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Hernando Public Works Director Mixson may not be perfect, but he's fair

Director Mixson imperfect but fair

I know that many people have piled on County Public Works Director Charles Mixson. I would never say that he or any of his staff are perfect, but none of us are. I will say that Mr. Mixson is a fair man, a man stuck in a bad situation.

The administrator has been hired from another state, he has never permitted anything at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, nor has he tried. I am sure that many of the people unhappy with slow progress of the channel, specifically the spoil site (most of them NIMBY's) and the cleanup of the old DPW site have grabbed his ear. I was afraid of this when the board hired from out of state and advised many of this situation.

From my perspective, Mr. Mixson and Assistant Director Gregg Sutton have always been fair, maybe not perfect, but fair. If any of the people complaining of these two items are professional engineers and have worked on similar projects, they would understand all of the concerns impacting the permitting and construction. We invite them to walk in an engineer's shoes, they would not be so quick to judge. I would believe none of them have ever permitted or worked on anything like these projects, nor have they been managers. I permitted one of the last marina projects on Hernando Beach and DEP requires large amounts of data and a give-and-take relationship.

Again, Mr. Mixson may have made mistakes, so may have Mr. Sutton, but why has this been put out into the public forum? It appears there is so much more to this. I hope that cooler heads prevail and all involved see each side and work together to make Hernando County a better place. That should be the objective of all involved.

Richard Matassa, Spring Hill

Leader turns to familiar pattern | Aug. 31 Dan Dewitt column

Immigrants are welcome — if legal

I am tired of those taking the side of those entering here illegally, saying they are doing the jobs we don't want.

There are those who want to come here but want to be good Americans and wait out the paperwork and background checks to come here. And I'll bet there are plenty who would be willing to take those jobs until they learn to speak English.

After all, other than our Native Americans, we all originally came from somewhere else. All of my great-great-grandparents were immigrants in the 1840s. My good friend and her husband came here in the 1950s.

All came because they or their parents wanted a better life for themselves and their children. But, they all came legally. They waited out the paperwork and the checks and when they got here they learned to read, write and speak English and they became proud citizens.

So regardless of where these new immigrants come from, if they come here legally, willing to speak English and willing to become citizens, I will welcome them with open arms. Otherwise stay where you come from.

Anna Terry, Spring Hill

Time to audit county attorney

Tough times on perks in Hernando County. County Attorney Garth Coller will no longer get his $300 monthly gas allowance.

Coller's contract is up for renewal and that allowance will be gone, if County Commissioner Chris Kingsley gets his way. Of course Kingsley will. After all , this is a measly cut compared to Coller's total annual compensation of $174,894, according to the Human Resources Department.

Coller said he has no problem, given the tight budgetary times, in forgoing the monthly car (gas) allowance. He realizes he is so overpaid and underworked that this is a much better alternative to arguing and possibly getting cut on his gross compensation.

Coller said he wants a fair, negotiated contract. Fair according to Coller or compared to competitive attorney wages in Hernando County? Coller should be paid as competitive a package as he would get in the private sector for his work load, about $75,000 per year, as a part-timer.

Coller's base salary is $132,828. The county contributes $6,641 to his retirement plan. He gets $13,797 per year in health insurance for himself and his family. Hernando County gives Coller $17,427 per year that allows him to keep participating in the state retirement plan. He also receives a cell phone allowance. Show me an attorney in Hernando County who does not try one case that receives this type of compensation and you will be the next F. Lee Bailey.

Coller's first contract was signed January 2000 and he started working for Hernando County March 1, 2000.

Coller entered into a second contract from February 2002 to January 2005 (from two years to three) and commissioners added the $300 gas allowance as part of his employment package. He was also provided mileage reimbursement if he traveled out of the county.

Under his third contract, which became effective Feb. 1, 2005, and expires Jan. 31, 2009, (from three years to four, can you feel the creep?) Coller continues to get the $300 allowance but commissioners took away the additional mileage reimbursement.

It's simply not right that Mr. Coller's contract should be renewed for another four years, just two months before potentially newly elected commissioners are coming aboard. Additionally, Coller's department has not been audited in 10 years. It's time.

The only other county government employee to receive a monthly gas allowance is Office of Business Development Director Mike McHugh. Mr. McHugh has done very little to bring in new industries into Hernando County during the past four years. His position needs to be reviewed. So do the county commissioners who have supported him.

Jaz Zydenbos, Weeki Wachee

Thanks for aiding a grieving family

On Aug. 11, our family suffered the greatest loss that could have ever been imagined, the death of our 30-year-old son, Jake. He was killed in an accident on U.S. 19 while riding his motorcycle. To say that we were devastated, in shock, and felt totally lost is the greatest understatement.

Our family and friends quickly gathered around our dining room table that day to comfort each other, the telephone ringing continually as the word spread, and discussions started as to what arrangements needed to be made.

As parents, you want to be the strong ones, the protectors, the problem solvers, even if your children are grown, and yet we felt completely at a loss.

Our four other adult children were our rocks. They knew we needed them at this time and they were there. After the initial shock started to wear off, some of the good times and loving stories about Jake's life started being told and at one point, we could laugh a little.

Being able to laugh a little at this time is a wonderful way to start dealing with the rest of the nightmare that you feel that you will never be able to wake up from.

The reason we felt the need to send this letter to the newspaper is to say thank you to the multitudes of people who immediately came to our aid.

There were and are so many people to thank and we were afraid we would miss someone in our thank-you notes. So thank you to all who helped out during our greatest time of need, and if we miss someone, please know we are very grateful to all.

Frank and Gerrie DeFrancesco, Spring Hill

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Hernando Public Works Director Mixson may not be perfect, but he's fair 09/02/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 4:47pm]
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