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City cuts 120 jobs, including our ‘Arts Czar’

The news is breaking in a lot of places this hour, but it appears the City has just axed about 120 jobs that had live bodies in them. I’ve read estimates up to 233 total jobs (the rest were currently vacant).

Confirmed by multiple sources though is that City of Tampa Creative Industries Manager Paul Wilborn was at the top of the list, as the only director of an area let go.

This is pretty upsetting on a lot of levels. Jobsite had a great friend in Mr. Wilborn. As a matter of fact, since 1998 when Jobsite first formed – Mr. Wilborn is the only city official who has done more than provide a minute amount of lip service to our company.

He facilitated meetings between us and Mayor Iorio. He, y’know, actually came to see shows. An opening weekend season ticket holder, we were always honored to have Paul and Eugenie come see us. Sometimes he’d bring friends, other times he’d send people back to see us later in the run. He even presented the letter from the Mayor on our opening night of the return of Kitefliers this past March.

Paul was always on the lookout as to how he could help organizations like us that were “on the brink” (as he would say) take that next step forward. The steps that help make us more permanent. We’d discussed a lot of options at different times, and just recently there were even a few glimmers that looked as if they could pan out into gold. I think he did a great thing with Flight 19, and I was looking forward to what was possible with his help.

I believe that Paul had 3 or 4 predecessors from the time we started Jobsite to when he took over. They had a few different titles, but they were really all the same person. And none of them really gave us the time of day. We weren’t important enough.

We liked Paul because he wasn’t just a politico. Someone who would smile and nod at you one moment and forget who you were once they were five steps away.

This city gets me awful confused sometimes. A “City of the Arts” with no clear direction on how it aims to get there, and now they ax the guy who was sort of in charge of all that as his “arts czar” handle indicated. Not-for-profits are getting zero-lined to save tax payers what amounts to about $20 a year. All the while all sorts of fat is getting sucked up through a straw by legions in positions all over the city and county (Anyone want to talk about the TSA perks or Brian Blair’s personal grounds crew on his lake?).

It’s a bit scary. And not because Jobsite is losing anything. That’s the real kicker. We’re just now finally getting grown enough to get an invitation to the adult table and it continues to look more and more like dinner is getting canceled. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I come to dinner hungry and if there’s nothing to eat I might just end up looking elsewhere.

We were really looking forward to finally being eligible for some of that money we know now we won’t get at least for another year or two. We were really looking forward to continuing to develop the relationship we had with the city. And now it’s looking like we’re back to square one again.

I guess that’s life in the big city.

Anyway, we’re going to miss you Paul. You were a great ally and a better patron. Hope to catch you around soon – be it at Taco Bus or the theater. You’re a good man, and the city is poorer for losing you.

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  1. Now I’m hearing tales that these cuts will more likely save taxpayers up to $70 a year, but that’s per household.

    Still a VERY large price to pay in the grand scheme of things.

    I’m all in favor of small government when it comes to many, many things. I really believe that a lot of fat could have been removed from the budget without going after not-for-profits with a chainsaw.

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