The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida on March 7, 1977 · Page 8
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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida · Page 8

Orlando, Florida
Issue Date:
Monday, March 7, 1977
Page 8
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Sentinel Star Orliimlo. Horiila 8-A Monday, March 7, 1977 , Metro I Orange County consultant costs near $1 million By JANE HEALY , Sentinel star Staff Orange County spent almost $1 million last year for engineering, architectural and legal consultants. More than 40 per cent of the money went to one engineering firm, and another 25 per cent went to one law firm. A check of county financial records for 1976 revealed the county paid $990,563 from its $90 million budget for consultants. The expenditures included: ' $430,130 to VTN Inc., the county's sewer and Water consultants. Richard Shanklin, VTN vice president, said his firm did almost all the county's sewer and water studies for 1976, when the county bought 10 sewer plants. r $261,850 to the law firm of Mateer, Harbert, Bechtel and Phalin, the county attorneys. More than half of the amount was for legal work on bond Issues. According to Stewart Hartman, county fiscal adviser, $110,000 was for work on a $33 million issue to acquire the 10 sewer plants. Another $115,000 was for retainer fees, $8,000 less than the county budgeted. $154,568 to Architects Design Group of Florida, Inc. for the design of a $3 million county jail. $86,553 to Glace and Radcliffe Inc., the county's primary water engineering consultants. $13,199 to Helman, Hurley, Charvat and Peacock Architects Inc. for design of buildings in the county parks system. $33,027 to Bowyer Singleton Associates for engineering and surveying consultation. County officials defended the consultants' fees, saying they provide the expertise the county lacks. BUT, as the county grows, it may be moving toward hiring staff to provide those services. Generally, County Administrator James L. Harris said, the smaller the county, the more consultants are used. "We can set up in-house or have consultants," Harris said. "But you get into the, question of using private enterprise versus the government doing it on an in-house basis." But whether consultants save the county money is another question. Although County Comptroller Kenneth D. Kienth said he thinks they often do, Harris said "it's a judgment call." ONE PROBLEM with doing too much In-house work, Harris, Kienth and Assistant County Administrator Norman Pellegrini said, is that when the major work is over, the county is left with extra staff. And sometimes, Harris added, governments have a tendency to keep those experts around until the next job by creating work for them. How are the consultants chosen? BEFORE 1974, when the state's competitive negotiations act for engineers, architects and surveyors took effect, commissioners chose whomever they wanted. VTN has been engineering consultant since 1969 and has been paid a few million dollars by the county. The firm is not subject to competitive negotiations because its open-ended contract was signed before 1974, Harris said. When the county wants a consultant now it must advertise for the job, review applications and then have the commission list its choices. If the commission chooses a firm and can't negotiate a satisfactory fee, negotiations begin with the commission's second choice and so on. THERE is no competitive bidding. Harris said the process is such a headache many governments choose to work in-house to avoid it. Choosing a county attorney is strictly up to the commission. The present firm was appointed in 1972. THE COUNTY will probably reach the point in a few years, Harris said, in which it needs a staff attorney for routine work and a firm retained for major work. A check of other Central Florida counties Seminole, Osceola, Polk and Lake revealed half the counties had their own staffs. The counties all smaller than Orange had legal budgets ranging from $11,500 in Osceola to $140,000 in Seminole. Seminole and Polk have staff attorneys. Ctrl Ber9auistSntlnel Star Florida highway patrolmen examine damage of the wreckage on Orange Blossom Trail that took the life of Walter 'Skip' Collins, right, Kissimmee mechanic and scoutmaster, and injured the driver of the auto Life of Kissimmee mechanic, scoutmaster snuffed out as truck veers, flips By MELANIE BOWMAN Sentinel Star Staff It was to be a Saturday afternoon trip to Orlando to make some extra cash. But for 22-year-old Walter "Skip" Collins of Kissimmee it was a fatal trip. Collins and a neighbor, Joseph Byk Jr., were on their way home along South Orange Blossom Trail. Collins had sold a transmission for $15 near Winter Park. The men were planning to take their wives to the last night of the Central Florida Fair, Byk said Sunday. . But that was before 1:45 p.m. Saturday. A truck, driving north, suddenly wheeled across lanes in front of southbound traffic, and flipped over, hitting Collins' pickup truck and