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Letters to the Editors

Thanks to all in Public Works

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 2, 2002

Editor: I would like to commend the Hernando County Department of Public Works and all of its employees on the day-to-day outstanding job they do. It is a department you can talk to, and they work with you.

I brought to their attention an area in front of my house between the sidewalk and roadway, which needed to be sodded. When it rained, the sand would wash down into my driveway. In some places there was at least two inches of sand, so I had to clean it with a shovel. It was worse than shoveling snow, which I had to do when I lived in New York.

I reported it to the Department of Public Works, and they came out and looked over the problem and said they would take care of it. Their crew came out with their heavy equipment and dug out the area in question and resodded it. To me it seemed like a major undertaking, but they came in graciously and did the job. And what an outstanding job that was. This crew worked hard in the heat.

This letter is a commendation to everyone who works for or is connected with the Department of Public Works for a job well done. You are the backbone of Hernando County. You give more than 100 percent. Thanks from all of us who live right here in the greatest county in all Florida.
-- Michael J. Kowalik, Spring Hill

Benefits of collective bargaining

Editor: Inquiring minds want to know: What will collective bargaining do for county employees?

For starters, it will force accountability by ensuring unprejudiced and fair labor practices. Administration will no longer be able to handpick their friends and buddies for promotions or newly created, nonadvertised positions. All grievances will be addressed fairly, in a timely manner and without fear of retaliation. Safety issues will be addressed promptly for employees' well-being, without regard to cost. Insurance benefits will be "shopped" at a national level, so that employees get better coverage for less. Employees will have access to nonbiased legal representation. Administration will no longer be able to make or change policy at will, and seniority may mean something.

Collective bargaining is not a scheme to protect troublesome employees. It is merely a contract between employee and employer to ensure a level playing field for all hard-working, dedicated county employees. County employees love their work and respect their administration, but they also recognize some injustices that they, if united, can change by having a say in the conditions of their employment environment, benefits and wages.

Three years ago, a segment of Hernando County employees believed they deserved to be treated fairly and equitably. After their union drive failed, administration promised a change. But it didn't take long for many employees to realize things progressively worsened. Morale has been at an all-time low. Commissioners asked some employees of their concerns, but chose not to address them.

Now county employees in many departments are standing together as one and are shouting in unison that they, as county employees, want change. They are operating within their rights, under the laws of Florida, to organize a collective bargaining unit.

However, it is wrong for administration, commissioners or taxpayers to assume that money is the driving force in this issue. Nor should anyone assume there is just a handful of disgruntled employees who cannot be pleased. This effort is bigger than one or two persons.
-- L. Marchese, Brooksville

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

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