Re: After tumult, healing begins | April 27 story
There is a vast array of conspiracy theories. JFK, Jimmy Hoffa, UFOs, Marilyn Monroe and AIDS are just a few. People can be very imaginative and manipulative, going to great extremes to prove their point with twists and turns of a controversial subject. Validation might be in the confines of their minds, but there always will be those who share those beliefs.
Still, speculation doesn't resolve the issue. Most, if not all, theories are brought about by paranoia. I suppose I fit into that psychological profile because there are some very interesting developments of late that deserve consideration. Hernando County may very well have its own conspiracy coming to light at a very opportune time.
Human Resources Director Barbara Dupre has been given a lump-sum payoff in exchange for the honorable decision to resign from a position she has held for 10 years. Her escapades include such tidbits as mismanagement, nepotism, the use of e-mail to solicit petition cards and failing to implement recommendations to bring efficiency to the department's policies for the benefit of the county and its employees.
Utilities Department employees have been suspended, with pay, for their part in harassing co-workers with racial slurs and innuendos. A supervisor gave his resignation rather than face disciplinary action. The seriousness of the situation is demonstrated by the involvement of the EEOC. Dupre's ineptitude in addressing the issue is another example of her alleged incompetence.
The Emergency Management Department has its own problems, the full extent of which has yet to be played out. Former secretary Stephanie Anderson allegedly gave herself nearly $10,000 overtime pay that was unwarranted and unverifiable. Her boss, director Tom Leto, has been fired, his oversight of the department put in question.
County Administrator David Hamilton is overseeing the developments of all of these situations. He has to be admired for being ambidextrous though these and other challenges that he inherited due to the actions and inaction of previous administrators.
Is it possible this all began when Bonnie Dyga was county administrator (when Dupre was hired)? Did subsequent administrators Paul McIntosh, Richard Radacky, Gary Adams and Gary Kuhl have a part in what has been brought to light recently? Perhaps each of their early departures was due, in part, to the goings on in county government. Perhaps they had reached a point where they could no longer turn their heads from too many improprieties in too many departments. Perhaps they realized they couldn't wash their hands clean in dirty water.
Is it a coincidence that the dismissals of certain employees are occurring when budget hearings are to begin, and at a time when the hiring of replacement employees could result in lower compensation that could ease the budget crisis? At a time when a reduction in county services and employees is mandated by the passage of Amendment 1?
And the final kicker-question is: Have I become a part of this conspiracy?
Ron Rae, Spring Hill
Re: We grind up natural treasures for mulch | May 9 Dan DeWitt column
Want mulch? Think hemlock
Canada does it, too. Our Red Cedars have all but disappeared due to the demand for mulch.
Hemlock would be a much more sustainable alternative. Why they don't do it we don't know. I think we have lived in the best years of our planet. Now everything is dying.
Maryrose Marshall, Tullahoma, Tenn.
Re: The legal perspective on car insurance | May 9 guest column by Jason Melton
Car insurance dents the wallet
This was an excellent article concerning the varied types of coverages. The writer did a good job. However, I am always disappointed when costs are fluffed over with the use of words such as "marginal costs."
In my opinion, it once again speaks to an evident lack of understanding concerning the economic impact of insurance to average American families struggling to pay for everyday expenses, especially in Florida and Hernando County.
Rhetorically, do many evidently assume money is a non-issue for families? In fact the cost of mandated insurance has put many, to use an old cliche, "in the poor house," or forced to do without.
Now a car is required to get around in Florida. To think people living off $12,000, $15,000 or less than $20,000 dollars a year gross, and who have two cars, can afford $1,200, $1,500 or even more every 6 months, that it is not a major budget impact is foolish. They are forced to take insurance that the state mandates and offers little choices or options.
If you don't pay they send a bill collector after you, you lose your license, then you can't go to work if you don't have public transportation, etc.
Yes, something has to give, my friend, and people cut expenses where they have to. Yes, I understand you insure the car, not each driver. So, why do they make it rough on people and force them to have to pay for extra drivers? Why? Money. It is that simple.
These companies bleed the poor and the average, using the law as they see fit. And those who write the laws? Well, what can we say? The proof is in the works. They just do not understand and perhaps just don't really care. You know, "There but for the grace of God go I … "
Robert Melaccio Sr.,
Time for some tough love, America | May 13 guest column
It takes a crisis to get our attention
As a rule of thumb Americans never act until there is a crisis. The floor beneath their feet has to be on fire before they'll take a step.
The reason for this isn't lethargy or indolence or procrastination, or even indifference; the problem is a sense of futility and exasperation with their fellow citizens. The average American can't be less interested in a crusade while there is still time to make a dime or steal one from the public treasury.
In the American mind, a crusader is a skinny man with a pencil neck and no chin and the shrill matron who made elementary school difficult. The American knows these summer soldiers and sunshine patriots will abandon them when the crisis comes. Crusaders inevitably become rear echelon coat-holders when the fighting starts.
The crisis must come, and the crisis brings with it a battalion of natural leaders. This is where we are.
James B. Johnson, Port Richey