pinning a second car. Police later said a brake line on the truck failed and the driver, unable to stop, Swerved into a gap in oncoming traffic to avoid a rear-end collision. Collins was killed. Byk was in fair condition at Orange Memorial Hospital Sunday. The other motorist, Walter Knight, 37, Sanford, was treated at Orange Memorial Saturday. MONDAY THROUGH Friday, Collins was a mechanic for the City of Kissimmee. But he didn't confine his fix-it talents to the job with the city, neighbors on Hickoc Place said. They described him as a "backyard mechanic" alwavs willing to give other Tohope Estates residents a hand with their car repairs. EVEN THE pickup truck he'd fixed and was driving Saturday was one result of his automotive handiwork, neighbor Alice Buccini said. "He was like a son to us. A real nice guy," she said. The t r a n s m i ssion deal Saturday afternoon "only took us five minutes," Byk said in a telephone interview Sunday. Then they were on their way home. COLLINS, 2521 Hickoc Place, recently became the scoutmaster for Troop 291 and spent last weekend on a canoe trip with his scouts. The troop, which is rebuilding its membership, held its first Court of Honor in several years under Collins leadership. "He was a great person, a nice, all-American young man," a neighbor said. "He was always there to help you if you needed it." He is survived by his wife Jeannie Carolyn; parents, Mr. and Mrs; Richard O. Sr. of Os-teen; a sister, and three brothers. ' - - Kirk A. Sporman, 21, Cas-selberry, driver of the truck, was charged with careless driving in the accident. Survivors of Williston shooting still puzzled by mob-styled 'hit' By M. C. THOMAS Sentinel Star Staff WILLISTON Until two months ago, assassination in the night was just something the farming people of Williston experienced on television. " Now, housewives cut their shopping trips to Ocala and Gainesville short so they can make the 30-mile drive back to their Levy County town of 3,000 people before dark. Talk at the corner convenience store and over the pharma- cist's counter today includes words like "mafia" and "mob." AT 9:20 p.m., Jan. 8, Walter H. Scott, a 64-year-old retired border patrolman who had moved from Miami to nearby Archer four years before, was driving three friends home from a dinner at the Holiday ' House Restaurant in Ocala. Their wives were in a car ahead of them. , Eugene T. Bailey, a 77-year-old retired businessman and former Williston mayor, was sitting behind Scott on the ride, along U.S. Highway 27. Bailey chatted with William O. Gilreath, 73, and William H. Harris, 66, as Scott followed the tail lights of the wives' car ahead, leading the way home through the peaceful, rolling hills and horse farm country 'of Marion County. SUDDENLY, THE window beside Bailey exploded. A shotgun blast hit Scott squarely in the back of the head. He slumped over the steering wheel dead. The car crashed off the road, ripping through underbrush and miraculously missing pine trees in the wooded area. It came to rest 300 feet off the road. "We were driving along and all of a sudden, I heard a blast," Bailey recalled Saturday. "I thought it was a tire blowing out, but then there was glass all over me and I knew it wasn't a tire." The wives continued on their journey, unaware their husbands were no longer following. AS THE men, dazed, shook off the effects of the crash, they began climbing out of the car. A man, wearing a ski mask, came out of the darkness, and paused to look at Gilreath and Harris. Turning to Bailey, the man fired a .25 caliber pistol, hitting Bailey twice in the body and once in the face. i. Investigators said the masked man fired a fourth bullet in Scott's head before he vanished, leaving Gilreath and Harris in shock, but unhurt. After he was shot, Bailey said he got back into the car and propped his feet up in the rear window in an attempt to slow his 'Charlie at large' bleeding. "I'm sure that's what saved me." Bailey has almost recovered from his wounds. He is to be released Wednesday from North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville. From his hospital bed over the weekend Bailey said he still hasn't been able to think why anybody, would want him dead and is sure that th whole incident was a case of mistaken identity. "I REALLY think it was a mistake. I think somebody thought we were somebody else." Apparently there are as many theories in Williston as there are people, especially suspicions about mafia involvement. Jack Hoy Is mayor or Williston, a position Bailey held for many years. A BIG, genial man, he runs the Dixie Lily operation in Williston and with his wife sometimes accompanied the Baileys on their regular Friday night dinner excursions. "A lot of people couldn't see how something like that happened in a little rural community like this, a long way from any mob activity," Hoy said. "Quite a few of the ladies who used to go shopping to Gainesville and Ocala and be late returning won't do it now." Perry Koon, also a former Williston mayor who now