Stabins forges own budget, Aug. 22 article
Administrator heeds taxpayers
Commissioner Jeff Stabins should have used the term "governing body" when referring to the County Commission's implied lack of its role in making budget and policy decisions over the last nine months instead of returning to a supreme authority role.
Although jobs are a main concern in any cost reduction plan, the reality is that someone will suffer for decisions that must be made in an economic downturn. Employees who have decided to take early retirement have displayed compassion for their associates by helping those who need to earn a living. Consolidation of positions indicates a move to efficiency. Longtime employees who are departing, in most cases, have trained subordinates to conduct business in their absence. This is called a backup plan in most organizations.
The plan to dump the county's membership in the regional supply water authority is a political decision and not a budget decision. Commissioners David Russell and Stabins have never supported the Regional Water Authority made up of Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter counties. Rose Rocco, Diane Rowden and Chris Kingsley did. The Regional Water Authority continues to protect our water supply from over-development in conjunction with Southwest Florida Water Management District regulation.
Stabins has now publicly attacked County Administrator David Hamilton by stating, "David works for us and I reject much of what he has proposed." Stabins lacks the ability to make the hard decisions he faults Hamilton for making in behalf of our county government and ultimately the taxpayers of Hernando County.
Hamilton should keep up the good work and Stabins should be held accountable for any budget shortfalls.
Vito J. Delgorio Sr., Spring Hill
Stabins looks out for the little guy
As the spouse of an 11-year Hernando County employee, I feel compelled to applaud Commissioner Jeff Stabins. Thank you for your efforts to protect the front-line employees who serve our county.
I feel the general public has the wrong impression of our front-line, rank-and-file workers. I believe their recent organizing efforts (resulting in an overwhelming vote to join the Teamsters Union) may have been viewed by some as an underhanded exercise to avoid the impact of the economic strife and budgetary cuts our county faces. This is not the case at all.
The desire to unionize began long before we saw a downturn in the economy, as this was not the first attempt. However, this time was different. This time, morale was at its lowest in years, the lack of respect shown from those in middle and upper management was disconcerting. The lack of care or concern for the safety of these workers by management is shocking and disturbing, all in the name of productivity.
The now unionized Hernando County Employees have no desire to reap monetary benefits they are not entitled to or have not earned through years of dedication. They have no desire to plunder the county's money. They only ask that they not be overlooked, or taken for granted, to have their years of service be appreciated. These are hard-working people who, more often than not, struggle to make ends meet.
Taxpayers of Hernando County, take notice: It is not the front-line staff — the ones you see working in our parks, fixing our waterlines, cleaning our sewers, repairing damaged roads, processing our garbage — who rake in the big paychecks.
We can show our support and thanks to these men and women by urging Stabins to continue to look for ways to help our county in these tough times without "cutting people off at the knees."
While County Administrator David Hamilton can say the staff anxiety is understandable, I am left to wonder if he can truly understand the anxiety that comes with wondering how they will feed their families after a pay cut, furlough or layoff.
Thank you Mr. Stabins, for restoring my faith that someone is looking out for the little guy.
Lisa Golembieski, Brooksville
Brown-Waite misleads on care
On Aug. 22, I received a brochure from the seldom-seen and very occasionally heard-from reclusive representative of the 5th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite. This folded piece of pasteboard is supposed to be considered a serious discussion of improving health care, instead of holding forums.
There is a section titled: "Any Government-Run Public Plan Why it is the WRONG solution to America Health Care problems." (I guess by that statement she means she is against Medicare and Medicaid and SCHIP). The whole section is just one big bunch of misleading statements that have no reference to ascertain their veracity.
• "Creates an entitlement that will cost another $1 trillion over the next 10 years." According to the CBO, it will be far less that amount; but seeing there is no final bill, no one knows the actual cost. Much like the Iraq War that she voted for many times without knowing the final cost.
• Underpays doctors for their services: Nonsense; the plan proposes to pay doctors more than Medicare.
• Forces more employees to drop employee coverage. This is a bald-faced lie. The public plan will reduce employer costs and increase employee coverage because they can find an alternative market to purchase health insurance at a lower cost.
• "Gives the Institute for Comparative Effectiveness the power to deny health care treatments." Utter nonsense. This Bush-era piece of legislation was for the government to set up a board to streamline treatments, determine the best treatments and stop recommending treatments that have shown to be ineffective and dangerous to a patient's health. It is beside the point. Insurance companies now ration health care and which doctors you can see. Try seeing a specialist without getting a referral.
There is another section titled "The Right Way To Reform Health Care."
• No cuts to Medicare. Which means she wants to continue the unnecessary Bush-era designed handout to HMOs of $156 billion annually. The price we paid to get prescription drug coverage.
• Protect the doctor-patient relationship. She believes that no bureaucrat should be empowered with vital decisions about your care. But it is all right for some clerk who works for an insurance company — who gets a bonus based on reducing pay-out costs — to make those decisions.
• Allow workers to deduct the part they pay. I guess she wants the federal government to pay 100 percent of the health care without any cost controls. If you think that Obama Care will cost money, boy this would be a license for the insurance companies to print money, without having anyone object to the increases. What a boondoggle!
Originally, health care benefits were used as a way to give employees raises without them incurring the cost of additional income taxes.
Now she wants to give away the country's health care to the for-profit health-care industry.
Ian Norris, Spring Hill
Nurses vital to health reform
So much is being reported in our local papers about health care reform, and there are many more questions than answers.
All of the articles I have read have omitted some very important matters, such as the ever-increasing shortage of nurses.
Nothing, absolutely nothing is being done about the fact that in Florida alone there will be a shortage of 52,000 nurses by 2020. This has been reported by the Florida Center for Nursing. This shortage significantly affects health care reform.
In 2010, in Florida alone, 164,318 registered nurses will be needed for the patients who are covered by insurance. But the supply of RNs will be 145,899, a shortage of 18,419. For the LPNs, the demand will be 49,480 and the supply will be 46,031, a shortage of 3,449.
It gets worse every year. These are data furnished by the Florida Center for Nursing (www.flcenterfornursing.org).
Now what happens if, overnight, a huge number of uninsured come into the system? The results will be disastrous.
Doesn't it make sense that when you expect a large crowd for any kind of activity, you first plan for the resources to handle the crowd?
Have we done that in planning health care reform? I don't think so.
Nick Morana, vice chairman, Hernando County Human Rights Coalition