Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FIVE CHEERS; Leaner Government

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FIVE CHEERS; Leaner Government

Article excerpt

At a time when government tends to be expanding, it's refreshing to see Jacksonville tightening its fiscal belt.

The Times-Union reported the Public Works Department is expected to trim 19 vacant positions after a review initiated by Mayor John Peyton.

An analysis of the department found duplication and identified several flaws, including no system to manage inventory and a faulty system for managing work orders.

The department's duties include handling engineering, permitting and some construction on public building projects.

The slicing of the vacant positions will save about $554,000.

Other reviews of the library and planning departments are under way. City dollars are tight these days, and officials should be managing wisely.

Keep it going.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR FUTURE TEACHERS

There is a teacher shortage in Florida. Each public college in the state tries to team up with local partners to entice students to their schools.

The University of North Florida and The Wachovia Foundation, a private foundation funded annually by Wachovia Corp., have teamed up to provide several scholarships to incoming education majors, as well as those already established in an education major.

The foundation donated $300,000 for an endowed scholarship fund. The state, through its matching grants program, will add an additional $150,000 to the pot.

UNF graduates about 500 teachers a year.

Thanks to The Wachovia Foundation for making such a generous contribution. It will definitely make a difference.

LODGINGS RECEIVE HIGH RATING

Several area lodgings have received high ratings from AAA.

Five-diamond ratings were recorded for The Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island and the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club.

Four-diamond ratings were earned by Amelia Island Plantation, Omni Jacksonville, Plantation Manor Inn, the Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach, the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine and the Hilton-St. Augustine Historic Bayfront.

AAA bases its award on unannounced evaluations conducted by AAA tourism editors. Nearly 57,000 properties are evaluated each year by AAA's 65 full-time tourism editors. …

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