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Officials Say Rumors that County Turned Away FHP Assistance Out of Greed, a “Misunderstanding”

HERNANDO – Four days after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on Florida residents, thousands are still struggling to survive without electricity, clean water, and even a safe place to live. Within hours of the Irma’s passing, convoys of utility bucket trucks, fuel tankers, and tractor-trailers made their way to communities, ravished by downed trees, power lines, and cluttered roadways.

In Hernando County, the Department of Public Works (DPW) joined utility companies, first responders, contractors, and civilians in clearing trees and debris, to begin restoring power to homes and businesses. But even in the midst of recovering from a natural disaster, rumors began to pour in that our county’s Public Works Department turned away assistance from the Florida Highway Patrol.

Over the last few days, RNRF received dozens of complaints from residents and several law enforcement officers – anonymously of course – claiming that DPW turned away dozens of Florida Highway Patrol Troopers from cutting away trees. One officer I spoke to by phone said that Troopers were either told to leave or in some cases sent on a “wild goose chase” to areas with no issues. “Troopers” we spoke to said they were told by DPW workers, “We don’t want you here – you’re cutting into our overtime.”RNRF immediately reached out to FHP officials who refused to go on the record but they did not deny the legitimacy of the incident.

I spoke to County Administrator Lyn Sossamon by phone, who said, “If I find out any of this is true there will be serious consequences.” He was fully aware of the “rumor” and was already investigating the validity of the claims.

County Officials released the following statement regarding the issue: “The Hernando County Office of Emergency Management has worked closely with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) for the duration of the Emergency Operations Center’s activation. Protocol must be followed to ensure the safety of our responders in the field. A misunderstanding occurred regarding recovery assignments that was quickly resolved, but unfortunately resulted in a rumor being spread on social media. We continue to work with FHP on disaster recovery efforts. Hernando County values our partnership with FHP and is thankful for their service to help restore our community.”

The Florida Highway Patrol is still actively working in Hernando County, as they are in all disaster areas across Florida.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2017 RNRF Incorporated.


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Comments
  • Law enforcement officers have a LONG history of being trained by the power companies to work around power lines. They are probably better trained at that then traffic direction, if the idiots in front of the two churches are an example.

    Friday, 15 September 2017, 10:47 am
  • When a government spokesman says an incident occurred as a result of a “misunderstanding”, that’s code for we did something so dumb no one can justify it.

    Friday, 15 September 2017, 10:15 am
    • So true! They messed up and know it. How shameful!

      Friday, 15 September 2017, 4:18 pm
    • Yep…in other words….someone got their in trouble or fired!!!

      Friday, 15 September 2017, 10:04 pm
  • County is just doing damage control at this point. We all know the truth. Same same county officials blowing smoke up the people’s . GTFO

    Friday, 15 September 2017, 9:55 am
  • FHP has so many things going on but they still made it there #1 priority to HELP HERNANDO COUNTY. Then the GREEDY GREEDY worker’s of the DPW try and turn them away……how dare them!!!! Over time??? WTF?? There are still ppl suffering without power and water. Grow up and do ur JOB. stop worrying about the money and just help the ppl that need it. I honestly believe it to be TRUE and NOT A RUMOR . someone is saying RUMOR to cover there own

    Friday, 15 September 2017, 8:59 am
    • You can take your greedy comment and shove it up your, u wernt their and u don’t know what happens your comment makes u stupid and any other negative comments about DPW, u want answers to the problems u goto the boss and ask him y he let State troopers go, u ask the EOC comander y he sent state troopers and county employees on wild goose chases , get your strait befor u make comments

      Friday, 15 September 2017, 12:56 pm
      • Your writing makes you stupid thats for sure. Holy were did you go to school or not to school. Please tell us your not breeding anymore in bred retards as yourself. Hopefully your gay and don’t reproduce.

        Friday, 15 September 2017, 7:04 pm
        • You should read your comments before posting them.

          Monday, 18 September 2017, 7:57 am
  • God bless the FHP Thank you for all you do.

    Friday, 15 September 2017, 7:09 am
  • Mark Roberts, get a life! WREC crews were and still are out busting their butts to get power restored. Those guys work all day in the heat under dangerous conditions and then some go home to a dark house to eat canned food and take cold showers. Now, you never thought about that, did you?

    Friday, 15 September 2017, 4:52 am
  • The corruption within Hernando County is unbelievable. From the commissioners down through the ranks. When will Gov Scott figure this out and force an outside investigation jailing those who are caught.

    Friday, 15 September 2017, 4:38 am
    • Bethy, agree completely, Thank you FHP and betcha a 1.00 to a donut we will hear nothing else on this.( not Tom Lemons fault either) Something rotten in HERNANDO COUNTY!!!! WREC EMPLIYEES DID A GREAT JOB and I am sure still working.very hard against all ofds.

