and retiree health benefits.  Coats has 38 years experience with the Pinellas Sheriff’s office and has been tapped several times by Florida governors to serve as interim sheriff in counties whose sheriff was removed.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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