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Local talent will stay for the long haul
By VINCE VANNI
Published September 2, 2007
Gary Kuhl announced last week he will join the ranks of former County Administrators Gary Adams, Paul McIntosh and Bonnie Dyga, and former school superintendent John Sanders. Now comes the time when everybody starts blaming everyone else for why Kuhl is seeking more peaceful pastures.
I believe our fingers should be pointed at the selection process. Let's get down to the real reason why people in administration leave Hernando County.
First, two realities:
- We cannot change the atmosphere in our community. It is what it is.
- People who come to Hernando County for personal gain and an upgrade in their careers will leave Hernando County for the same reason.
In 1984 I made a decision to relocate to a place that I intended to raise my family and be my home for the duration of my lifetime. When the company that sent me here asked me to return to New York, I chose to stay and I sought out a new career path. I have never regretted it.
This is a very special community to live in. I could go on and on about its benefits. However, it's not exactly paradise. Nowhere is.
Those of us who chose to live and work here accept the liabilities because we feel it is worth it. Therefore, when choosing those who are going to be our leaders, it's time to wake up to the fact that the only way we can ensure longevity in our leadership is to promote from within.
So many organizations are beginning to learn this. The Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce certainly learned this when choosing former director Jacquelyn Morris, and following her retirement, by promoting Pat Crowley from within to replace her. The United Way and Dawn Center boards also have learned the futility of choosing from outside the community, and now they appoint local residents to positions of leadership.
The way to choose leaders who will dig in their heels in the face of adversity is by choosing people who have no intention of going elsewhere. Over the years Hernando County has attracted and developed some excellent leadership, which we have exported elsewhere. We now have a base of 170,000 residents. I find it difficult to believe that a community of this size cannot find quality local candidates for all of its key leadership positions.
When will we learn to extend the term "local sources first" to all areas, including the people who run our agencies?
Let's not kid ourselves; this is a diverse community. We will never be perfectly happy with anyone we choose. That's why it is so important that we choose leaders who have lived here and know full well what they are getting into. This way, when the "atmosphere" turns negative, those leaders will react by dealing with the issue. They dig in their heels for one simple reason: They have nowhere to go. This is home!
Vince Vanni is president of Vince Vanni and Associates, a Hernando County public relations and marketing firm. He lives in Masaryktown. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.