A conversation with County Commissioner Neil Brickfield

By on March 16, 2012

Pinellas County Commissioner Neil Brickfield intends to help keep Pinellas moving forward as he runs for reelection of the District 1 seat. Brickfield explains that his primary goal is to continue working to make Pinellas County even better every day.

Throughout his work on the County Commission, Brickfield began speaking to me about his most recent involvement with recalibrating government for more efficiency and effectiveness. Brickfield said that the county has worked to combine things in ways that make sense such as combining parks with environmental land and public works with utilities.

Brickfield says, “It’s a part of the commission’s effort to establish a new way for the government to work for Pinellas to continue to thrive.”

It’s about the issues and solutions

Brickfield also commented on specific issues he would like to see addressed by the county and items where he might take a leadership role. “Public safety is number one,” said Brickfield. “Plus, we need to make sure that we continue to bring good jobs to Pinellas such as jobs in pharmaceutical and life science industries. Transportation improvements also are important. The county has made improvements already—some we can see now and others are on the way such as improvements to the Bayway Bridge and Keystone road.”

On transportation

Brickfield also said, “I’m looking forward to the implementation of new flex busses in Pinellas. Smaller busses that can be called on-demand. If you’re ready for a bus, you can call in to let them know, and they’ll pick you up with an estimated time of arrival.”

Brickfield also is credited for being instrumental in helping to improve bus service on Central Avenue from St Pete Beach to downtown. He also is enthusiastic about the upcoming bicycle program—that would be similar to the program Eckerd College launched years ago—where bicycles will be available around town gratis. Brickfield enjoys cycling, himself, recently completing a 29 ½ mile trek.

Watch spending dollar by dollar

Brickfield said too that spending is a top priority in all things the county undertakes. He is committed to “watch spending dollar by dollar.” Brickfield is credited for proposing a motion that received unanimous approval—to review the county’s budget department by department, page by page, line by line to ensure every detail in the budget is explained and approved or not. No longer will a $237,000 line be included for miscellaneous expenses. That expense needs to be explained so that anyone can read the budget and understand where that money went. That’s not to say that expenditure wasn’t important—it just required a better description so that it’s clear where those dollars are going.”

Changes to emergency medical transport services

Another potential change for the county may be within its emergency first responder services. Brickfield explained that the county is continuing to explore “fire-based medical transport.” The current medical transportation method involves a contracted agent, Sunstar. This new system would alleviate the need for Sunstar and would mean that the fire departments would arrive with comparable or better response time to a medical emergency with highly trained/certified paramedics and with equal or better outcomes overall for the same or reduced costs.

Commitment to community and leadership

When you talk to Brickfield about Pinellas County and his community, you immediately sense his passion for this place and his drive to help continue to make it better. “Everyone has an obligation to pitch in and make Pinellas County an even better place to live in than it already is. I’ve always been involved in public service. I’ve not only served for many years in an elected office, I’ve served on the PTA, been president of my Rotary Club chapter and volunteering on little leagues.”

For more information on Commissioner Brickfield, check back on his campaign website as his campaign begins to take shape.

Via Daphne Taylor Street, city and county correspondent. You may contact Daphne at dts.streetmedia@gmail.com.

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