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County employees re-assigned to St. Petersburg College
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Former Health and Community Services Executive Director Gwendolyn Warren and former Pinellas County Administrator Bob LaSala answer commissioners’ questions about the Bayside Health Campus during a Feb. 25 meeting. It was the last meeting attended by Warren.
Two key Pinellas County employees will spend a few months at St. Petersburg College.

Former administrator Bob LaSala and Gwendolyn Warren, former executive director of Health and Community Services, have been relieved of their duties with county government and have new work assignments at SPC.

The county will continue to pay their salaries.

Commission Chair Karen Seel sent a letter to LaSala April 24, letting him know that he had been re-assigned as a “loaned executive” to SPC.

“This new assignment is effective immediately and shall run through your July 14, 2014 termination date,” Seel wrote. “President (William) Law will be utilizing your experience in the ongoing work of the college related to the economic and community development and within the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions.”

According to the letter, LaSala’s new work site in in Clearwater.

Commissioners voted unanimously April 15 to terminate LaSala. His contract calls for 90-day notice.

LaSala received unfavorable results during this annual review. Commissioners have been concerned about miscommunications with some of the county’s partners, especially those who provide fire and emergency services and health and community services.

Interim Administrator Mark Woodard sent a similar letter to Warren April 24 informing her that she had been re-assigned as a “loaned executive” to SPC. The assignment runs through June 30 – Warren’s retirement date.

“As this is a full-time assignment, your duties as executive director of Health and Community Services are now suspended and have been transferred to others,” Woodard wrote. “Please coordinate with Lynda Leedy to arrange for the removal of all personal property from your office Saturday, April 26 and on that day return all county property …”

Leedy, former deputy director of HCS, is now interim director.

Warren will assist SPC with its wellness program at an office on the Clearwater campus. Her first day on her new job was April 28.

Warren first ran into trouble with the commission during a revamp of the county Veteran’s Services. Recently, she has come under fire during talks about changes to the medical care program for the indigent population.

Seel sent a letter to county employees April 17 informing them of LaSala’s termination and Woodard’s appointment as interim administrator, pending approval of the commission at an April 22 work session, which was unanimous.

“I know that with change comes stress from the unknown, rumors due to miscommunication and the perception of chaos,” Seel told employees. “I know it has been difficult times, stressed by restructuring and entire department upheavals, bringing many changes in personnel. I want you to feel free to do your job and to continue to do it well without worry or stress. Through all of these challenges, you all have continued to set the standard for public service.”
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