By Tamas Mondovics

Just a little more than two months ago, Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill sent a memorandum to the Board of County Commission (BOCC) detailing the out workings of organizational changes that he said were needed in county government to ensure its mission while serving residents.

“After much deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that organizational changes are needed to ensure that we can more effectively assure our taxpayers that they are receiving the best return on their investment, and that all residents receive excellent customer service,” Merrill wrote to the BOCC.

Merrill added that he believes restructuring the organization, which serves more than 1.3 million people countywide, to smaller business units will ensure success. Since the process began, appointments have been ongoing all of which started with the hiring of Greg Horwedel, city manager in Plant City, as the new deputy county administrator. Earning an annual salary of $180,000, Horwedel, 52, will run day-to-day operations overseeing 5,000 employees.

“I am thrilled that he has agreed to join our organization and help lead us to even greater successes,” Merrill said.

Merrill has also appointed four assistant county administrators. He has also appointmented the county’s current Attorney for Land Use Law Adam Gormly as Director of Hillsborough County Development Services.

Gormly is known by many Valrico and Bloomingdale residents after his appearance during a public meeting led by County Commissioner Al Higginbotham in connection with the now infamous Bloomingdale Big Box development.

Gormly’s appointment will be effective Monday, May 19.

According to County Spokesperson Andrea Roshaven, a series of informal ‘meet and greet’ sessions will be held in several areas of the county for community residents and interested persons to meet Gormly and his development services leadership team.

“The schedule for these meetings will be finalized after he assumes his new responsibilities, but will occur in the next few months,” Roshaven said.

Merrill also focused his attention on communication and announced the hiring of Liana Lopez for the new position of Chief Communications Administrator. Most recently Lopez has served as Director of Communications for Visit Tampa Bay.

Following confirmation by the Board of County Commissioners, Lopez will begin Wednesday, May 21 in her new role and will report directly to the county administrator with a salary of $165,000.

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