1. Archive

Clearwater commissioner's "army' will misfire

Editor: "Fred's Army," named for Clearwater Commissioner Fred Thomas, plans to videotape city employees caught goldbricking. It will be open season on employee tardiness, overextended morning and afternoon coffee breaks, overextended lunch periods, water cooler social breaks, extended bathroom breaks and sleeping on the job.

Modern management authorizes break-time (personal and fatigue) allowances in each workday. Employees function as human beings, not machines.

Amateur observers must differentiate between goldbricking time and authorized break time.

Observations taped during authorized break times will be misleading and worthless. And short, one-shot, limited observations are not statistically accurate enough to support meaningful assessments or conclusions.

"Fred's Army" is an unsound approach with no tangible benefits. No wonder city commissioners, city employees and union chiefs are concerned.

If Clearwater lacks a handle on a fair day's work, professional help is available. Change course now before management-employee relations boil over and spoil our sparkling image.

F. H. Smoak, Clearwater

Editor: Shades of the Third Reich! Our new gung-ho Commissioner Fred Thomas is asking for a "volunteer army" to infiltrate every Clearwater city government office and record the activities of city employees during their work day.

Every city employee should be outraged.

These employees are not children, they are working adults. They should not be made to raise their hand for permission to go to the bathroom, to take a drink of water, to take time for a moment of relaxation during their busy day, all of which Mr. Thomas no doubt believes is a waste of government time.

Is this the way this commissioner treats the employees of his Pinch-A-Penny stores? He seems to forget that city government is not _ repeat, not _ a division of his private enterprise. He has now labeled city employees as lazy, shiftless cheats and not goodenough to be city employees.

If the mayor and the other commissioners approve of such intrusion in our city government from this self-serving Fuehrer, this will be remembered at election time. Further, if Mr. Thomas persists in carrying out his "volunteer army" program, he should be asked to resign, and any member of his "army" caught photographing or interfering with activities in a public office should be fined and jailed.

L. Brotsky, Clearwater

Editor: This is a copy of a letter sent to Clearwater City Commissioner Fred Thomas.

Back in March we elected you commissioner to represent all citizens of Clearwater. Since that time you have portrayed yourself as the city savior, and now with "Fred's Army" you should be addressed as Li'l General. Snooping on city employees is ridiculous.

Fred, you are not the city savior. You are only one of five elected officials with one vote, and I suggest that you slow down, regroup and start acting like the official we elected. You have the potential to be a good commissioner and I want you to succeed, but the road you have taken is leading to failure.

Aren't you concerned that your actions can lead to low morale among our city employees? City Manager Michael Wright is responsible for the day-to-day operation of our city. Your job is policymaker. Be careful _ you could be in violation of the charter.

Your Maas plan is another ill-conceived idea. Success in Atlanta is not a guarantee of success in Clearwater. An entertainment complex will not bring more business to downtown Clearwater.

Fred, I would suggest that you listen to your friends. You have a three-year term and much can be accomplished during that time _ hopefully for the good of our wonderful city.

Consideration for others in your deliberations would be a good starting point.

J. B. Johnson, Clearwater

Editor: My congratulations to you and your staff on your interesting reporting on the antics of Fred Thomas, his latest caper having apparently disturbed even his faithful follower, Art Deegan!

Webster's New World Dictionary defines Fred's goal of chaos thus: "1. The disorder of formless matter and infinite space, supposed to have existed before the ordered universe. 2. Extreme confusion or disorder."

It seems to the writer that such a goal on the part of a self-styled servant of the public is most definitely not in the public interest.

I would much rather support him in his position of commissioner if he would come out in favor of some long-term objectives such as the replacement of the present eastern part of the Memorial Causeway with a new high-level bridge of sufficient overhead clearance to allow at least 50 feet clearance over the Intracoastal Waterway, and the building of a second bridge from Clearwater to Clearwater Beach so as to provide the residents of the beach a more positive escape in the event of a hurricane.

Think about it!

Charlie Mason, Clearwater

Alarm on Stauffer site is undue

Editor: We at Stauffer Management Co. take issue with your May 18 editorial, "Stauffer site report raises issues, settles few." We recognize, however, that your editorial was based on the draft public health report issued by the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.

A number of Tarpon Springs residents have understandably expressed concern about the possibility of health and environmental risks that may be associated with the Stauffer site. Unfortunately, the HRS report may have created unnecessary alarm. The report contains some inaccuracies and unsupported conclusions _ especially since investigations to get all the facts are currently in progress, with Environmental Protection Agency oversight.

So far, information gathered by all parties indicates that there are no significant health hazards on or off the Stauffer site. This view is supported by the facts presented, but not necessarily the conclusions, in the HRS report.

Regarding community exposure, at the March 12 EPA town meeting in Tarpon Springs, it was noted by the HRS environmental specialist that "the Stauffer site is probably one of the most secure sights I have ever seen. It's completely fenced in; there are warning signs posted and a 24-hour guard on duty. The general public is not exposed to any of the contaminants on site."

We have responded directly and in detail to the HRS draft report, as has the EPA. We urge your readers to review both the Stauffer Management Co. and EPA comments, which should be available for public review at the Tarpon Springs branch of the Pinellas County Library and at the Holiday branch of the Pasco County public library system.

Jerry F. Harris, Site Manager

Stauffer Management Co.

Tarpon Springs

A hero teaches at Seminole

Editor: This is an open letter to Seminole High School principal Richard Duncan.

Dear Mr. Duncan,

I am writing to you regarding one of the best math teachers I ever had _ Mrs. Laura Braucht. I was Mrs. Braucht's student during my ninth and 10th-grade years. She taught me pre-algebra and algebra.

Her explanations of the formulas were very easy to understand. Mrs. Braucht also went out of her way to make sure that everyone in the class understood a lesson before she proceeded. In addition, she encouraged me to push myself into more difficult math classes, such as honors geometry and Honors Algebra II.

But those are not the only reasons I feel she is such an effective teacher. Mrs. Braucht is very special because, in addition to her help in the classroom, she was available to me and other students after school.

And she gave up her free time to consult on the telephone in the evenings.

Mrs. Braucht also went out of her way to write letters of recommendation for me as I applied to colleges and for scholarships.

I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate everything she has done and what an outstanding teacher she is. Seminole High School is very lucky to have her. I will miss her next year while I am attending the University of Florida.

Roseann Stempinski

Seminole High School Class of '93