Tuesday, April 24, 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: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Writing a new law that phases out separate accreditation for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and folds it back into the major research university was the easy part. The hard work starts today when a new consolidation task force holds i...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Correction

CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18