Officers rake in overtime | June 9
Nothing wrong with overtime
Well, Tampa Bay Times, you have sunk to a new low in trying to find news where there is none. Police officers working overtime with no obvious ill effects — what exactly makes that front-page news?
Police officers are barely paid what they're worth, criticized for having a decent pension for doing a job few care to do, and when they try to make life better by working overtime, you print an article making it seem like it's something wrong.
All I seem to see anymore with the Times is a constant effort to stir the pot and get people riled up unnecessarily, especially if the topic involves those evil no-good public employees.
Ed Marshall, St. Petersburg
Officers rake in overtime | June 9
Think about pension costs
This article presents only a partial picture of the financial benefit to an officer who earns a great deal of overtime. The other side of the coin is the impact of overtime on pension benefits.
As some of the overtime dollars are used in the computation of pension benefits, St. Petersburg taxpayers are looking at a far greater financial obligation than the amount of extra pay for one year.
Kip Janes, Seminole
Officers doing a fine job
Once more, the Times tries to sensationalize something of no significance. All the hand-wringing by council members is ridiculous. I don't like police Chief Chuck Harmon, but he is exactly right in this matter: If reviews are poor, take action; if they are good, as in all cases cited, forget it. How many very successful entrepreneurs work 64 hours a week? Lots of them.
The police personnel that I encounter at the Rays games are courteous and helpful, always with smiles on their faces. They don't seem to be stressed at all.
David Meyer, Bushnell
Finished last place? Let's throw a party! June 8, Daniel Ruth column
Not part of the tea party
Daniel Ruth has his enemies miscategorized.
He has lumped the Ron Paul supporters in with the tea party. They are two distinct groups.
The Ron Paul supporters are generally libertarians, with the more moderate often registered Republicans. The staunch libertarians are registered with the Libertarian Party.
Sometimes Ron Paul supporters may belong to a tea party group, but tea partiers seldom join Ron Paul support groups.
Tea party groups across the nation do not pine for a Ron Paul soiree at the Republican National Convention as Daniel Ruth seethes through clenched teeth. That would be the Ron Paul supporters seeking such an event, and few if any tea partiers would attend.
Barb Haselden, St. Petersburg
Two U.S. attorneys investigate leaks | June 9
Find the source of leaks
As a former Air Force fighter pilot and intelligence officer, I am outraged by the leaks of covert operations by the Obama administration. These covert operations are approved by the White House in secret sessions. The leaks could only come from the secret sessions.
Former U.S. Army Gen. Jack Keane said it was the worst breach of security he can recall in 37 years of service. It is apparent that the leaks were intended to benefit the president's re-election by portraying him as a strong leader.
I am not comfortable with the administration investigating itself through the Justice Department. Whoever participated in these leaks should be prosecuted.
Harold H. Dean, St. Petersburg
Key to growing economy is jobs, not writing checks | June 7, letter
Stop shipping away jobs
This letter from the Florida Retail Federation is correct in stating that unemployment compensation taxes hurt the small businessperson. What was not mentioned was that one of the major reasons we have so many job seekers that require that compensation is that many large corporations are outsourcing jobs to India and other nations to increase their profit line. If these jobs were kept in the United States, unemployment compensation and the taxes to support the program would be greatly reduced.
Perhaps the Florida Retail Federation could use some of its influence to change that outsourcing.
D. J. Holding, Dover
WellCare going after Medicaid contracts June 11
Company has changed
Brittany Davis' June 11 article failed to present a complete and balanced perspective on WellCare today, despite the fact that WellCare provided her with over three pages of information in response to her questions, none of which was included in the article.
WellCare today is a transformed company. WellCare acted swiftly upon learning of the wrongdoing in 2007, separated the individuals involved more than four years ago, and cooperated fully with state and federal investigations. WellCare also has its own pending litigation against the accused individuals.
Since 2007, we have made significant changes to the governance of our company. The board of directors instituted a regulatory compliance committee chaired by former U.S. senator and Florida governor Bob Graham. In addition, a new leadership team has been appointed, including a new CEO, CFO, general counsel, chief compliance officer, and several new members of our board, including a new chairman.
This new leadership team has set an exemplary "tone at the top" by emphasizing integrity, personal accountability, ethical business practices, regulatory compliance and transparency. The company has enhanced its companywide compliance program, which includes mandatory training for all employees, clear reporting obligations, and channels for anonymous alerts. WellCare's commitments and values are reflected in the daily work of thousands of our Florida-based employees dedicated to serving the beneficiaries of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
We are sensitive to the concerns of those advocacy groups that share our mission of service, a mission to provide quality health care solutions to the most vulnerable and fragile populations in Florida. It is unfortunate that the readers of the Tampa Bay Times weren't presented with the facts of who WellCare is today but given an incomplete and therefore biased perspective based on a rehash of 5-year-old information.
Jack Maurer, vice president, corporate communications, WellCare Health Plans Inc., Tampa