Mayor Jane Castor Names Sonya Little and Harry Cohen to Help Guide Transition Advisory Teams
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has named City of Tampa Chief Financial Officer Sonya Little and former City Council member Harry Cohen co-chairs of her transition advisory teams which will be rolled out in the coming weeks. As co-chairs, Little and Cohen will join Carole Post who was recently appointed to spearhead the transition and lead the advisory teams. Each advisory team will be charged to work with community members and stakeholders to develop a blueprint for its respective area of focus that builds on current initiatives and outlines strategic priorities to help guide Mayor Castor’s vision to transform Tampa’s tomorrow.
“I’m honored Mayor Castor has asked me to assist in steering her advisory teams,” said Sonya Little. “These dynamic teams will spell out her vision for Tampa’s transformation moving forward and this strong collaboration with the community will benefit Tampa for years to come.”
Harry Cohen added, “the five areas that Mayor Castor has identified for study are all critical to Tampa’s future. I am excited to assist in identifying and prioritizing key initiatives while thinking creatively about solutions and strategies for moving Tampa forward.”
The Transition Advisory Teams are focused on transportation, construction support and services, workforce development, affordable housing, and sustainability & resiliency. These teams will enable the new administration to quickly assess the most critical needs across a range of stakeholders and identify key recommendations for immediate action.
Sonya C. Little is the Chief Financial Officer for the City of Tampa, Florida. She was appointed in May 2011 by Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Sonya leads a team of approximately 100 professionals and is responsible for administering an annual budget of over $1 billion. She also manages the city’s credit ratings, debt and investment portfolios, and oversees the primary functions of accounting and financial reporting, banking, grant management, and pension fund administration.
Prior to joining the City, Sonya worked in the private sector for over 17 years, including serving as Managing Director with Public Resources Advisory Group and Vice President with RBC Capital Markets and William R. Hough & Co. During this time, she provided investment banking and financial advisory services to numerous governmental agencies on over $6 billion in tax-exempt and taxable financings. Sonya has successfully developed numerous strategic financial plans that provide effective capital funding solutions while satisfying federal, state, local, and regulatory guidelines. These solutions include conventional fixed-rate, variable rate and derivative financings for solid waste, stormwater, surface transportation, public education, university system improvement, parking, affordable housing, water and sewer and various capital improvement programs.
In 2016, Little was elected by shareholders to serve on the Hancock Bank Holding Company Board. Additionally, she currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Tampa Museum of Art, Lowry Park Zoo and City of Tampa General Employees’ Retirement Fund. Previously, Little was appointed by the governor for the State of Florida to serve on the Partnership for Public Facilities and Infrastructure Act Guidelines Task Force. The task force presented recommendations for the state Legislature’s consideration in creating a uniform state-wide process for public private partnerships. Little holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from the University of South Florida and has held both the NASD Series 7 and 63 licenses.
Harry Cohen is currently General Counsel to the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Circuit Court.
Harry Cohen was elected twice to the Tampa City Council representing District 4 from 2011 to 2019, when he left office due to term limits. He served as Tampa City Council’s Chair Pro-Tem from 2012-2018, as chair of the City Council’s Finance Committee, and as representative to the Hillsborough County Public Safety Coordinating Council. He served on the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization for Transportation (MPO) for eight years, as well as a member of the Transportation Management Area (TMA) Leadership Group for Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties. He has also served on the boards of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, the Florida Orchestra, the Florida Aquarium, Community Tampa Bay and the Opera Tampa League.
From 2005-2011, Harry Cohen was Chief Deputy to the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Circuit Court, where he oversaw all areas of court operations. Prior to that he was an attorney with the law firm of the late Barry Cohen.
Harry Cohen was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa on April 5, 1970. He graduated from Gettysburg College and New York Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor degree. He is a member of the Florida Bar, the Hillsborough County Bar Association, and the Tampa Bay Area Committee on Foreign Relations.