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Letters to the Editors

County applicant seems unsuitable


© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002

Editor: Re: Residency proposal inflames applicant. June 5 Times.

A Hernando County government senior official, Stephanie Burkhardt, is an applicant for the vacant position of county deputy administrator. The county commissioners discussed at length whether the position holder should be a county resident. The applicant is not a resident.

During the board's discussion, the applicant squirmed in the audience, ignored three requests by the administrator to remain in her seat, quivered with emotion and demanded to tell the board what it should do. She succeeded. Such behavior by the applicant made the "$65,000 paid-off" former county administrator look like a saint.

The incident did nothing to improve the community's perception of the board as a confused and inept group staggering from problem to problem as it struggles to reach a level of mediocrity.

The board appeared to overlook the distinction between the duties of a deputy administrator and of an assistant administrator. The former must be available readily to take the place of the administrator when necessary and to assume his responsibilities and authority. Conversely, an "assistant-to" is an aide, a helper or an auxiliary to the administrator. Such a person does not assume the responsibilities and authority of the administrator. Therefore, the deputy county administrator should reside in the county to be readily available.

The applicant's demonstrated disrespect for authority does not augur well for a harmonious workforce and the future. Two years hence, for example, the board will be involved with replacing the retiring county administrator. Most likely it will be involved also with replacing the business development coordinator, who will have returned to industry so as to retrieve his former higher salary. Further, the board will be involved with the usual budget deficit scare. More changes in board membership are likely to be in progress.

Applicants should be matched to job positions as defined to meet county needs and not jobs matched to applicants' needs.
-- James A. Willan, Brooksville

Send united message to HCA

Editor: Oak Hill Hospital and HCA Corporation (the company formerly known as Columbia HCA) have shown they are, indeed, interested only in their pocketbooks. Despite the reviews and support by local and Tallahassee officials, construction of the new Brooksville Regional Hospital (donated to the county by HMA) is being delayed by HCA through the use of lawyers.

The HMA Corporation, in the interest of the residents of the county, has dropped its objection to the open-heart program (currently done at HCA hospital at Bayonet Point in Pasco County). HCA is free to begin construction on its new open-heart facility (if it intends to actually move the procedures from one HCA hospital to another).

Its greed is the objection cited by its lawyers in the case: "economic damage to HCA Oak Hill."

It is time for all residents to demand that the HCA Corporation drop its legal maneuvers so we can receive this gifted new hospital in a timely fashion.

We can show our concern with letters to HCA and by asking our physicians to use the HMA hospitals in our county: Spring Hill Regional and Brooksville Regional Medical Centers. If dollars are what they are concerned about, then let them count up the losses as we take our health care choices to other facilities.
-- Joanne Poole, Spring Hill

Public's voice should be heard

Editor: I was so happy to hear that our county commissioners, out of the goodness of their hearts, will allow an extra 15 minutes of public input during commission meetings.

For years the public has been crying that there was a tremendous lack of dialogue between the elected officials and the taxpayers. As usual, the wishes of the people have fallen upon deaf ears.

I very clearly remember Commissioner Chris Kingsley having a serious problem with public input. At one time he asked County Attorney Garth Coller to advise stopping public input, or having public input at the end of the meeting.

I am amazed at how election years can change how politicians think.
-- C. Amato, Spring Hill

Share your views

The Hernando Times welcomes letters from readers for publication.

Because of space limitations, letters should be of reasonable length.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

All letters must be signed and must contain the writer's address and telephone number. Addresses and telephone numbers will not be printed.

Send your letter to Hernando Times, 161 E Jefferson St., Brooksville, FL 34601. To fax a letter call 754-6133. Send letters by e-mail (in text-only format) to hernando@sptimes.com

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