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Brooksville officials narrowly avoid candy crisis at parade
Purchasing goodies is not in the new police chief's job description.
By BARBARA BEHRENDT, Times Staff Writer
Published December 8, 2007
George Turner referred candy questions to the parks and recreation director.
BROOKSVILLE - Chalk it up to fiscal conservatism and an altered job description.
It seems that in the decision to cut off city sponsorship of the annual Kiwanis Christmas Parade, Brooksville also cut out the candy budget.
That left city workers scrambling this week to secure sweets for City Council members to hand out to the city's future voters at the parade.
Over the years, former Police Chief Ed Tincher would hit local stores right after Halloween and gobble up discount candy for the parade. But with Tincher's departure earlier this year, no one thought to include that task in new Chief George Turner's job description.
When asked about the parade this week, Turner was adamant that he would not wear a Santa Claus suit. In truth, Tincher just sported a Santa hat during the parade.
Asked about the candy, Turner said his responsibilities ran only to providing security, driving the mayor in the lead car and keeping the parade moving at an acceptable pace.
Candy questions, he said, go to Mike Walker, the city's parks and recreation director.
Walker acknowledged that, after the candy conundrum surfaced at a recent staff meeting, he offered to find a solution. He wrangled a donation from Wal-Mart.
Council member Lara Bradburn has seen the bags of candy Walker secured, but she was concerned Thursday that there was not enough. She has heard other council members express similar worries.
Several have even pulled aside gazebo at John Wilson Park Vice Mayor Frankie Burnett and told him to cool it this year. Burnett is widely known for blowing through his bag of candy faster than anyone else. Last year, other council members had to give him candy from their bags so he could make it to the end of the parade.
And this year the parade route is longer.
City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha was trying to get some beads donated late in the week so that city officials would have something else to toss to parade watchers this morning.
If that fails, Bradburn has an equally sweet alternative to candy for the crowd. "We'll just be lavishing the crowd with more waves and smiles than ever before," she said.