Monday, January 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Casting a wider net at Children's Board

The Children's Board of Hillsborough County has made the right decision to broaden its search for a new chief executive. The talent pool of original applicants was shallow, and the agency's governing board has an obligation to look further for a leader who can solidify the future for this valuable organization.

The board voted Wednesday to extend the search by 30 days. It plans to interview the finalists in April and select a CEO in May. That is a reasonable investment of time. The initial pool of 225 applicants was flush with midlevel bureaucrats from agencies across the country and one-man bands at obscure nonprofits. The extra 30 days does not offer a huge chance to widen the net. But it sends a message about the minimum requirements for the job and helps the board focus on the most qualified candidates.

The board also needs to use the next month to highlight in a very public way what it needs in a new leader. As a leading social safety net in Hillsborough, the Children's Board plays a critical role in moving poor and at-risk children and families through an array of services that build self-worth and self-sufficiency. As a public institution funded by local property taxes, the agency has a duty to spend responsibly and produce results. The new CEO must appreciate the dual demands of serving the needy and being a prudent steward. And he or she must have the integrity and political skills to run an agency whose books and meetings are open under the law.

Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio has put the agency on sound footing as interim chief executive, moving swiftly after the ouster last year of Luanne Panacek to address wasteful spending and low morale. Iorio cut the staff, redirected money from overhead to services and instituted new contracting and ethics controls. She is spreading the success story of the Children's Board, which the agency must do if it hopes to win reauthorization of its tax base in a public referendum in 2016.

The circumstances that led to Panacek's ouster and the year lost looking for new permanent leadership should be a lesson to the board that it needs to put a sharper eye on the operation and take on more responsibility as community leaders for raising the agency's profile. The vote in 2016 will be here soon enough. With plenty of competition for the public's money, the board needs to underscore its mission as a priority in Hillsborough.

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Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18