Hillsborough County administrator
Pat Bean is a solid employee
Pat Bean is a Hillsborough County employee who has worked for the county for the past 33 years. She has worked her way up through the ranks and six years ago was appointed county administrator by the Hillsborough County Commission.
Bean has good credentials, but after a lifetime of working in Hillsborough County it would be tough to come up with new, improved or different ideas. Most of her time is spent putting out fires or in meetings with staff, management and the County Commission. She was not selected for this position because of her vision or for the new skills she would bring to the job. She was appointed as a solid administrator with experience that county commissioners knew they could count on.
Commissioner Mark Sharpe wants Bean fired. He would not be able to sit in her chair for a single day without pleading for help. What ideas has he provided to help solve any of the county's financial problems?
The county administrator works for the County Commission, and with seven heads pulling in different directions it would be hard to satisfy a few much less all seven.
We elect commissioners to give Hillsborough County a vision and direction. Didn't they each have platforms touting their knowledge, skills and experience?
As county administrator, Pat Bean has made some errors. She is highly visible and scrutinized by everyone. She will also be removed sooner rather than later from her position because of politics. There is simply no excess money to fund many of the ongoing county programs and someone must take the blame.
It would be a real treat to go to county commissioners and tell them if they can't come up with new and different plans and ideas to keep county programs afloat and the budget balanced they will be removed from office.
I mistakenly thought the commissioners were supposed to be the smart ones. We elected them as leaders.
Robert Weisman, Tampa
She needs to go
I have great difficulty in understanding how the Hillsborough County Commission voted 6-1 to give Pat Bean another chance. I can't understand how Rose Ferlita, Kevin Beckner and Al Higginbotham voted to retain her since they have all been harsh critics of her vision, numerous screw-ups and her dipping into the public trough when she gave herself and County Attorney Renee Lee raises behind the back of the commission. It would have been well worth the money necessary to buy out her contract.
I just hope that she is not in a position to get her hands on any of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's $100 million grant.
Edward C. Prange, Tampa
Minority college enrollment grows | Dec. 14
Meet the challenge to aid minorities
This story highlighted the growth of minority college enrollment a decade after race-based enrollment was prohibited. As an African-American, I was particularly concerned by the cavalier way in which affirmative action ended without input from those who would be most affected by the change. State leaders did not stage listening tours until statewide protests, coupled with a march on the state capital, forced the issue.
Let us be clear: African-American enrollment has declined, and the low level of black male enrollment is particularly troubling. However, many politicians use clever sophistry to achieve their goals. For example, politicians will announce tax cuts but implement "user fees," or create "revenue enhancements" in place of simply raising taxes.
Regarding university admissions, Florida stopped using race as a criterion, yet "targets recruitment" to achieve the same goal. According to John Barnhill, director of admissions at Florida State University, "The greatest challenge remains recruiting black students — particularly men."
Consequently, why not take a page from the so-called elite institutions such as Princeton, which used affirmative action to find in my older brother a bright, qualified student who enhanced the educational environment of that university?
Keith Berry, Ph.D., Tampa
Eyes are on Obama as he heads to climate summit | Dec. 18
Money ill spent
They can't be serious! Millions of Americans are desperately seeking work, millions are trying to hold on to their homes, and the Obama administration is committing to have U.S. taxpayers join in a hundred billion dollar a year fund for "developing nations." All to make possible a "deal" on global warming, and burnish the Obama team's green epaulets!
And what will happen to this annual pourboire of $100 billion? It will go to swell the Swiss bank accounts and offshore havens of the same corrupt dictators who have squandered the billions of dollars of "aid" sent to them over the past three decades — all the while voting predictably against American interests in the United Nations.
This is where the fantasy world of liberal pieties has taken us: the ultimate defiance of common sense and American interests. Haven't we had enough?
Barry Augenbraun, St. Petersburg
Second-chance child care | Dec. 13, story
Poor picture placement
You published a picture of our preschool last Sunday. We were told by the reporter who came with the Pinellas County Licensing Board specialist that they were working on a feature article about what the licensing specialist looks for during an inspection. The article that was printed with our preschool's picture was hardly that!
The article that was printed was about child care workers with criminal records. In fact, you printed what appeared to be mug shots above the picture of our preschool. The Growing Place Preschool has worked very hard to provide quality care for children since 1978. The staff at our school are professionals who are thoroughly screened before they ever step foot inside a classroom.
Since our preschool had nothing to do with the article, we do not feel that our picture should have been associated with it. Thankfully, our parents have the utmost confidence in the care that their children receive while they are with us. However, we are concerned about the perception of our school by those who are unfamiliar with our faith-based program.
Nancy Mitchem, director, Clearwater
Don't befriend lawyers online, judges are told | Dec. 15
The plight of judges
Every desirable profession or occupation involves trade-offs. Lawyers and physicians may earn good incomes only after paying hefty overhead, staff salaries and advertisement costs to get clients and patients in the door.
Judges earn handsome salaries plus benefits, pay no overhead but must worry about re-election every six years. Worst of all, judges become financial, political and social monks and nuns, living their lives under the scrutiny of the press and the public they serve.
Over the years, many judges have confided in me that they miss the camaraderie of lawyer functions where they would get all the scuttlebutt and gossip of the legal community. Their former colleagues are fellow attorneys no longer since the invisible veil between the lawyer and the judge has been raised between them. As a result, judges frequently socialize mainly with other judges.
While the gregarious and loquacious Judge Rex Barbas is chagrined by the Facebook judicial ethics opinion, he does not have to worry about getting clients, customers or patients in the door.
David P. Carter, Esq., Seminole