TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners showed their appreciation today for their county attorney, Chip Fletcher, extending his contract by three years and bumping his salary 3.5 percent.
Fletcher, a former Tampa city attorney and environmental lawyer, was hired by the county in October 2012 at a salary of $205,000. His new salary of $212,175 will be retroactive to last October. That’s when most other county employees got a 3.5 percent pay increase.
The occasion for the contract extension was Fletcher’s evaluation. Commissioners gave him rave reviews.
“I think he’s done yeoman’s work for us and with the administration. ... He’s helped us solve a lot of problems,” said Commissioner Sandy Murman, who made the motion to extend Fletcher’s contract.
Commissioner Les Miller said his wife Gwen had worked with Fletcher when she was on the Tampa City Council and Fletcher was city attorney. When the opening came up in 2012, Gwen Miller strongly recommended Fletcher.
“She thought Chip walked on water and gave advice to God,” Miller said.
Commissioner Kevin Beckner asked who came up with the idea of making Fletcher’s new contract for three years. Murman said Fletcher had suggested that length in discussions with her.
Giving Fletcher three years is consistent with the contract extension for County Administrator Mike Merrill, which expires in December 2015, said Helene Marks, chief county communications administrator.
Beckner said he supported giving Fletcher an extension but worried about a long contract because of the trouble commissioners had when they wanted to fire former County Attorney Renee Lee and former County Administrator Pat Bean. The commission was forced to pay severance to Lee and Bean to get rid of them.
Commissioner Mark Sharpe waved off Beckner’s concerns.
“I’m never afraid of ending a contract,” Sharpe said. “My feeling has always been, I don’t care how much you have to pay, if you don’t have the right person, I’ll end it today.”