1. Archive

Do-nothing EDC hasn't helped county's growth

Editor: Re: County decides to end relationship with EDC, March 14 Hernando Times:

Does this county have such a short-term memory that it can forget the current Economic Development Commission has really done little to help this county?

I am not sure where County Administrator Paul McIntosh's loyalties lie, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that it is not with the residents of Hernando County. Being part of the 50-plus crowd, my memory wanders away from time to time, but I can't see employing the people who have been party to the do-nothing EDC.

Hernando County is listed as one of the fastest-growing counties in Florida and it will continue to bring in business without any help or hindrance from an EDC.

If my information is correct, we have the wife of the Hernando Today's publisher, Bonnie Chichester, knocking down $55,000 a year and $200 per month gas expense allowance, which she takes every month and does not have to provide any documentation for the usage. This translates into a $57,400 salary, along with paid medical benefits and a very healthy 401K savings plan. I am not picking on any one staff member, but only have the information on that one.

And we have little or nothing to show for our tax dollars spent padding their nests. They are now stating they still cannot release information they may be working on. It appears they are holding the information (they've already been paid to get from our tax dollars) hostage, with the ransom being a continuing job with the county.

County Administrator McIntosh stated that "The cost of the interim group" would be $145,000 in addition to, not including, operating expenses. Ah, but he is throwing us a carrot by also stating he is leaving $165,500 in the county's budget. How about leaving $310,500 in there until we hire and train a new, untarnished team to bring development in here.

How effective do you really think the current staff is at this point? Industries that might be considering residency in Hernando County must certainly have read of the problems and lack of faith we have in the current EDC staff. Would you consider dealing with the same people who have already proven to their own County Commission they could not do the job?

Mr. McIntosh seems to have a love affair with the EDC and won't let it go even though the commission has seen fit to do so. What is behind the push, Mr. McIntosh? Are you worried the publisher of Hernando Today will look upon you unfavorably if you don't concede and keep his wife occupied, collecting more tax money?

Commissioner Mary Aiken is right when she states "We need to be done with it, and make a clean cut." I just hope she is not right in the statement that she will be overruled by the rest of the commissioners, because the plus and minus check marks on the political chalk board are starting to add up unfavorably for several of the commissioners and their flip-flop actions.

Lynette Ball

Spring Hill

Was columnist playing favorites

or looking for a piece of flesh?

Editor: Re: Honesty blunts political attack, March 11 column by Jeff Webb:

In reading Mr. Webb's editorial, I was confused by his attack on Spring Hill Fire Rescue District Commissioner Bob Kanner. Mr. Webb condemned Mr. Kanner for wanting his piece of flesh, but in reading that column it seems Mr. Webb was the one who wanted a piece of flesh.

Mr. Webb quoted two other commissioners, one who said he may have been lied to by fire Chief Michael Morgan and another who said if Morgan did lie he should be looking for a new job.

No bad quotes from Mr. Kanner, yet Mr. Webb chastised Mr. Kanner for wanting to suspend the chief for a week without pay.

Where is the same treatment for other commissioners who wanted to punish the chief? Instead, Mr. Webb chose to praise them.

Is Mr. Webb playing favorites or just looking for his piece of flesh?

Alan Setelius

Spring Hill

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