Pinellas County: you must close your business, but we’re hiring – including 25 beach lifeguards

Irony meters all over Pinellas County are melting down, China Syndrome-style.

The reason?  After the politicians on the county commission voted on Wednesday to close down all “non-essential” businesses, the county website still says “NOW HIRING.” The county is even hiring 25 lifeguards for the public beaches they’ve closed. Hurry, though, because applications for those lifeguard positions must be in by Friday.

“A dynamic career awaits you at Pinellas County Government!” the Pinellas County website cheerfully exclaims. This on the same day the county commission ordered all private businesses in the county deemed “non-essential” to shut down. A pinned virtual post-it note declared “NOW HiRiNG” while inviting readers to “view a list of career opportunities.”

The county commission unanimously voted on Wednesday to adopt resolution 20-23, closing all non-essential businesses in the county. See item 1 on page 2 for the language that closes non-essential businesses.

Adding insult to injury, the county’s “Safer at Home” order dated March 25th exempts non-essential “businesses operating at any airport, or other government facility.” That means that the breakfast and lunch café  in the county building  is still open and not subject to the same restrictions as other restaurants.

“Learn about our excellent benefits package,” a thumbs-up and upbeat image exclaims on the county’s “Job / Career Opportunities” page.

These are benefits that unemployed workers all over the county can only dream of right now. Those private sector workers help fund the  generosity towards county workers.

The tone deafness is remarkable, as the county orders all “non-essential” businesses to close during the pandemic. They may be “non-essential” to government, but essential to those who depend on products, services or their livelihood from those businesses.

If you mention a current employee’s name when you apply, that current employee gets a day off if you are hired. If Pinellas County is such a great employer to work for, why would anyone want that day off?

The poorly worded resolution also closed “any retail business, operation, or organization” that is not “essential.” Since the IRS considers any corporation to be an “organization,” that means that incorporated owner-operator “organizations” working alone from home with no visitors also have to close.

Barry Burton

With resolution 20-23, the elected politicians also abdicated delegated the power to make decisions about which essential businesses are allowed to stay open (see item 3 on page 2 of the resolution). Such businesses can be shut down by Barry Burton, the unelected  county administrator.

The county is asserting that they have the power to shut down essential businesses for not following CDC guidelines, which is a questionable assumption in and of itself.

Either way, the powers arrogated by the county provide endless opportunities for patronage, retaliation against political enemies, against critics, and other abuse.

The idea that unelected bureaucrats, sitting  around a conference room table, can command, control and centrally plan the economy for everyone else and produce better results than free market enterprise, that idea can be summarized in one word. That word is “communism.”

As always….the Guardian reports and our readers decide. Like our Facebook page to find out when we publish articles.

Here is our previous reporting on Pinellas-related government actions during this pandemic crisis, from the newest to the oldest:

Janet Long violates campaign finance law while falsely ordering businesses to close
DeSantis’ stay-at-home order means gun shops can stay open. HUGE victory for 2A
FWC redefines the term “navigational hazard,” at odds with federal law. Covid-19!
Pinellas County provides “non-essential” businesses misleading information

Sheriff violates county order with pandemic notices at businesses
Confusion about Pinellas “safer at home” order, authoritarian threats from Sheriff
Covidiot touchfest as Pinellas County imposes severe Covid-19 restrictions
DeSantis’ illegal executive order enables local government malfeasance
Kriseman’s coronavirus executive order invokes powers he doesn’t have

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