Cooperation Between the City and County

If you’ve lived in Tampa for more than a decade and have paid any attention at all to how Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa get along, you’ll know that they don’t really get along at all. This has to stop.

As your Mayor, I may not have control over the county commissioners, but I will have an impact. There is an influence of sorts, but without the proper leadership in office to bridge that gap between a typically Republican based county and a Democrat based city, that influence is almost nonexistent or even negative.

In 2006 I wrote a book called, Collaboration Economy. It’s about how businesses prosper more in today’s economic climate by cooperating more than by competing. I plan to use many of the techniques I outlined in this book to work hand in hand with City and County leaders to show them just how much further we can grow as a region by working together in a collaborative tone than constantly trying to compete or out bid one another.

Collaboration happens when someone places their individual needs after the needs of the system. We see this no more clearly than in partisan politics. Here’s how a bureaucrat or a typical career politician will usually prioritize their loyalties.

  • Party
  • City
  • County
  • State
  • Country

This is where things go all wrong. When a politician allows a political party to influence their decisions (and by political party I don’t mean to imply only DNC or RNC – I mean ALL political parties like the NRA, AMA, and all other special interest acronyms out there), they end up making short term decisions that hurt the overall system in the long run.

When you put the small before the big you create a zero sum game where there are winners and losers. When Democrats control the House, the Republicans lose. When Republicans control the House, Democrats lose. But in BOTH cases, us Americans lose. We lose because we become more divided. The losers build up more resentment, and the winners forget what it feels like to be the loser.

To be a true public servant the loyalty needs to be reversed.

  • Country
  • State
  • County
  • City
  • Party

By making decisions for the benefit of the whole versus the individual, you now create an environment where everyone can prosper. It doesn’t, for a minute, mean that you have to lose at the individual level. Quite the contrary because you will still win. It simply means that you may need to sacrifice some of the things you want individually, in the short run, for something that benefits the overall good in the long run. As the Mayor of your city, if a deal is on the table that benefits the city of Tampa, but hurts the overall scope of our county, then I will not support it. It would be foolish to do that. This doesn’t mean that I roll over and take a bad deal for the city either. I will work very hard to find middle ground and create a workable solution that we can all get behind and support.