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Manuel family not the bad guys in Hernando County settlement

To avail of state grants settle dredge challenge | April 14 editorial

Manuels are not the bad guys here

The Manuels are now hostage takers. In today's world, that's right next to being a terrorist, isn't it?

It's not clear who wrote the misleading, half-baked, mismatched drivel. The editorial is trying to blame all the channel delays and problems on the Manuels.

Just for clarification, the settlement offered to the Manuels on Eagle Point was worked out and formulated fairly by the attorneys for both sides with input from both parties. If you are accusing the attorneys of negotiating a hostage settlement it might be wise to let them know the facts, if any, since they are officers of the court and might frown upon being accused of aiding and abetting in a ransom payment.

Try this on for size:

The Manuel LLC site (Eagle Point) was selected by the county consultant, not Manuel LLC. They came to us, not us to them. The agreement for the use of the Manuel LLC property was prepared by the county Engineering Department, reviewed by the county attorney and signed by the County Commission chairman. Manuel LLC lived up to all its commitments in the agreement and the commissioners are acting responsibly in terminating the agreement.

Manuel LLC had a legitimate agreement with the county that says the county wants certain things from Manuel LLC and Manuel LLC agreed to provide those things in return for fill material. The commission then decided to move to another site and in fairness to the Manuel LLC agreement terms and conditions, the parties negotiated a settlement, through our respective attorneys, that is not ideal for either of us, but acceptable to both parties, and was the right thing to do.

The editorial author would have you believe that this is not the way to do business and he apparently believes that the county should just walk away from a legal contract between two parties. That may be the way he does business, but it is not the way that reasonable parties should settle their differences. If that is the way he does business, I'm glad we were in an agreement with the county and not him.

Gene Manuel, Brooksville

County staffers have spare time?

On April 14, the Hernando County Commission approved (4-1) a project using the county employees and staff to construct an interim space for the judicial system within the existing county building.

Commissioner Jeff Stabins was the only dissenting vote in that decision.

His concern is that if the county has the manpower to design, estimate and complete this project in an expeditious manner, what duties would be neglected by these employees during the time involved? Do these employees (salaried and with benefits) have enough time on their hands to be in the construction business? If so, someone should review their budget.

At the May 5 budget meeting, another in-house project to relocate office space in the government center was presented to the board. As before, the Department of Public Works maintains that it is able to do the construction work in an expeditious and inexpensive manner.

As before, Commissioner Stabins objected to rushing into approving these projects without adequate examination and analysis of the proposals. It seems that the county is going into the construction business and eliminating the private sector from participating.

All of our qualified contractors pay their taxes and the multitudes of insurance, bonds, both local and state in order to participate in an open bidding manner.

In times like these, which none of us has ever seen, it is extremely difficult to survive, and those of us who have would like the opportunity to participate in the proper process of competitive bidding on these projects.

It also brings up the question of our county resources. If these departments have the time to accomplish these projects as well as their assigned duties, then one would think we either have too many extra employees or our budget is so extravagant, someone may need to take a look at some budget cuts.

In a recent bid solicitation, 49 contractors signed in at DPW solicitation No. 09-049 for the Nature Coast dental remodeling job. (The county must have missed that one.) We think that will be a very competitive offering. In the bid discussion all contractors were told that due to the expediency of the project that we would be permitted to work all hours , both night and day.

It makes us wonder that if this would be allowed to the private sector on these projects, would the county employees be offered that same incentive? Of course not. That would incur overtime costs, which the county would never be a part of in times like these. Commissioner Stabins, keep up the good due diligence in questioning these tactics.

We in the private sector don't want to interfere with the county's employees but to quote Commissioner Stabins to do these projects, "That's using half of the county's staff and what in the Lord's name are they doing right now?''

Ernie Ramirez, Weeki Wachee

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Manuel family not the bad guys in Hernando County settlement 05/11/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 11, 2009 6:27pm]
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