Sarasota News Leader


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 96 of 115

as well have been speaking Greek for the lack of clarity in his responses to the board. He did not have a look of abject terror, but his entire interaction with the commissioners reminded us of a child being confronted by a parent over something very naughty the child has done. We feel sure almost every parent has been through that type of scenario, with the child trying very hard not to 'fess up in a timely fashion. After all, the child figures the longer it takes for the parent to get to the root of the problem, the longer the child staves off punishment. Thankfully — mercifully — Harmer must have been as frustrated as we were. After the com- missioners returned from their lunch break, the board took one item on its agenda before Chairman Charles Hines gave Harmer the floor. That was when we learned that Harmer had spent 90 minutes — practically the entire lunch break — in a session with employees to get that much-needed translation of what Anderson had spent almost 45 minutes trying not to say. And what was the summation? For years, apparently, Sarasota County has been put- ting out bid solicitation packages for mowing without knowing for sure how many acres are in each of its zones. However, because of a provision in the mowing contract process, the owners of a company who suddenly realized their employees were covering far more area than the contract specified could go back to county staff, point out the situation and have their contract amounts adjusted accordingly. To their credit, the commissioners kept their jaws in place instead of allowing them to drop in uni- son as Harmer went through those facts. Last June, when the commissioners logged an earlier round with Anderson over failed mowing contracts, he never mentioned any- thing about the acreage errors or contract clauses. When pressed about why contracts kept failing, his response was that too many of the firms bidding on them seemed unpre- pared for the level of mowing required by the county in its zones. No one pointed that out last week. Yet, Anderson conceded he knew about the acre- age and contract problems in June 2013. We were a little surprised, frankly, that several board members took pains to tell Anderson things were much better since he had taken over the mowing responsibilities. Yes, they are, and perhaps that is why they did not want to scare him off. Still, it was with obvious and considerable angst four of the commissioners — Barbetta remained in opposition — felt they had no Commissioners Joe Barbetta and Christine Robinson were absolutely on target when they pulled a mowing contract renewal from the board's May 6 consent agenda to ask why the board should spend $255,645 more than the original bid amount to renew the contract for another year. OPINION Sarasota News Leader May 16, 2014 Page 97

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Sarasota News Leader - 05/16/2014