runs an insurance and real estate business, disagreed that the ambush had started everybody locking their doors at night. "I think people are stunned. They are shocked by it, that anything like this can happen," he said. The town is certainly not alarmed about it. "Concerned, yes, but it hasn't created any wave oi terror. Inmate urges ban of TV violence shows in prisons A William P. Mays is a prisoner at the Lake Correctional Institute doing six months to 20 years for manslaughter. When he was 17 years old he killed a man with a knife. He thought it was self-defense; the court disagreed. Mays is a story all in himself and in future columns, you'll hear more about him. Right now, while everyone is in a dither about violence on Charles Reese television and its effect, or possible effect, on kids in the living room, listen to Mays: . "What I am saying is simple," he wrote in a letter to State Sen. Jim Glisson (which Glisson hasn't received yet). "The time has come for Florida lawmakers to ban TV violence shows and movies in its prisons and either replace the same with educational, musical and other non-violent films or nothing! "SUCH A measure would not constitute a violation of prisoners rights when employed uniformly throughout the penal system. Additionally, the money now being spent yearly on motion picture rentals for the inmate population could be better spent on more constructive recreation such as arts and crafts or educational material for prison libraries. "Such a measure could instruct either the Department of Offender Rehabilitation secretary or his prisoner superintendents to compile a weekly schedule of authorized television shows and programs permissible for inmate viewing, deleting those with violence but not regular news broadcasts, and ordering barracks, dormitory and cellblock guards who control the televisions anyway, to ensure that unauthorized programs are not turned on. "As a recent Gallop survey shows, 70 per cent of Americans believe TV violence is linked to rising crime. Yet, despite the evidence, society confines an offender only to allow him to sit around night after night soaking up new and better ways to commit more and more crime when released which is supported by the rate of recidivism. It's sickening and, in fact, downright stupid. "FOR YEARS now I have watched inmates sit before telev'nion sets glued to their chairs as some madman kills a cop on some ill-conceived movie not fit for your children's eyes ... I wish you could join me some niht to watch those watching TV violence. After a while, yaw too, are bound to feel sick or your stomach as I often do when I see the smiles ad scheming eyes." Mays has a valid point and one which the legislature should address. It is stupid to confine men for violence and then expose them to it incessantly on a vicarious basis. It seems elementary that such a practice is counter-productive to the touted goal of rehabilitation. Mays, by the way, does more than just talk about problems. While in prison, he formed an organization called the American Crime Prevention Rehabilitative Services with the idea of helping victims of crime and of helping released prisoners stay out of prison. SEVERAL ORLANDOANS are working with him on a volunteer basis. Theirs is an entirely all-volunteer effort and funded only and so far sparingly by private donations. If Mays had not formed his organization, if he had not complained of abuses by guards, he would be out now. The prison bureaucracy doesn't like him. To get out, you have to keep your mouth shut. Before you decide that Mays is just another punk looking for sympathy, let me quote a couple of paragraphs from a personal letter he wrote me. "I'LL TELL you something, Mr. Reese. I sit here in this prison day after day and I can see the James Earl Rays, the Giles, the Bremers, the Soledad brothers and many, many others. They are waiting, knowing some day they will be released and follow in the footsteps of those like John Paul Knowles (a parolee who killed again). "They know it, prison officials know it, you know it. Yet, what is being done about it? The do-gooders Where's Charlie? Righl here, larger than ever Here he is, the Sentinel Star's freewheeling Charlie Reese, launching a new column that will appear each Monday, Wednesday and Friday in addition to his regular Sunday editorial page column. In "Charlie at Large," Reese will zero in on a number of targets in his provocative and hard-hitting stir 'em up style. in criminal justice say prison rehabilitation is the answer. They are wrong, so very wrong. They say the aim of our prisons should be rehabilitation. It's impossible and always will be. The aim of our prisons should be punishment social vengeance." ' Mays is a thinker and his ideas are complex and I can't do justice to them in one column. But he deserves a hearing. It's easy to criticize the system when you're on the outside. It takes a lot of guts to do it when you're on the inside and they can get to you. i

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