Letters to the Editors
Pinellas Park deserves better city manager
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 21, 2001
Re: Investigator's report: Trouble simmers in police department, Jan. 14.
So now the investigation into a reported "hit list" naming several officers in the Pinellas Park Police Department, presumably to be terminated, is finally over. After months of investigation disrupting the department and thousands of taxpayers' dollars spent, the conclusion is "the consultant found no evidence to indicate that any adverse action had been taken against any of the five officers... "
What could have easily been handled with an in-house inquiry -- as is conducted routinely in every police department whenever a complaint of wrongdoing is filed -- turned into a big brouhaha caused by City Manager Jerry Mudd. Is it any wonder that the "good officers" in Pinellas Park are leaving in droves when they can find other positions? The turmoil caused by the actions of this city manager is unheard of in law-enforcement circles.
For at least a year, a handful of disgruntled officers has been allowed and encouraged to do "end runs" around the police department administration and make their complaints directly to the city manager and human services administrator. While I was the chief of police, pleas to the city manager fell on deaf ears, which further encouraged the malcontents. None of their complaints was found to have any validity, and the supervisors of this professional police department have been under a cloud for months.
Hopefully, the City Council will finally realize that the city deserves better leadership than it is getting from the current city manager. As a taxpayer of Pinellas Park and concerned citizen, I call on them to make the necessary changes before it is too late.
Area again ripe for brush fires
About this time last year, there was a rash of brush fires in the Gandy Boulevard and 28th Street area. The situation is ripe for a repeat performance. I see no attempt to limit access to this land.
The off-roaders and dirt-bikers are enjoying weekend outings again. Open exhausts on two-cycle dirt bikes are prone to scatter sparks on deceleration. Will our firefighters have to devote another week or two to dousing these almost-sure-to-happen fires? Are we willing to pay the price?
A little pressure from the city of St. Petersburg on the development company trying to sell this property may produce results. I hope someone listens.
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