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Civic leaders vie for top job

Published Oct. 18, 2005

On a Wednesday night in February 1989, Sal Fico and Nick Morana stood side by side with other members of the Spring Hill Civic Association at a special workshop of the Hernando County Commission. There, for more than two hours, they led association members' pleas to county commissioners for help with the enforcement of the group's deed restrictions.

On Thursday, Fico and Morana will again talk about deed restrictions _ but they'll be far from together.

The two are running against each other for the presidency of the 1,200-member civic association, which will hear candidate speeches, then pick a new slate of officers and directors at its meeting on Thursday night.

Fico, the incumbent president, says that if re-elected he will continue the group's vehement fight against deed restriction violators that earlier this month resulted in a lawsuit against the county.

Morana, who served two and a half terms as president of the association in the mid-1980s, says that if he is elected, he too will continue to fight deed restriction violators. But he won't limit the association to that issue alone, as he says Fico has done.

"We (civic association members) are dedicated to improving the quality of life overall in Spring Hill," said Morana, 65, a retired U.S. Army civilian employee from Massachusetts. "Deed restrictions and home businesses are important . . . but there are so many different other concerns that we should be addressing also."

Morana said he has developed a list of 50 issues affecting Spring Hill residents _ ranging from the frequency of neighborhood sheriff's patrols to the large numbers of garage sales. If elected, he said, he will present the issues to association members and will designate the group's officers to pursue those that members see as most important.

Fico said he, too, will question members on what they think are the most important issues for the civic association if he is re-elected. But he said that as long as members keep the issue of deed restriction enforcement at the top of the list, that is what he will continue to champion.

"That's what it's all about," said Fico, 69. "That's the only thing the people are hollering about."

Fico, a retired pipe-fitting supervisor from Connecticut, said that if re-elected he also will continue to push for an alliance with the Spring Hill Home and Property Owners Association, which he has said will give more financial clout to the fight against deed restriction violators.

Two weeks ago, the civic association filed suit against the county, charging that it does not follow its own zoning ordinances regulating home-based businesses. The civic association's deed restrictions also prohibit any home business that may be considered a nuisance to neighbors.

Also at issue in the campaign for presidency of the group is the management of civic association meetings.

Fico, who has been accused by some members of managing the civic association with a heavy hand, said that if he is re-elected he will appoint a sergeant at arms who will have the authority to oust any unruly member from the association's monthly meetings.

"Now, everybody just gets up when they want and disrupts the whole meeting," Fico said. "With this, the first guy that gets out of hand gets thrown out."

Morana, who served as president of the group in 1984-85 and for part of 1988, said he, too, sees the need for better-managed meetings. But he said it can be done professionally.

"When I was president, I think the meetings were a lot more orderly," Morana said. "There's no need for all of the shouting and yelling that goes on now."

Also at Thursday's meeting, members will choose a new second vice president from candidates Stan Skalski and Jim McLaughlin; a new correspondence secretary from candidates Marietta Prahl and Rosalie Fredericks; and three directors from candidates Morty Miller, Marie Harrison, Maurice Lubee, Roger Olberg, Henry Brunjes and Doris Olszewski.

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