      Friday, 15 September 2017, 2:36 pm
  • The DPW crews I have recently been involved with are absolutely worthless and do a horrible job at what the boss man told me was going to happen. In all of the years I’ve dealt with them, recently has been horrible. I’ve got video and pictures to show the work recently done by them. They all need seriously reprimanded for thinking of overtime instead of the people who pay their checks, the taxpayers. If nothing happens, I totally give up on this county.

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 9:58 pm
    • If you have proof of misconduct or poor work, then you should contact Len Sossamon, the County Administrator.

      Friday, 15 September 2017, 9:37 am
  • FHP cut a tree on Martha as soon as it was called in as I called that line and spoke with some lady. Next thing I know FHP was out there. We were stuck and appreciated the quick response.

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 9:56 pm
  • SHAME ON DPW WORKERS. I FEEL FHP SHOULD LOOK AT PHOTOS OF DPW WORKERS AND IDENTIFY THOSE WHO TURNED THEM AWAY SO THOSE RESPONSIBLE ARE SEVERELY PUNISHED. SCRUTINUZE EVERY OVERTIME REQUEST IN THAT DEPARTMENT. YOU ARE SO SELFISH AND SELF CENTERED YOU WOULD LET YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS SUFFER LONGER JUST SO YOU COULD PULL OVERTIME ??? DISGUSTING!!!!

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 9:26 pm
  • I live on hazel ave in brooksvill we have no lights and we have no damages on our street. No poles or wires are down. Its this company right behind my house and they have power and we don’t. An inspection crew came and check our street out and they said they don’t understand why our lights are not on if we don’t have any damages. So whats the problem?

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 8:58 pm
    • check your breaker box to see if the breakers are all flipped.

      Friday, 15 September 2017, 9:18 am
      • They came on at 3:00 this morning. Thank you duke

        Friday, 15 September 2017, 12:02 pm
    • Janet, I had no damage to my house or property but was without power for 4 1/2 days. There are main transmission lines, power poles, substations, feeder lines bringing in power. Alot of places in same area are on different ” circuits ” so to speak. Maybe that’s what is happening to you. Many poles are down as well as wires. Poles take longer to set. HOSPITALS, FIRE STATIONS, LAW ENFORCEMENT , FIRST RESPONDERS ARE ALWAYS FIRST TO BE BROUGHT UP BEFORE GENERAL PUBLIC. The system works on a grid method and the companies follow that grid to completion. I bet you and the business are on different ” circuits “

      Friday, 15 September 2017, 10:09 am
  • I recognize Clover Leaf mobile park. One of residents living there evacuated to my neighbor’s home. Cathy and Bob are a nice couple who were happy to get back home thanks to FHP and power crew who worked so hard. May God bless and keep all of them safe. Many thanks for ALL YOUR HARD WORK AND YOUR CONCERN.

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 8:46 pm
  • Nice tap dance county.. I believe these ” rumors” to be true.

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 8:21 pm
  • This is incorrect that staff was done and did their job. FHP did go out and do trees but there are still many trees left on power lines that they didnt cut. FHP should have helped with that.

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 8:04 pm
      • Thankyou, Tom, some people just don’t think due to frustration of being without power so long. These are high voltage lines not house current and are seriously dangerous.

        Thursday, 14 September 2017, 8:38 pm
        • I understand fully what you are saying but if those were the only trees left than how could this so called rumor be true. I saw FHP working and they did there job and continued on to the next county.

          Thursday, 14 September 2017, 9:58 pm
      • trying to explain logic tom?

        Thursday, 14 September 2017, 9:07 pm
      • So are the officials saying the clean up crews for the county are lineman and they are qualified to cut around power lines? I highly doubt it!

        Friday, 15 September 2017, 11:19 am
  • Wow, if true that is not just shocking but very low. Thanks to FHP, they did and are doing great work.

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 7:58 pm
  • I applaud the State Troopers.
    Thank You and Good Job!!!

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 7:51 pm
  • They can say what they want I know they help out any way they can plus put tier life on the line every day. Thank you FHP.

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 7:32 pm
  • Of course it happened man thus county is full of weasels we need some one to clean house dont forget the power company wrec electric did a very poor job people are suffering now we deserve to have a real power NOTHING AGAINST THE EMPLOYEES but the company should have had power restored

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 6:19 pm
    • This county needs to get it together. I’m glad the State Troopers were out there helping, it’s appreciated more than they know!

      Mark, if you don’t like it then move to an area where you’d have Duke or even Teco… you’ll appreciate WREC!

      Friday, 15 September 2017, 3:45 am
      • What, I agree, and it is likely that Duke is holding up WREC in eastern Hernando since that power actually comes from Duke and they are having some issues with main transmission lines.

        Friday, 15 September 2017, 11:58 am
  • So sadthose (DPW)- individuals should be fired immediately!!

    Thursday, 14 September 2017, 6:06 pm

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