1. Letters to the Editor

Clearwater firefighters deserve a raise

Published Nov. 20, 2012

Top two could see a salary bump | story, Nov. 15

Firefighters deserve a raise

I am writing this on behalf of the men and women of the Clearwater Fire Department who selflessly serve the citizens of Clearwater every day. This is in response to comments made during last Tuesday's Clearwater City Council work session, specifically in regards to comments made about pay raises for the city manager and city attorney. It's also due to the 8 percent raises given to the city manager and city attorney.

To say that the city manager hasn't received a pay raise in five years is inaccurate. He received a raise when his $600 per month car allowance was rolled into his salary. That's a pay raise of $7,200 per year — far more than any other increase received by city employees this year. Add on an 8 percent raise, that's over $20,000 in pay raises this year!

There wasn't a single member of the Clearwater Firefighters Association who received a raise equal to one-quarter of the manager's raise.

Our members made pension concessions due to budget constraints of the city. It is a slap in the face of all city employees to give the manager a significant raise just days after the pension reforms passed.

Council member Jay Polglaze stated, "A one-time bonus, to me, is a slap in the face." Council member Polglaze should be reminded that the firefighters have received several bonuses in lieu of raises over the past 10 years. If one bonus is a slap in the face, what are several bonuses?

Council member Paul Gibson talked about the $30,000-per-year jobs and feels they are not as important due to a lack of "education, experience, responsibility — you've got to look at that." My members are educated, experienced, and take responsibility to a level that the council members obviously don't understand. Responsibility is something we understand and take very seriously.

Council member Doreen Hock-DiPolito talked about the raises that were received by other city employees every year. She also talked about the tough times the manager went through with the pension. The employees of the city went through a tough time with the pension by paying more for a lesser benefit.

The City of Clearwater has consistently treated the employees of the Fire Department as second-class citizens. We come to work every day and provide vital services to the citizens and visitors in our city. To give out large raises to the two highest-paid employees while asking for concessions from all other employees is not the way to treat your employees. The only raises firefighters received were after concessions were made, not because of the professional service we provide.

A good friend of mine told me, "Leadership motivates and management dictates."

John Klinefelter, Clearwater

Cheaper fire station in plans story, Nov. 14

Erect a building that will endure

One of the joys of traveling in Europe is viewing the magnificent buildings, built centuries ago and restored over the years. You don't have to look for them, they are everywhere.

Let's not skimp on the new Clearwater fire station by erecting another ugly building. Why not put up a building that will endure and serve for centuries, something that our descendants will look upon as functional, dignified and majestic?

This could be our legacy.

Doris Carroza, Clearwater

Senior day care finds a savior | story, Nov. 8

Thanks to city for saving center

Kudos to Dunedin city commissioners who, at the urging of City Manager Rob DiSpirito and the citizen volunteers on the city's social services and aging committees, voted to keep the Neighborly Care Networks senior citizen center functioning by paying for needed roof and gutter repairs.

The center's professional and caring staff provides a safe and enriching environment for our seniors, some of whom are veterans. Thank you Dunedin.

Claire Collins, Palm Harbor

Net-zero project earns praise story, Nov. 17

Green cement worth a look

I had just finished reading an article in Smithsonian about green cement when I read with interest about Dunedin's net-zero townhome project.

It mentioned the housing would include "waterproof concrete walls" and I immediately wondered if the builders had looked into a green cement in keeping with its mandate (Calera, Novacem). I am an ordinary (senior) female who knew nothing about cement until I read the Smithsonian article.

Does the average person know that globally, the only substance people use more of than concrete is water? Add to that, its production is responsible for 5 percent of the human-produced carbon dioxide emissions.

Worth considering in light of recent weather events.

Barbara Lehto, Dunedin

Band looks toward 2013 story, Nov. 17

Kudos, to band on Macy's Parade

In the midst of the David Petraeus brouhaha, looming over Tampa Bay like a dark cloud, we've got some good vibrations coming from the Tarpon Springs High School band.

Like a golden ray of sunshine, it will "strike up the band" in the 2013 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. With fierce competition, it's both an honor and a privilege to be chosen.

These students deserve a standing ovation for their hard work and dedication.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater