You had lots to say on the issues I wrote about last week. Here's a look inside the mailbag.
If my house sells because of your article, I will send you a nice bottle of my favorite red wine. We still come down from time to time, but it was nice to feel a part of Orlando again, even if it is due to a house that hasn't sold. Lots of great memories there, and especially in that neighborhood with so many wonderful friends. Next time just focus on my house and not the big-name guys. — Tom Morgan
I was glad to hear from Tom, the former chief executive of Hughes Supply Inc. who retired to Montana after the company was sold to Home Depot Inc. in 2006. He tells me he's spent a good deal of time relaxing on his 30 acres in Bigfork but couldn't resist the call to run another company when the right opportunity presented itself last year.
Morgan is now chairman and CEO of Baker & Taylor, a privately owned distributor of books, videos and music to libraries, academic institutions and retailers.
Like at Hughes, he said he's looking to "take a company that's under-valued and bring greater value to it."
His new job is in Charlotte, N.C., but he still spends about one week a month in Montana and is planning to start spending more time again in his Isleworth home, which has been on the market for nearly two years.
I find it commendable that we have someone in the PSC that is trying to get whatever ammunition she can to hold the line on Progress Energy's determination to increase our rates, and your efforts to let their customers know what she's doing. What I can't understand is why Ms. [ Nancy] Argenziano and, especially you, don't know that much of the high-level salary information must be published in a public company's proxy statement. — Herb
You're right. The pay packages of Progress Energy's highest-paid executives are revealed in their annual proxy statements. But most of the six executives included in this filing are actually in North Carolina, where the company is based.
The exception is Jeff Lyash, who recently moved to the company's headquarters after serving as chief executive officer of Progress Energy Florida. In 2008 he earned a compensation package valued at $1.4million, including the grant date fair value of stock and option awards.
Argenziano and the other four public service commissioners voted last week for Progress and Florida Power & Light to divulge the salaries of nearly 600 employees who earn more than $165,000 so that they can consider payroll expenses as they decide whether to grant the companies rate increases.
I live near Windermere and, given the way the economy overall has been in the past few years, it does not surprise me that the Isleworth residents are feeling the pinch, too. Yesterday I read about that survey indicating that Orlando is one of the worst cities in the U.S. for job seekers and it's totally true. I've been looking for a full-time position in government, teaching or consulting for the past two years and ... nothing. What is it about Orlando (and Florida in general) that keeps its economy undiversified? — Joe
Judging by the numbers, there are plenty of people who feel your pain. Last week we found out that Florida's population dropped for the first time in decades by 9,700. And tourists were down by 9 percent from April to June. The state's days of wild growth are over. That doesn't mean efforts to diversify are iced over. There is still lots of work going on to build Central Florida's economy, namely a health-care cluster in Lake Nona. But while we once expected to reap those rewards within five to 10 years, my bet is the time horizon now is even longer.
Beth Kassab can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-5448. Read her blog at orlandosentinel.com/ thebottomline.