Today's Letters: Salaries way out of line in city

Published May 6, 2007

Re: Weeks of lobbying for naught? story, May 4

I sent the letter below to the mayor, vice mayor and commissioners for Tarpon Springs:

I am writing in response to the article in the St. Petersburg Times about the city manager of Tarpon Springs, Ellen Posivach, and her efforts to make sure we, the ones who pay her salary, do not get tax relief from the state Legislature.

How do you look at yourselves in the mirror?

The paper quotes a salary for the chief of police, her "stand-in" while she is in Tallahassee, of $100, 000. Incredible! For this little town?

Evidently, he didn't have enough to do if he can do her job, too. I can save you some money immediately. Fire this woman and don't replace her. If she's been up there for seven weeks, you obviously don't need her.

I just left a job as a clinical microbiologist at Helen Ellis Hospital, a job that requires a degree with a very tough curriculum, health risks and a lot of stress. I made about $40, 000 a year. A laboratory manager, responsible for all the other departments of the clinical laboratory, makes about $50, 000. Don't tell me the city manager of Tarpon Springs has it tougher.

These salaries for public officials are way out of line - I know that. You're all out of line.

Nyla Jo Hubbard, Tarpon Springs


No easy street for public works 

Re: City government must tighten belt letter, May 3

As a local city employee, I felt the need to write in about the letter by David Spath of Clearwater. I would like to let Mr. Spath know that as a public works employee for a municipality, our pay raises are strictly based on merit and work performance.

Obviously, the state has to do something about our unfair and soaring property taxes and the outrageous homeowners insurance costs. I pay these high taxes and insurance rates. My belt is so tight I can hardly breathe.

Furthermore, Mr. Spath, regarding city work crews just standing around watching as a few co-workers are working, other workers from another department might have stopped by to confer with each other about this project. We also have citizens in my city who might see me and several co-workers taking a break in our trucks or under a tree. What they did not see, though, was the work being done four or five hours prior to taking a break.

I work stormwater construction, and in our city we have ongoing training to ensure that any project we are working on is done to the best of our knowledge and expertise.

I do take offense at your comments in the newspaper, Mr. Spath, that we city employees are so secure in our government jobs and that we feed at some kind of golden trough at the taxpayers' expense. We are fully responsible for our actions as municipal employees and are held accountable for poor job performance through reprimands, suspensions and termination.

Also, hurricane season is almost upon us again and the public works departments of all local municipalities, as well as county and state, will be the first personnel in and the last to leave in the event of, God forbid, a hurricane or storm disaster.

Remember, Mr. Spath, I am also a taxpayer and lifelong resident in Pinellas County. As part of a public works team we do not control the budgets nor any decisions made by the higher-ups in City Hall. We can only control our own decisions and job performance.

Joseph Rowe, Tarpon Springs


Criticism of team unwarranted

It has come to my attention that there has been criticism of the current administrative team at Palm Harbor University High School. I would like to add my voice.

There are many who have been here longer and know it better, but I have experienced all three of the administrative teams at PHU. Each has been excellent. Each has had its highs and slightly less highs, though none have, as far as I have seen, ever had lows.

The current team has been in place for less than a year. Criticism - especially off-campus criticism - is premature at the very least. The criticisms that I have heard voiced are also contrary to what I have experienced.

Principal Herman "Doc" Allen is just as competent, intelligent, aware and in control as any of his predecessors. He is visible; he is available. In addition, he is also attentive: He gives his entire attention without bias; he listens to the entire message and considers its content deliberately. He is disinterested and detached and unhurried in his deliberations. He is scrupulously fair and courteous.

That he allows his team members to do their jobs without micromanaging does not mean that he is out of touch with them, but merely that he knows and has confidence in their abilities. It is my personal experience that he is right in that judgment. It is a solid team that works well together. Each member is competent and even-handed.

The implication that Pat Balance and/or Bob Heintz are retiring because of any negativity toward the new team is not only insulting to the team, but it is insulting to Pat and Bob. Both of these excellent educators have dedicated long careers to this system. Both of them are professionals skilled in working at a variety of positions with an infinite variety of people.

If it is time for them to close this portion of their lives, let us celebrate the job they have done and send them off with our best wishes and thanks, not sully their leave-taking with self-serving innuendo.

It is what my mother would have called a tempest in a teapot.

Betsy Baze, teacher, Palm Harbor University High School

Your voice counts

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