Thursday, May 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Changing the CareerSource Pinellas culture

The Pinellas County Commission sent a clear message Tuesday by removing the board chairman of the troubled CareerSource Pinellas and signaling there has to be a culture change regarding government accountability. Residents appointed to boards overseeing public responsibilities too often become obedient servants to the entrenched bureaucrats they are supposed to oversee. These board members are serving their fellow residents, and they have an obligation to help ensure public money is prudently spent.

The commissioners voted unanimously to remove Aundre Green from the CareerSource board after Green demonstrated he failed to grasp the seriousness of the concerns about mismanagement. CareerSource spends millions in public money to provide training and match workers with jobs, and the Tampa Bay Times’ Mark Puente has reported evidence that suggests the numbers the agency has reported to the state may be padded. Those revelations have triggered multiple federal and state investigations.

Yet last week Green and other members of a CareerSource board committee refused to suspend the agency’s longtime president and CEO, Ed Peachey. When Pinellas Commissioner Pat Gerard, a member of the committee, moved to take action against Peachey, Green cut her off and refused to consider her request. Green’s first loyalty apparently was to Peachey rather than to taxpayers, and he only moved to unilaterally suspend Peachey with pay the following day after county commissioners expressed their unhappiness.

Gerard said Tuesday she has concerns about the CareerSource board’s independence, and commission chair Ken Welch expressed his frustrations with other actions by the board and the agency’s attorney. Commissioner Janet Long’s suggestion that other board members who refused to remove Peachey also be replaced did not get traction, but at least they are on notice that the commissioners expect more due diligence. The board members can start by squashing Peachey’s absurd application to open a charter school in the outdated Pinellas science center where CareerSource is located. With Peachey suspended and so many investigations and questions about the agency’s ability to meet its primary mission of matching workers with jobs, CareerSource is hardly prepared to take on new responsibilities.

Commissioners praised Green’s successor as chair of the CareerSource board, Jack Geller. But Geller did not distinguish himself at Tuesday’s commission meeting. He defended Green and complained about open government laws that prevent two members of the same panel from discussing public business in private. "I hate the Sunshine Law,’’ Geller told commissioners.

That does not build public confidence in a troubled agency that would benefit from more transparency. Perhaps Geller and his colleagues at CareerSource need a refresher course on the importance of government-in-the-sunshine. It will take more openness and accountability to clean up the mess they helped create by failing to provide enough oversight over Peachey and his pals.

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Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

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Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
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Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

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Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

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Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
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Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

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Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
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Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

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A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18