Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spring Hill fire board's dissolution the right call

Coming back from vacation is a drag — facing daily chores tougher than picking out a nice bottle of wine, dealing with the heartwarming greetings from co-workers ("What! You still work here?"), showing up at an office and actually having to be useful.

All in all, it's a tough adjustment.

But, this year, one bit of news has eased the transition. And, oddly, it comes from the most annoying, pointless governmental body I know of — the Spring Hill Fire Rescue Commission.

Or maybe it's not so odd, because the news is that this dysfunctional bunch is about to be eliminated.

Just think. Accounts of its meetings might never again darken the pages of this paper. Bickering commissioners might never waste the time of reporters and, more importantly, the energy of taxpayers trying to figure out how their money is being spent.

As you probably know by now, Spring Hill voters have twice declined to grant the district taxing authority. With no money, the fire board seemingly has no choice but to turn the job of running the district over to the county.

Of all the headlines on stories written while I was away, this one, on July 14, most warmed my heart:

"District's end is begun"

A week later, my co-worker, Logan Neill, described in more detail how the county expected the handover to happen.

The fire agency would live on as a taxing district, meaning revenue collected there would be spent there. But decisions about running the department and spending this money would be turned over to the County Commission. This consolidation could save some money down the road. And the fire board, thankfully, would be no more.

At a workshop Friday, several fire commissioners — trying to resist this inevitable course of events — discussed delaying the vote on the county takeover, a vote now scheduled for next week. They also talked about hanging on as a so-called "dependent" district. In doing so, they showed why this would be a terrible idea.

Slightly more than an hour into the discussion, as fire Commissioner Rob Giammarco urged the rest of the board to disband as quickly as possible, Chairwoman Sherry Adler suddenly called out, "You will be asked to leave!"

The camera panned over to catch her pointing her gavel into the crowd.

"This is not the time to laugh, have fun or anything else," she admonished two members of the audience, one of whom was Giammarco's brother-in-law, Patrick Clements.

As Adler stood up and called for them to be removed from the meeting, she was challenged by Commissioner Ken Fagan, Giammarco's only ally on the board.

"Will you sit down and stop acting so ignorant?" he asked her.

She did neither, but instead called for a break and, moments later, dialed the Sheriff's Office.

Not being in town at the time, I couldn't tell you for sure whether Clements and the other audience member really deserved to be admonished. I do know you can't hear a thing on a tape of the meeting, and that by calling 911 Adler wasted deputies' time, just as surely as the commission has wasted vast amounts of its own and residents' time over the years.

Fagan and Giammarco didn't exactly add to the commission's dignity. But in advocating the board's quick, merciful end, they were undeniably right.

And Giammarco was also on the money with his exasperated response to Adler's petty display:

"I don't even know why we're here," he said. "This is ridiculous."

Spring Hill fire board's dissolution the right call 08/02/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 7:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Worker critically injured after falling off truck in Clearwater

    Accidents

    A Zephyrhills man was critically injured early Thursday morning when he fell off the back of a road construction vehicle.

  2. Electricity poles and lines lay toppled on the road after Hurricane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, September 20, 2017. The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. [Associated Press]
  3. Trigaux: For Class of 2016, college debt loads favor Florida graduates

    Banking

    Florida college graduates saddled with student debt: Take heart. The average debt Class of 2016 Florida grads must bear is less than students in most states.

    University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa for last fall's commencement ceremony. A new survey finds their average student debt upon graduating was $22,276. Statewide, 2016 Florida grads ranked a relatively unencumbered 45th among states, averaging $24,461 in student debt. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  4. Romano: One person, one vote is not really accurate when it comes to Florida

    Politics

    Imagine this:

    Your mail-in ballot for the St. Petersburg mayoral election has just arrived. According to the fine print, if you live on the west side of the city, your ballot will count as one vote. Meanwhile, a ballot in St. Pete's northeast section counts for three votes.

    Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections worker Andrea West adds mail ballots to an inserter Sept. 22 at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Largo. (SCOTT KEELER   |   Times)
  5. St. Petersburg will hold first budget hearing tonight

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Sunshine City's new property tax rate looks exactly like its current rate. For the second year in a row, Mayor Rick Kriseman does not plan to ask City Council for a tax hike or a tax cut.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]