COUNTY COMMISSION DISCUSSES AUDITORS PERFORMANCE/ANNIVERSARY OF GAY PRIDE BAN-Andrew Stelzer

06/07/06

Before getting into the contentious issue of Central Park Village, the Hillsborough county commission heard citizens’ comments about their gay pride ban, and tore into the performance of a key county employee. WMNF’s Andrew Stelzer has more.

To open the meeting, more than half a dozen people spoke in opposition to the ban on county recognition of gay pride events. High school student Michael Frankle noted that it was one year ago this month that the policy was passed, and he, along with several others, vowed to use the upcoming elections to remove any commissioners who supported the bigoted policy.

ACT “Gay pride is not having sex in the streets or converting people..last year in 56 seconds it was banned..for 7 years we had no major demonstrations, nobody brought to light…this voter registration card..that’s what you’ll find us doing..my generation is itching to get those in booths and put people with real values into office..�

The President of Brandon pride used his 3 minutes to announce upcoming events, including the display of a shelf of gay themed books in the Bloomingdale library on June 15th. Details about this and other events can be found at www.brandonpride.com

The annual evaluation of the county’s internal performance auditor was also on the days agenda, and Kathy Matthews, the counties auditor, revealed that the building services department has been undercharging builders for permits, for a grand total of 2.6 million dollars in the past year. Matthews said the former director had decided not to charge a 200-dollar fee for construction. Although several commissioners were outraged, no action was taken regarding the builders.

But the focus of the review was the job that Matthews herself has been doing and the issue of high turnover within the 4 person department immediately came to the forefront. Commissioner Brain Blair began addressing Matthews.

ACT “I’m not questioning your auditing skills, I'm questioning your leadership skills..starts with good management, has to check employees at beginning, and you have to have good repore.

I'm not good with that skill..�

Commissioner Tom Scott detailed some of the supervision problems.

ACT-Scott “There are serious problems with the office…anytime you have a person that comes 2 weeks..anytime you have employees come to your office come crying to your office you have problems..if you can not handle the pressure of the job then you are in the wrong field..�

Matthews defended herself by saying the employees who quit after 2 weeks had lied in her job application and was lying in emails to friends about the nature of her job. Commissioner Blair suggested that a new department head should be named, and Matthews should work under that person. Commissioner Ronda Storms said she didn’t want to give Matthews her annual merit pay increase, and told Matthews her honesty was not in her best interest.

ACT-Storms “It doesn’t help your case to say you aren’t good at hiring, it undermines the product, I wouldn’t have made those comments. The other thing I would day it’s a serious criticism..its not as if you are in change of 2000 people.�

After some further discussion, Storms then suggested that continuing the discussion in the public forum was not appropriate, and the issue was referred to the county’s human resources department.

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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