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Boards need to rein in ethically challenged CEOs

Integrity questions tarnish zoo legacy | Dec. 10, Sue Carlton column

Rein in ethically challenged CEOs

I remember that the first director of the rebuilt Lowry Park Zoo was the very likeable and very able David Thompson who came to Tampa from the world-famous St. Louis Zoo.

The legacy of the zoo's most recent 20 years owes much to many other folks whose integrity never wavered.

For many CEOs and politicos, time can cause one to believe he is infallible and indispensable. The betrayal of trust begins with small things and over time rises to major breaches as the sense of omnipotence accelerates. Then comes denial when caught. It almost always ends in departure from the organization.

Increasingly, boards of directors and other overseers of the CEO are not only embarrassed but forced to resign or worse for failing in their fiduciary obligations. Expectations of stakeholders are making better due diligence by boards ever more critical.

"Ethically challenged" is a condition rampant in our commercial, nonprofit and government entities. My alma mater, Union College, is embedding the teaching of ethics into every departmental offering, including athletics.

Lowry Park Zoo's board needs to arrive at the cathartic moment when they say "goodbye" to those who "don't get it." A new crew can then begin a new era of genuinely and ethically serving our community's need for affordable access to the creatures, flora and ways of the wild — a diminishing dimension of a vulnerable planet Earth.

Kenneth S. Hoyt, Tampa

Advantage, insurance companies | Dec. 7

Advantage plans are worth preserving

The editorial about the Medicare Advantage program was a thoughtful and well written piece. However, in fairness to Medicare beneficiaries, as well as insurance company employees, I believe it would be nice for the Times to really be honest.

The Times editors not only want to eliminate Medicare Advantage, you also want to make health care more expensive for some seniors, and you want to eliminate jobs.

Yes, overpayments should be examined and a compromise should be reached. But with the Times' myopic view about the reality of Medicare Advantage plans, maybe it would behoove the editorial board to examine some of the advantages of the plans.

First, they help some of the most vulnerable seniors keep their medical costs reasonable. Sure, some can get extra help from Medicaid, but many cannot. Remember not all doctors accept Medicaid.

Another advantage to these health plans is that they employ thousands of taxpaying U.S. citizens. Salaries are paid to these citizens and tax dollars are returned to the federal government, which in turn funds the Medicare program. Eliminate the plans and this industry will become obsolete with thousands of jobs gone and tax revenues diminished.

The Medicare Advantage plans may have some problems, but they do more good than appears on the surface.

David Marsh, St. Petersburg

Medicare Advantage is good for seniors Dec. 10, letter

Profits come first

It is obvious the letter writer has not had a large insurance claim yet that is continuous. The scenario he presents is nothing more than the premium game, as opposed to one based on claims. All he is doing is shooting the dice, based on the amount of premium that he pays.

The Medicare Advantage program should never have existed, but because of lobbyists, it does. Insurance companies don't belong in the health care business because they only have a profit motive, period.

Being in the insurance and investment business for more than 30 years, I have done my due diligence. All I can say to the letter writer is, "Good luck."

James R. Badolato, Tampa

Linda Bollea pleads for cash | Dec. 12, story

Silly and selfish

Okay everybody, open up your wallets this holiday season. Linda Bollea's bank account has less than $200,000. I guess it's tough trying to live on $40,000 a month!

Does this woman have any sense of reality? That $4,000 she spent on pictures of her and her dogs would have been better donated to homeless shelters and food banks.

Linda, grab a grocery cart, fill it and take it to the Salvation Army. My husband and I did. It will give you a good feeling to do something nice for someone other than yourself. I could go on about this silly, selfish woman but why waste the space in your paper?

Linda Brusco, New Port Richey

Linda Bollea pleads for cash | Dec. 12, story

Another bailout

I first thought I was reading the comic section, but then I realized it was the Metro Report in Friday's paper. Reading the article regarding poor Linda Bollea's bank account dipping below $200,000 really beats the comics. Even the poor lawyers, who have found the golden egg, must be laughing all the way to the bank.

To keep us laughing, the lawyer indicates poor Linda doesn't have the ability to meet her expenses with her $40,000 per month gift.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think anyone can live on $40,000 per month. If she's not able to make ends meet, then I guess the government should step in as it has done recently and support Linda and her lawyer before they have to live a normal lifestyle.

Richard Maier, Trinity

League says girl can't be on boys team Dec. 11, story

Insecure adults

"From such children come other children." So said Yente in Fiddler on the Roof, and it totally applies to the narrow minds who decided that Aliyah Farley was not capable of being "sexually" prudent if she played basketball on the only team her school provided, a boys team. Both parents, the coach and her teammates thought it was fine, and with her the team won two games. And, wow, no hanky panky.

First, the state Constitution is amended to accommodate those poor weak souls who can't abide having any marriages that are "different" from theirs. And now we have this child, who only wants to participate in a team sport but can't for the same intolerant and exclusive reasons.

This is in a religious school system. Why do adults in that environment transfer their insecurities and bad judgments to the children? They are burdened enough by the actions of the teachers and administrators. Why punish them further?

Irv Friedman, Bayonet Point

League says girl can't be on boys team Dec. 11, story

Troubled consciences?

So poor Aliyah Farley cannot play on the Westside Christian School's boys basketball team against schools in the Suncoast Christian Conference. Why? Boys and girls playing together could lead to sin!

Representatives of 11 conference schools participated in the vote. Do they have nothing better to do? What rubbish. Next they won't allow them in the same classes, on the same school buses, in the same schools, at the same dances!

Whose conscience is bothering whom?

Paul Myles, Largo

Jet crash in San Diego

Risky routes

I live in South Tampa near the flight path of MacDill Air Force Base. Many here have questioned the necessity of using the land-based approach to the base as opposed to a purely sea-based route for planes landing and taking off.

The small F/A-18D Hornet jet crash has claimed four lives. How many will a KC 135 tanker plane claim unnecessarily?

Kurt Kramer, Tampa

Above-average hurricane activity predicted for 2009 | Dec. 11

Peddling fear

Here we are, not two weeks after the 2008 hurricane season ended, and the prediction for the 2009 season is already out.

Why do they bother with this? And what other reason is there for the media to publish/talk about this than to scare people?

Chuck Grecco, New Port Richey

Boards need to rein in ethically challenged CEOs 12/14/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 15, 2008 2:39pm]
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