Thursday, March 22, 2018
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


Friday’s letters: Think through assault weapons ban

Gun controlThink through assault rifle banI recently emailed a Florida state representative who had pledged, among other things, to ban assault rifles in the state. I asked him if he would ban the sale and transfer of these guns or ultimately make th...
Published: 03/22/18

Thursday’s letters: School safety requires funding

Constitution Revision CommissionSchool safety requires fundingThe Constitution Revision Commission should consider amending a proposal (45, 93 or 72) to allocate the necessary recurring funding for the new school safety mandates, separate from the ba...
Published: 03/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let the teachers decide on guns

Trump touts arming staff as key in plan for school security | March 12It’s the teacher’s call on weaponsPlease, let’s try an alternate view about guns in the classroom. First, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the preponderance of letters about guns ...
Published: 03/20/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Published: 03/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Published: 03/19/18

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18