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New St. Pete Public Works Administrator officially welcomed to the Sunshine City

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Claude Tankersley began his post as St. Pete’s public works administrator this month. During an unrelated workshop Thursday, City Council members officially welcomed him to the city.

“My motto is that it’s very important to keep the public in public works,” Tankersley said. “I like to make sure that I know our constituents as well as I can. When we have unfortunate crises, they’re more willing to help us find solutions.”

Tankersley’s statement is fitting considering the terms by which he enters the position. He arrives to the after inauspicious circumstances dogged his predecessor.

Mike Connors resigned abruptly in late summer after millions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage was dumped into Clam Bayou, Tampa Bay, and the Eckerd College campus.

Prior to that, Connors was already being scrutinized for his work despite nearly three decades of service. The scrutiny followed a contentious selection process for a new Pier design where the most popular design chosen by survey was dismissed by the committee Connors led.

Tankersley will earn $149,000 annually. Connors’ salary was $140,000.

Tankersley joins St. Pete from the City of Bradenton where he served in a similar capacity. He began working with Bradenton in 2008. The year prior he earned the city’s Leadership Award. Tankersley has been a Florida Certified Professional Engineer since 1995 and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was named the Young Engineer of the Year in 1996.

Tankersley earned his Master’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida in 1991.

Tankersley joins St. Pete’s leadership team in a swap of sorts with St. Pete Assistant Police Chief Melanie Bevan who left her longtime post with St. Pete to join the Bradenton Police Department as its chief.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email [email protected]

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