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City employee turnover takes a nosedive
PINELLAS PARK – Employee turnover, once among the highest in Pinellas County, has dropped to below 5 percent thanks to higher pay and better benefits.

“We expected a 10 percent turnover rate,” City Manager Michael B. Gustafson said. “The rate so far for 2004-05 shows a decline we didn’t expect.”

The rate was at 7.5 percent during 2003-04.

“It just goes to show that Pinellas Park is a great place to work,” Gustafson said.

Labor contracts representing increased pay and benefits have been negotiated with employee unions.

“Most health care insurance rates have not increased for a second year,” Gustafson said. “The market trend is a 12 percent increase. Our EPO plan remains the same while HMO went up less than 3 percent.”

Gustafson said control of health costs represents a saving for not only the city, but to employees as well. He cited the Wellness Program, employee education and innovative health care practices as some of the reasons why health costs are flat. Workers’ Compensation rates decreased by $115,000 due to an active return to work policy for employees injured on the job. A Drug Free Workplace program also was implemented.

Officer injured by angry motorist
PINELLAS PARK – A city police officer was slightly injured when an angry motorist slammed a car door on his arm and fled. Officer John McNeal stopped a car in the 6900 block of 44th Street about 4:20 p.m. The motorist said he did not have his drivers license with him. When the suspect became angry, McNeal tried to subdue him with a Taser, but the man slammed the car door and took off. The suspect is described as a young Black male, 185 pounds, 6’3” with a goatee and dreadlocks.

Operation PAR looking ahead to Christmas
PINELLAS PARK – Operation PAR is seeking toy and monetary donations for its annual Christmas party.

More than 200 adults receive residential treatment at the facility, including mothers who live there with children. PAR’s Adolescent Residential Center also houses 30 teenagers while the Outpatient, Intervention and Prevention Program assists 200 others.

Unwrapped toys, other gifts and donations can be sent or left at PAR’s office located at 6655 66th St. N., Pinellas Park, FL 33781.

Local dealership named ‘outstanding’
PINELLAS PARK – L&J Auto Services at 5790 Park Blvd. has been named “Outstanding Dealership” by Budget Magazine. Specifically cited were Frank Ennis and his staff for providing “personal attention and treating every customer like a welcomed guest.” L&J rents Budget trucks to individuals and businesses.
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