Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Letters: PHCC defends hiring practices

In recent weeks, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco and Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis questioned me regarding James Nagy's employment at Pasco-Hernando Community College. Their concerns were taken seriously and I immediately launched an investigation that included a diligent analysis of official documents, including internal affairs reports. Upon completion of our investigation and prior to the Aug. 18 publication of "Doubts arise over instructor" in the Times, I advised both sheriffs that the college had no grounds to dismiss Mr. Nagy.

PHCC relies, in part, on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's secure online database that provides current employment and certifications standings for officers and instructors. The college also depends on the FDLE's Bureau of Standards to evaluate internal affairs investigations and related case information to determine if moral character violations have occurred, if grounds for disciplinary action exist, and to complete the disciplinary process as required by Florida statute and Florida Administrative Code.

According to the FDLE, after 23 years of service with the Pasco Sheriff's Office, Mr. Nagy resigned/retired in January 2011 while being investigated for violations of agency policy. In October 2011, Mr. Nagy was hired by the Tarpon Springs Police Department and administratively terminated from that agency in March 2012. This termination did not involve misconduct, according to the Tarpon Springs Police Department.

The FDLE reviewed Mr. Nagy's internal affairs investigation report during his employment in Tarpon Springs and determined no basis for action because the alleged misconduct was not sustained. The Bureau of Standards recommended the case be closed due to a lack of evidence. Additionally, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office declined to prosecute the matter, also citing a lack of evidence.

When hiring internal candidates, PHCC's screening committees review the college's employment records. An adjunct for the law enforcement academy since 1992, Mr. Nagy's PHCC personnel files document outstanding employment reviews and positive student evaluations that underscore his administrative and classroom skills.

Policies approved by the college's board of trustees and college procedures enable PHCC to operate effectively and to practice — without political influence — fair employment, discipline and termination practices. Mr. Nagy will continue to work in his part-time position at the college unless evidence is produced that clearly proves a claim of misconduct; he violates college policies or procedures; fails to perform his duties as assigned; or otherwise fails to meet college standards.

I assure the community that our academy provides appropriate training and our program is reviewed, evaluated and certified through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission, and we retain qualified law enforcement officers and instructors certified by those agencies.

Dr. Katherine M. Johnson, president, Pasco-Hernando Community College


Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

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Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Wednesday’s letters: Bill gives small businesses tax relief

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3Small businesses get tax reliefThe Senate and House have now passed their respective tax bills. Once Congress sends a final package to the White House, President Donald Trump will deliver us the most powerful tax re...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Tuesday’s letters: Transplant bill will help Medicare patients

November Letter of the MonthThe winning letter addressed the unresponsiveness of elected officials.Representatives aren’t listeningFor whom do our legislators work? I ask because my Florida senator doesn’t appear to work for me. I drove 27 miles on N...
Published: 12/04/17

Monday’s letters: A citizen’s heroic act

Suspect arrested | Nov. 29A courageous citizen’s actOn Nov. 28, a courageous act occurred in the Tampa Bay area. It was one that law enforcement professionals applaud and hope becomes more frequent. An ordinary citizen did the right thing and spo...
Published: 12/01/17

Saturday’s letters: Historic preservation process needs fixing

A preservation problem | Nov. 25, editorialApplication process needs fixingThere is a reason why smaller rather than larger groups of property owners are getting together to seek historic district designation: It is St. Petersburg’s application p...
Published: 11/30/17
Updated: 12/01/17