Saturday, May 26, 2018
News Roundup

Listing numerous problems, Hernando County fires mosquito control director

BROOKSVILLE — Citing problems with following policies, difficulties with budgetary limitations, poor judgment in dealing with employees and failing to provide good customer service, Susan Goebel-Canning, the director of environmental services for Hernando County, has fired the county's mosquito control director.

On the job for just over one year, Peter Taylor, 56, was terminated last week, and county commissioners were notified of the laundry list of problems that Goebel-Canning had with his performance.

"Despite extensive conversations on maintaining budget and utilizing sound judgment in managing the mosquito control department,'' she wrote, Taylor "continued to show a clear lack of understanding of the department's expectations.''

The firing came after several incidents that resulted in disciplinary measures. In January, for example, Taylor was coached after he failed to attend required meetings.

Then, in February, he received a written reprimand. According to that reprimand, Taylor had been given Feb. 10 as a deadline for giving his employees their evaluations. But he had vacation time scheduled, so he set an earlier deadline for himself.

To meet that deadline, Taylor went to the home of an employee who had called in sick to deliver the evaluation, which Goebel-Canning called "poor judgment.'' In another case, he didn't give a different employee adequate time to review an evaluation.

"This action demonstrated poor planning and substandard leadership,'' according to a warning.

When he left for the vacation, Taylor failed to put on his "out of office" message or change his voicemail to reflect that he was gone. "This inaction demonstrated poor management skills and customer service,'' Goebel-Canning wrote.

"Although the decision (to terminate) was difficult, it was necessary to ensure that the mosquito control program operates effectively,'' she wrote to commissioners.

Taylor, who came into the job after holding similar positions in Brevard, Polk and Orange counties, as well as in Georgia, could not be reached for comment.

His annual salary was $55,680.98, and his cash payout for unused leave time was $442.88. Goebel-Canning told commissioners that she planned to post and fill the position with a suitable candidate "as we prepare for peak season.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

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