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A Times Editorial

Candidate reply

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000

The Times offers candidates not recommended by its editorial board an opportunity to reply. Here is one of those replies.

Jeffrey Hollander, Non-partisan candidate, Spring Hill Fire Rescue Commission

I was disappointed not to have been endorsed by your newspaper for one of the three commissioner seats open in the Spring Hill Fire/Rescue District.

The board needs seasoned professionals to tackle the challenges that face the district over the next four years. Thirty years of business experience, and past experience as chief of a volunteer rescue squad, should be considered by Spring Hill voters. My integrity and reputation for being fair and impartial is well known in the business community.

I interviewed members of the present board, firefighters, paramedics and dispatchers and had found unanimous consensus that, on an operational level, the chief's performance is not being questioned. On the other hand, the vast majority believed that on an administrative level there was considerable room for improvement.

It is my opinion that the present board neglected to set forth clear policies as guidelines for the administration to follow.

The lack of clear direction has led to the perception of micro-management by the board. Given clear direction, Chief Michael Morgan needs to focus on the common goal of providing the best possible service to the taxpayers of Spring Hill, while maintaining fiscal responsibility. In my opinion, there is a vast difference between a "hands-off" approach and being a "rubber stamp" commissioner.

The board is responsible for a $6.5-million budget. It also is ultimately responsible for the quality and availability of the services provided to Spring Hill taxpayers. Any individual elected to the position should take these responsibilities very seriously.

I suppose it is possible that I did not reflect my platform adequately during our interview, or perhaps my position was not provided in a timely manner.

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