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MANAGER'S JOB WARRANTS TABS

City manager's tally: $7,560story, Sept. 9

The story about Dunedin City Manager Rob DiSpirito ignored important facts when it compared Mr. DiSpirito's expenses to other city managers. Ignoring pertinent facts distorts the story.

As a resident and business owner in Dunedin, I applaud Mr. DiSpirito for the hundreds of extra hours he works. Buying a sensible meal in a local restaurant is a reasonable price for two people giving up their personal time to conduct city of Dunedin business.

Mr. DiSpirito has demonstrated that he is a top flight city manager who has saved millions of tax dollars. Maybe other city managers should be following his example.

Bill Francisco, Dunedin

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DiSpirito doing a conscientious job

Is our Dunedin city manager, Rob DiSpirito, "out to lunch" with his feeding of the troops? I think not. First of all, DiSpirito is an honorable and conscientious city manager. Dunedin is blessed to have such a capable leader.

DiSpirito's management style is making good decisions on a full belly. Seems the City Commission agrees with this concept. If our president can make business decisions over a beer, DiSpirito can do the same over a Philly cheese hoagie. Maybe we can get DiSpirito on the Food Network show, Man vs. Food.

Rob, keep doing all the things that are making Dunedin a better place to live. If it means eating your way though the noon hour, so be it.

Bill Coleman,Dunedin

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Lunch expenses a good investment

Regarding the "news" about how much our Dunedin City Manager Rob DiSpirito spends on food during the many lunches and dinners he spends working for the citizens of Dunedin, I wanted to echo the comments made by Vice Mayor Julie Scales and Commissioner Dave Carson. Such spending is without a doubt a good investment, and given that it averages less than $12 a day, it's clear Mr. DiSpirito isn't ordering steak and lobster for every meal.

It seems to me if the city gets an extra hour (or more) of work every day from Mr. DiSpirito for only $12, we should count our blessings. I have personally witnessed his professionalism and dedication to the city and hope the commission continues to support his work ethic. I certainly will.

Jane Baird, Dunedin

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Picking up the tab not appropriate

Dunedin City Manager Rob DiSpirito spends more on working breakfasts and lunches in a year than city managers from Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Largo, Temple Terrace, Tarpon Springs and Plant City combined! Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne spends $1,600 less than DiSpirito with three times the population of Dunedin. There is something terribly wrong with this picture.

We are in a major recession, depression, or whatever you want to call it. People are losing their jobs and cannot find other work. Families are finding it harder and harder to pay their bills and put food on the table. Everyone has been called upon to downsize, conserve, or do without.

Yet some public servants seem to be above it all when it comes to themselves. Dunedin has followed suit by cutting jobs and trimming expenses such as closing the only city pool we have for the winter. Yet this city manager justifies food and other expenses on the taxpayer's dime like a high roller.

Spending cuts should be made across the board, even at the top. I don't see how you can rationalize this wasteful spending by making lame excuses that these lunches "are a totally common practice," when everyone else has to cut back and sacrifice. Do you mean to tell us that big deals can't be made over a cup of coffee instead of a $90 lunch when some families spend less than that on groceries for a week? This whole scenario is self-serving opportunism and not for the benefit of the entire community.

Karen and Ben Burton, Dunedin

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Christmas spirit to encircle vets' gravesites - story, Aug. 25

Wreaths for fallen vets on Dec. 12

Thank you for printing the excellent article about the efforts of Stacy Johnston and members of the Ladies Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10209 in Spring Hill, to honor our veterans buried at Florida National Cemetery near Bushnell this Christmas. Although Stacy and I are members of different veteran organizations, we have the same goal: to honor our veterans.

For the past several years each December members of the American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion and Legion Riders in District 16 (Pinellas and Pasco counties) have attended wreath-laying ceremonies at Bay Pines National Cemetery. The wreaths are donated by Worchester Wreath Company. Through their generosity and patriotism over the past 17 years, more than 10,000 wreaths have been donated and placed on veterans graves each December.

On Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009, at noon, the wreath-laying ceremony will take place at all national cemeteries in our country. Please make this event a holiday tradition with your family and attend at the national cemetery closest to your home. What better way to say thank you to those who asked for no thanks.

Sharon Damsgard, president, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 275, Dunedin

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