County engineer is not to blame
I am writing in support of Hernando County Engineer Charles Mixson. I have had, over the years, numerous dealings with Mr. Mixson on various subjects pertaining to Hernando County operations and projects. I have always found him to be responsive, informed, concerned and helpful when it came to assisting citizens with their problems or concerns involving the activities of the county. I found him to be a good listener and a proactive contributor to the solution-finding process.
It seems to me that tying the continued employment of this valuable, experienced and hardworking official to the completion of the Hernando Beach dredge project is inappropriate (at best) and actually more likely to be governmental malfeasance. The dredge is a boondoggle to start with, and the tortuous permitting process is regulated by a multiplicity of state and quasi-governmental entities that are frequently at odds with one another regarding their requirements and schedules. Concerned citizens have filed lawsuits to stop the project and environmental groups have grave concerns that they are presenting to the various permitting agencies.
In the face of all of this (and, need I mention, a budget shortfall of historic proportions) I believe it is utterly absurd to fault one man for the time line difficulties the county has experienced while attempting to bulldoze through a highly questionable project designed to benefit only a few wealthy constituents, with a developer who wants the spoil. To then threaten a professional's very employment and reputation based on this nest of snakes is beyond any rational behavior.
Please, Hernando County, stand behind Mr. Mixson on this issue. He would represent a very significant loss to our county were he to be dismissed, and this type of administrative bullying serves absolutely no defensible purpose.
J. Adrian Kilby, Bayport
Find a real leader for our schools
No more fear, no more mismanagement, no more condescending attitudes, no more intimidation. The schools in this county needed a leader, and the person they were forced to deal with was not one.
The School Board will now become engaged in advertising, recruiting and selecting a new leader, out of what will hopefully be a large pool of candidates. I would ask the board not to go outside the county, but look within it to find those individuals who know our schools, know our teachers and know the community. We need a leader.
During a recent radio interview, Dr. Wayne Alexander talked about the accomplishments made in this county, but at what price? He talked about the technology being utilized in the schools, great idea, but at what price? Our board and new superintendent need to address the needs of the county, not the "wants" or the ''perceived needs."
There are schools that are short on books, there are schools that are short on personnel, there are schools that are in need of support. I have been told that a doctorate degree is required to be superintendent. Change that requirement. Whatever requirement stands in the way of getting a successful replacement, get rid of it.
I will ask again, that the board go to the principals, go to the teachers, go to the parents when you start your search for our new superintendent. Damage has been done to this community and its schools. Find the person who can repair it.
Robert Neuhausen, Spring Hill
Prioritize helping the homeless
It is really a shame that this county's government feels it is more necessary to spend money on a dog park than to help the homeless in need of a warm shelter on these cold winter nights.
It is time we look at these commissioners we have and make sure that we as citizens do not re-elect them. We need to attend more county meetings and maybe bring a few of the homeless with us to speak up. With this economy there will be many more people homeless. Let's get something started now to help them. We need a shelter.
Steve Augello, Spring Hill
Congratulations to all our teachers
Congratulations to Rick Ahrens on being named teacher of the year. I have always heard that education comes in all forms. Last week I had the opportunity to witness one form of it, up close and personal. With great reluctance, as Gus Guadagnino can attest, I accepted the assignment of being part of a committee to interview 21 teachers, one of whom would be chosen to be teacher of the year for Hernando County. Let me state right now, I was the one who was educated by the process.
Never have I seen such loyalty and dedication to a profession than I did in the educational sector. Their passion for their profession came across loud and clear. I walked out of the conference room each evening after interviewing with such pride in what I had just witnessed. Our children and grandchildren are in good hands!
I thank the Hernando County Education Foundation for all it does do in recognizing our teachers whether they have taught two or three years, or 30 or 40. Every one of them is so worthy and deserving of the title of teacher of the year.
Julia Jinkens, Brooksville