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Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 9, 2010 5 years ago

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A proud mayor stands by the panel's work

by: Kelly Kirschner Mayor, City of Sarasota

Dear Editor:

Regarding your Aug. 26 editorial, specifically, your comments:

“Reading between the lines of last week’s news report on the meeting of the Police Advisory Panel members (i.e. Chief Susan Chapman), police department commanders and (City Manager Robert) Bartolotta, it’s evident that Chapman, a crony of Mayor Kelly Kirschner, is going too far in pushing her agenda into the management and operations of the police department.”

I am proud to have cronies like Susan Chapman and the nine other citizen volunteers who gave the community hundreds of hours over a period of six months to review the policies and procedures of the Sarasota Police Department.  

I am also proud to have cronies that include the three technical experts who all work or live in our area, who collectively have nearly a century in law enforcement experience in academics and on the street.  

I am proud to live in a community where we have the resources and knowledge to effectively participate in creating visions and implementations of our visions to achieve the best in governance; a place where we don’t need to bring in the next expert consultant group from out of state to tell us what it is we want, need or should get from our tax-financed investments.  

Collectively, the citizen panel and technical expert panel unanimously created and approved a comprehensive report on changes we can make to continue to ensure that we have one of the best police departments in Florida.  

As the largest annual expenditure in the city’s budget — at $31 million for 2010-11, the police department not only is allocated 140% of all of our ad-valorem property taxes every year, but its budget is twice as large as neighboring cities of Bradenton and North Port — cities of larger population, geographic size and lower crime rates.  

As we have said at the commission table on a number of occasions, this $31 million is not an entitlement program, but an investment that the community and members of our watch-dog media should ensure delivers the commensurate and exemplary returns that one would expect from such a community commitment to tax themselves for the same.  

I am sure The Observer Group supports us in this endeavor, and as such, I am proud to include your team as members of my long list of community-minded cronies.

With all due respect, it would be best to strike The Sarasota Observer “team” from your list of cronies. Community-minded, yes, we are. Cronies, no. — Editor

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