Pasco Administrator explains removal of unfriendly bullet barriers

It was an awkward question to ask during the dedication of Pasco County’s new $9.9 million Utility headquarters in Land O’ Lakes Thursday.

Why did county leaders spend 12 years designing and constructing a 50,000 sq.ft building equipped with bullet proof glass in the customer service area only to decide it ruined the ambiance of their new facility?

“It wasn’t until you install it that you see what it really looks like,” said Pasco Administrator Michele Baker.”I think on paper you just can’t see that.”

Maybe not, but Pasco utility customers still have to pay for the $22,000 glass barriers and the $3,000 extra that contractors charged to remove it two weeks ago.

“We’ll re-use that glass somewhere else,” said Baker. “But it just did not give that warm friendly customer atmosphere that we were trying to create.”

Baker says if the Pasco sheriff buys the glass, that will mean utility customers don’t end up footing the bill.

Utility department insiders who’ve quietly expressed safety concerns about handling a lot of cash without any physical protection insist that County Commissioner Mike Wells is the one who raised a fuss over the look of the security glass.

But Baker insists it was a group decision by herself, Wells, Utility Director Bruce Kennedy and the architect.

One person who wasn’t consulted about removing the bullet barrier is Pasco Commissioner Mike Moore.The new headquarters is in his district.

Though Wells wasn’t at the dedication Thursday due to another commitment, Moore was there posing for pictures and helping cut the ribbon.

After the ceremony Eight on Your Side asked him about the bullet barrier removal.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” said Moore. “It didn’t come before the board.”

Related Story: Pasco leaders  ‘feng shui’ decision costs water customers 25 thousand

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