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Hernando emergency department still in flux after firing

BROOKSVILLE — With the clock ticking down toward the June 1 start of hurricane season, County Administrator David Hamilton talked Tuesday with Mark Tobert, who has been serving as interim emergency management director since his boss, Tom Leto, was fired last week.

The two discussed the direction of the department and the need to quickly find some help to assist in budgeting, management of the many grants the department administers and administrative support.

Hamilton said that he intends to begin seeking someone soon to fill that role, possibly someone within county government now and possibly just on an interim basis until more is settled about the future structure of the department.

Tobert also has expressed interest in taking a permanent leadership role for emergency management and Hamilton said he has done a "admirable job" in that role in the interim. But Hamilton said he has not yet made a decision on what level of leadership emergency management needs.

"The whole organization is going to have to be reviewed,'' he said.

Hamilton has been working with the idea to have "less managers and more management'' and restructuring is a big part of his plan for making county government more efficient.

Recent departures of key staff such as Leto, his secretary Stephanie Anderson and human resources director Barbara Dupre have given the county administrator the opportunity to consider structural changes in those areas.

Leto was fired for lying to Hamilton by denying he had a romantic relationship with Anderson and for failing to monitor her overtime claims and other work activities. Anderson quit her job last month and has been charged with official misconduct and grand theft for collecting $9,300 in overtime she never worked.

Leto has said he has committed no offenses that should result in his ouster and that he plans to appeal his termination to the county's personnel advisory board. Hamilton did not know whether that request for an appeal had yet been filed by the end of business Tuesday.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando emergency department still in flux after firing 05/13/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 15, 2008 5:28pm]

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