Monday’s letters: HART needs to expand list of CEO finalists

Monday’s letters to the editor.
Published January 11
Updated January 11

HART should aim higher for new leader | Editorial, Jan. 12

HART needs to expand its search

Hillsborough County residents sent a powerful message about the importance of solving our growing transportation challenges by approving a 1-cent sales tax. This is the most important moment in the history of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority.

With the search for a new CEO under way, the HART board of directors should select a proven leader deserving of this responsibility, who can usher in a new era for transportation in Hillsborough County and in Tampa Bay. The stakes are too high to not get this right.

On Monday, the members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Executive Search will review video interviews and determine which of the four candidates on the “short list” will interview in person with the HART board in February. We’re concerned this candidate pool offers limited experience in serving as the chief executive of a transit agency, and certainly not one as robust as HART will be with its new dedicated funding source.

We urge the HART board to expand its list of finalists, take more time to seek public comment and conduct interviews, and be willing to start over if we haven’t attracted the skilled leader we need.

We applaud the HART board for initiating the search process after the results of the referendum were clear and for hiring a nationally recognized search firm to lead the effort. We respectfully ask them to take the steps we’ve outlined to ensure our future success.

If the right candidate does not come forward during this round of recruitment, we encourage the HART board to go back to the drawing board. Expediency should not drive this process. Our expectations are high, and we shouldn’t settle for less.

Chad Loar and and Barry Shevlin

The writers are, respectively, the regional president of PNC Bank and the CEO of Vology, and serve as co-chairs of the Tampa Bay Partnership’s Transportation Working Group.

Don’t fall for these doomsday predictions | Column, Jan. 10

Reason for some gloom

David Von Drehle’s column honors the ingenuity of the human brain and spirit. He certainly makes his point that we’ve managed to tackle scarcity challenges faced by a growing population through invention and mass production. However, he does not at all address the costs incurred, the most important of which is the health of our planet and ecosystem. The amazing amounts of production he cites ignores the fact that were dumping carbon into our atmosphere and oceans at unprecedented rates, resulting in runaway client change, acidification of the ocean, and unmitigated eradication of both plant an animal fauna. He mentions China as being “hampered” in growth because of unreasonable population management policies, yet for years they have had the fastest-growing economy. It’s just too bad the people living there can’t see the sun in the sky on a cloudless day due to air pollution from uncontrolled and unregulated production. (I’ve been there, and the air actually tastes as bad as it looks.)

Should we really be optimistic in thinking we’re on a sustainable path?

Joseph Rocco, Clearwater

The wall and the shutdown

Flip side of a coin

Boy, do I miss “E Pluribus Unum.”

James Dina, Dunedin