Superintendent responds to critics
Recently, several articles and editorials have described how I have not shared information with the School Board and community members. The two recent topics have included information pertaining to my family matters and a petition signed by administrators to forgo their salary increase.
Both reports have portrayed me as not being open and honest with the School Board members and the community. This is not the truth. I would like to share details that were not included in those articles and editorials.
I have been and will continue to be an open, honest and straight-forward leader. That is my style and the only way to do this job. I enjoy an open and honest working relationship with the four School Board members who hired me and remain on the School Board. I look forward to developing that same relationship with our new School Board member.
I meet with each of them weekly and speak with them by phone frequently. Their input and guidance concerning the day to day activities and leadership needs of the district have played a vital role in the success of our school district. Without our team work approach and the tremendous effort of our 3,600 employees, we would not be an "A" rated school district.
My close working relationship with the School Board has also included frequent conversations concerning my family matters. As the needs of my family have changed since September 2008, I have had ongoing discussions with them. I continue to appreciate their understanding as my family addresses a very private matter in the public eye.
It is important to note that I chose to explain in detail my job search needs in writing. I was aware that it would become public information but felt strongly that I needed to communicate openly and honestly with the School Board, staff, and community.
A total of 16 employees signed a petition to give back their salary increases. Eleven of the 16 are administrators. The other five were technical/professional employees. I did not share this list with the School Board members because I felt that 11 administrators did not represent the 60 administrators who did not sign the petition. Through the hard work and effort of our business department, School Board and me, we were able to piece together a salary increase for all staff members this year. It is highly likely that those funds will not be available next year.
I appreciate the willingness of those 16 employees, but feel that our success as a school district occurs because of all 3,600 employees. Everyone deserves a salary increase. I wish we could have done more.
I hope that this information has cleared up concerns. I hope that our focus as a school district can return to recognizing the amazing things that are occurring at our schools. I welcome your personal comments and can be reached at 797-7001.
Dr. Wayne Alexander
Hernando School Superintendent
This is hardly the time for a dog park
It find it amazing how our county government can find the funds to help open a dog park in the county. Just the day before this article was in the paper: Shelters will open their doors to homeless tonight. Cold weather shelters in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco opened their doors Friday and Saturday night in anticipation of near-freezing temperatures in some spots. I didn't see anything in this about Hernando County, but we do have a dog park open.
This has been the second week with freezing temperatures on a few nights. I think our local government needs to get its priorities in order and reach out to those who are homeless. I am sure they can find a way to help those in need while they are playing with their pets at the dog park.
Oh, they might not be at the park because it might be too cold for them to take their pets out to run and play. But I am sure they will find a solution to this in the near future, like in the summer months when we don't need a cold night shelter. And then it will be put on the back burner until it is cold again, and then it is too late to plan something again.
Fred Glass, Spring Hill
Thanks to those behind dog park
I wanted to thank the Spring Hill Central Rotary Club for the absolutely beautiful new dog park. My gratitude also goes to Pat Fagan and the commissioners, all the many business and personal donations and volunteers.
This dog park has been a dream for so many years and now finally has come true. Now we all have a place to take our dogs to socialize, energize, and have fun. The really nice part of this all is that the many people who own dogs can make new friends. The dog groomers business will prosper and the veterinarians and the pet-friendly businesses will grow.
Jeannie Bellm, Spring Hill
Rhetoric muddles her case against the bailout | Dan DeWitt column, Feb. 1
Brown-Waite is easily replaced
I totally agree with Mr. DeWitt's conclusion that U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's most memorable contributions to the massive effort to bail out the financial system and resuscitate the economy have been inflammatory and misleading quotes.
Brown-Waite's history has been to pop up on hot button issues spewing partisan rhetoric that is spun for self promotion and interest. During President Bush's inept and disastrous eight years she was certainly a loyal parrot for the administration. With a Democratic majority in the House coupled with Brown-Waite's continual pandering and self-promotion, her worth to the residents of the 5th District is questionable at best.
Therefore, I suggest that she be replaced by a bobble-head doll and that the cost of her salary, benefits and perks be used for something useful. When her party's puppeteers wanted a vote they could just tap the doll on top of the head for it to bob up and down signifying yes while with a tap on the side it would shake back and forth signifying no. A simple win-win for all.
Michael Cleary, New Port Richey
If the money comes, we'll be prepared | Feb. 1 article
Spend stimulus on alternative energy
A thought comes to mind as I read this article. Wouldn't it be a much more prudent use of some of the funds to create some sort of alternative energy generation system, right here in Hernando County?
In his address after taking the oath of office and becoming the nation's 44th president, Barack Obama called for Americans to "harness the sun … to meet the demands of a new age."
Given the new technologies (Cool Earth, ViaSol, etc.) available, about 10 percent of the stimulus money could be used to install a solar-power system that will produce energy at the same cost and rate far into our future. As fossil fuel costs increase, this resource will continue to grow in value.
A sustainable energy project would probably stand a much better chance of getting funded from the upcoming stimulus money.
Chris Gross, Brooksville
Will class be a factor in trial? Feb. 2 article
Morales family can sue for justice
When I read the case of the hit-and-run death of Anthony Morales and suspect Jason Morgan Blair, it left me with a feeling of disgust that a difference in social classes might have an effect on the outcome of the trial process.
In a dissimilar case, a friend of mine, David, left the scene of an accident with property damage of a mailbox that was quickly reattached to the still-standing post. The mailbox was dented, but it went well with its already rusted condition.
Although David had a tire blowout, there was still no valid excuse for failing to stop at the scene of the accident. Still, the whole process left me with a bad taste. The private lawyer was inept at representing David. On behalf of David, he accepted a six-month probation instead of a year. When the fine was doubled, the lawyer conceded it was best not to confront the state attorney because it could lead to a more severe resolution.
At the end of the hearing, when David questioned the probation officer about the excessive fine, the response was a simple statement that "It's all about the money."
For the Morales family, it's not about the money; it's about the death of a loved one. No amount of money can bring the 35-year old man back into the loving arms of his family. Their concern that the suspect will get special consideration due to the differences in social classes is justified, especially when Jason's father is a former FHP trooper and has long time influential local contacts.
Multiple crashes and prior suspensions and the revocation of his license should prohibit his driving a motorized vehicle for a very long time. His sentence deserves no leniency.
May I suggest to the Morales family that they remember the case of the death of Ron Goldman and the eventual criminal acquittal of O.J. Simpson. Nothing will compensate for the loss of Anthony, but a civil lawsuit might be the only means to come to terms with the reality that, ultimately, "it's all about the money."
Ron Rae, Spring Hill