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St. Pete Times editorial: Mayor Bill Foster’s errant pitch on sports

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Looks like the Times editorial board feels the same way I do about Bill Foster’s hiring of his campaign manager — and his poor choice of words defending the move.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster’s effort to attract more sports events sounds like a good idea. But he started off on a sour note by hiring his campaign manager to lead the effort and offering an intemperate defense.

“I don’t care if he’s my illegitimate son,” Foster said of former sports agent Jim Neader. “It doesn’t make a difference.”

That is one contorted response, particularly since Neader is considerably older than Foster. But the mayor’s lack of appreciation for public perception is a more serious question. He hires his campaign manager when there may have been better candidates. He agrees to pay him up to $50,000, which is conveniently below the amount City Council must approve and skirts city code requiring contracts worth $50,000 to be bid. Then his response to Times‘ reporter Michael Van Sickler when questioned about Neader’s hiring is awfully defensive.

Foster is reducing city jobs and cutting spending because of declining tax revenues. Hiring his campaign manager for an unadvertised job — no matter how worthy the effort — and reacting so dismissively to questions is a bit tone deaf.

And not very mayoral.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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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