Yes on Greenlight announces personnel moves

Posted by Mitch Perry on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Joe Farrell
  • Joe Farrell
It hasn't been the smoothest of beginnings for Yes on Greenlight, the group formed to help pass the Greenlight Pinellas initiative on this November's ballot in Pinellas County. Greenlight Pinellas is the one-cent sales tax increase for transit projects in the county that would include a dramatic increase in bus service, along with the beginnings of a light-rail network running from St. Petersburg to Clearwater.

Shortly after the campaign held its introductory press conference last month celebrating the rightness of their campaign, things went south for Yes on Greenlight rather rapidly. First it's co-chair, Ronnie Duncan, was was forced to resign after anti-rail critics lobbed conflict of interest charges at him, due to his role as chairman of TBARTA. Then came the unceremonious sacking of Tucker/Hall, the Tampa-based PR firm that creating the branding for Greenlight Pinellas and was hoping to be involved with Yes on Greenlight.

Today Yes on Greenlight named Joe Farrell as their campaign manager, Don Ewing to join Chris Steinocher as co-chair, and two different firms to work on communications: Gainesville-based Strategic Guidance Systems and St. Petersburg's B2 Communications.

Farrell is currently director of Public Affairs with the Pinellas Realtor Organization. He last worked on the successful mayoral campaign of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn in 2011. He's also worked on the campaigns of Charlie Justice for Congress and Lorraine Ausley for CFO.

Don Ewing is President of the Council of North County Neighborhoods, the region of Pinellas that Greenlight is expected to have its toughest road to hoe in getting buy-in from county voters.

The group also named Joel Giles, Tom Morrissette, Stuart Rogel, and Bob Clifford as part of their organizational committee. Rogel is with the Tampa Bay Partnership, and was prominently involved in Moving Hillsborough Forward, the group that was unsuccessful in attempting to pass Hillsborough's transit tax back in 2010.

Yes on Greenlight also announced that the official name of their political action committee will be called Friends for Greenlight.

In a press release, officials said that "with a commitment to full transparency, the (Friends for Greenlight) campaign will publicly report every dollar raised and spent, and will submit its first financial report on or before April 10."

And a group of 20 local officials have been named to Yes for Greenlight's advisory Council, including Phil Compton from the Sierra Club, former St. Pete City Councilman & PSTA head Jeff Danner (now working as a consultant), the SEIU's Rick Smith, and Andy Hayes with Hayes Cumming Architects, and who recently served as the co-chair of St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman's transition team.

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