Thursday, June 17, 2010

Letter: County government lost in pettiness

By Conrad Matt

Editor: It appears that Ryan Dettra, Amphitheatre director, has fallen victim to his lack of experience in local government. The old Japanese proverb applies here too, ie., "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down." In this case he is the nail that sticks up by trying to overcome massive wasteful inertia which is the hallmark of government. And the petty officials in charge are the hammer which placed him on administrative leave.

It is government's role to take taxpayer funds and spend them to reward political supporters. I have no idea who or how much secured the contract for Bush Construction, maybe Tom Manuel. Who knows? After a few more years (if he doesn't quit in disgust first) Dettra will learn not to expose the truth for what it is. Who is at fault for the waste, $30,000 on unusable interior plans or, who selected a higher bidder, I know not.

The same thing goes on in Jacksonville every day.

But Dettra should have noticed in the paper the huge golden parachute that the County Commission gave County Administrator Michael Wanchick. From that, he should see that exposing any possible misdeeds of Wanchick will tarnish the image of the County Commission.

The writer on Wednesday, who belittled Dettra in his letter to the editor, was way off base. Dettra has plenty of business acumen, it's "government acumen" he lacks. "Government acumen" calls for being discrete and underhanded and tolerating a certain level of waste and abuse, something that both Dettra and John Sundeman (Mosquito Control District commissioner) have yet to learn. Perhaps they think they can bring private sector efficiency to government? Good luck. The private sector is about getting things done, while government is about enlarging one's power base and justifying one's existence at the public trough.

Everyone with an appreciation for amplified music, knows of the pivotal role played by Dettra in getting some of the biggest names in music to come to St. Augustine.

In short, "Those who can, do; those who can't, run for office."

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