Sunday, September 13, 2015

Letter to Sen. Simpson - Relocation of SWFWMD's Headquarters to Tampa

Dear Senator Simpson,

I have neglected to let you know how much I/we appreciate your and Representative Blaise Ingoglia’s personal interest and support for our efforts to shine a bright light on the attempts of the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s governing board to move its HQ to Tampa.  I apologize. Your visibility and personal presence, in particular, was crucial to bringing the point home to the community of folks north of Tampa, the district’s governing board, other legislators who could be affected and hopefully even the governor.  It was an impressive show of multi-governmental and private sector collaboration that may be unprecedented.

Nevertheless, I am not confident our efforts had any effect on what district board members have already accomplished.  Short only of taking the HQ name from Brooksville/Hernando County, all significant HQ functions and staff have already been relocated to Tampa.  I truly believe they naively and arrogantly think they have outfoxed us, you and Representative Ingoglia.  As time passes, it is becoming increasingly apparent their stated reasons for relocation of the staff to Tampa has little compelling validity.  If one considers the cost for the relocations to date, as well as the $100,000-plus study to support the contention and the eventual cost they’ll certainly incur to build additional offices to house them, it is a very costly ruse.  All because they simply don’t want to drive to Brooksville and because they have no clue or care why it was placed outside the urban core of Tampa Bay in the first place.  All rural counties and cities, and especially the agricultural community, should be very nervous about their collective “water” futures.

 Hopefully the legislature will see to provide the district with guidance that will successfully encourage them to reverse this unneeded and ill-advised exercise which is having and will continue to have such an economically significant impact north of Tampa, and upon the City of Brooksville and Hernando County in particular.

Again, your involvement and support is sincerely appreciated.

 Best regards,

Emilio "Sonny" Vergara


  1. Great letter ... when watching the tape it was a forgone conclusion the decision had been made. Another black eye for our beloved Brooksville.

  2. Thanks ... for your continued support for Hernando County, Brooksville and the water resources of our region. Can “Sonny’s Friends” do anything to encourage common sense and honesty to prevail?

  3. You are the best! What I have observed over the years is that the majority of people never speak up. They know they are mad about some issue but won’t make the time to get involved. My hat is off to you.

    Having lived in St. Petersburg many years, I have always felt that Tampa tries to grab what they could from my town. I think we killed them by having a great waterfront city and a more livable community. Screw'em, stronger words to follow.

  4. Glad Ingolia finally sees the light. State of the State improving, but has nothing to do with CEO Scott's policies. Brooksville a cow town to Scott. Maybe he needs a history lesson. Ever here of the 'Lykes'? True crackers who wore 'real' cowboy boots. Scott is a fake, a liar, and a crook. Sorry Rick, call them like I see them. - thanks Sandspur

  5. Absolutely on point! I wrote to the our state representatives and senators myself. They stood up for their private, business and agricultural constituents in the more rural, northern sun-coast counties. Don't think for one moment that this issue is resolved. We must remain alert for future developments, and be ready to respond to them quickly and decisively with the aid of our most able elected and responsible officials.

  6. The Hernando County Legislative Delegation will be conducting a public meeting at 1:00 on Wednesday, September 30, at the Hernando County Government Center in Brooksville. Members of the public who submit speaker request forms by Sept. 23 will be able to speak at the Sept. 30 meeting. This is an opportunity to thank the delegation in person, and ask for their help in correcting the the Amendment I spending fiasco. Download an application to speak at this web address:

  7. Are they still trying to move the headquarters, or is this issue at rest now thanks to the great efforts of Sonny and the Senator?

    If the headquarters do ever move, does that mean that all the employees in Brooksville have to drive to Tampa, or would they let those people stay working at the Brooksville location? What a huge destructive impact it will have on the county, it's hard to believe that it was actually being considered.

  8. Sonny; The move has already been made, you just don't know it. In talking with a current longtime(27yrs) SWFWMD Brooksville employee, it was told that the executive staff rarily comes to Brooksville (and if they do, they get mielage and lunch per diem because that s not their stated home office), even bureau chiefs that have their staff in Brooksville do not go to Brooksville every day. Example Resource managements JP Marchant lives in Sarasota, works out of that office and Tampa nd is in Brooksville 1 maybe 2 days a week. Sweet deal! The Governing Board rarily holds Brooksville meetings, and accompemdations for staff working out of Tampa continues to grow. So while they have stepped back from publically stating the main office is in Tampa, they have in fact significantly moved the operation to Tampa. They will through attrition accomplish the switch over time.