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Superintendent's pay raise request only a starting point

Re: Superintendent seeks 14% raise, two-year extension on contract

April 25, story

Request only a starting point

I have read many articles pertaining to what superintendent Wayne Alexander has accomplished thus far in Hernando County. I have heard the opinions (both positive and negative) of many community people, and I believe that overall he is doing an excellent job in the short period of time he has been superintendent.

I support his changes and the improvements he has put in place. I also am pleased to see that he has created a vision to meet the needs of all students throughout the county. It truly is about the kids.

But I am somewhat confused. Most people know that when a contract is in the process of being negotiated by a union or an individual, the increase asked for is always much more than what is anticipated as a settlement when all is said and done. I do believe the teachers union does this every year in its negotiations for a better contract and a good increase for all teachers.

Why is it such a surprise to people that Dr. Alexander should request 14 percent? It's really only common sense when you think about it. Don't you think he knows he's not getting 14 percent? For crying out loud, he's negotiating, just like the teachers do.

But you know what? (And this does puzzle me.) If he is negotiating with the School Board members, why would a board member share his opinion with the newspaper when this information is supposed to be confidential until it's discussed in the proper forum?

More importantly, I am more interested in knowing his final salary, which obviously won't be what he's asking for. I want to know how he will be made accountable, and I want to know his accomplishments. The answer to that is sit tight and you will see. We will all see, but we need to be fair and not throw him under the bus before we let him on board. Both Dr. Alexander and the teachers of our county deserve higher salaries, which should be based on their performance and not just across-the-board salary step increases, as I believe is the current process.

We are fortunate in Hernando County to have an excellent superintendent, many outstanding teachers and other school personnel who all deserve to be paid accordingly!

Joey Rivera, Brooksville

Re: Maybe "amateurs' deserve a chance | April 27 column

Does columnist like anything?

Well, I did it again. I swore I wouldn't, but it was early on Sunday, too early for church and I was still on my first cup of coffee. So, I did it. I read another Dan DeWitt column. I told myself things would be different. I said, "This time he'll like something." Nope!

This time DeWitt doesn't like large housing developments. But hey, who does? I'm tired of the County Commission restricting and taxing me to provide for newcomers who aren't even here yet. That part works. But then I see pictures of Commissioners Rose Rocco and Chris Kingsley. Never met Rose, but someone was not interested in projecting Chris in his best pose. DeWitt doesn't like them. In fact, he doesn't like any of the commissioners except Diane Rowden. If I were Ms. Rowden, I'd be concerned.

He throws in his agronomically trained evaluation of aquifer contamination by golf courses and home lawns. He then defines for us a city — 6,000 housing units with three golf courses. How many people live in Spring Hill?

I thought back to other articles Mr. DeWitt had written. He doesn't like RVers. They're selfish and self-centered and didn't check with him before selecting a hard-earned retirement. He doesn't like St. Augustine grass because it's "toxic" (agronomy again?) and he's not fond of those who continue to use it.

I'm obviously pushing my own opinions, but that's the point. I'm doing it on the opinion page, not on the front page. When I read the newspaper, I want information. I like to know what happened and who was involved. I realize there is always a place for opinion, but I hope it would be labeled as such. And, I hope it's not the policy of this paper to name-call and insult readers and visitors to our county.

I miss Jan Glidwell. But then, that's just my opinion. Can I say that here?

Jim Vaughn, Spring Hill

Editor's note: DeWitt is now a full-time columnist, and in that capacity, opinions are inherent.

DeWitt's opinion misses the mark

Dan Dewitt's off-base criticism of Commissioners Rose Rocco and Chris Kingsley regarding Hickory Hill is unbased and obviously not researched by Mr. DeWitt very well. First, as a Development of Regional Impact, Hickory Hill had to gain approval of the state Department of Community Affairs, a rigorous and timely review. Then it had to get approval from the Regional Planning Council, another rigorous and timely review. It had to go before the Hernando County Planning & Zoning Commission, another extensive review, and were approved again. Hickory Hill went before the Board of County Commissioners at least twice, gaining approval twice, the last time by a 4-1 margin. There were hundreds of hours of testimony, hundreds of documents, detailing every concern by professional hydrologists, environmentalists, engineers. It passed every test. Then there is the fact that at each step it has to further get approval from the Hernando County Planning Department, Public Works, Utilities and, of course, the water management district. Each and every department and agency has professionally trained personnel.

As for taking care of the land in Hernando County, Commissioners Jeff Stabins and Kingsley spearheaded the super-majority requirement for any comprehensive plan in the future. Mr. DeWitt forgot for some reason to put that in his column.

I see there were hundreds of people involved in this process and it was approved. Rocco and Kingsley were the difference? The point is, Mr. DeWitt, you are a journalist with none of the credentials of those people. You are a writer, supposedly a professional. Why is it that you think your opinion, a factless opinion based on your article, is correct?

You are right on one thing: an amateur would have done better.

Terry Nikodem, Spring Hill

Superintendent's pay raise request only a starting point 05/01/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 8:57pm]
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