By AuxBeacon News Reader
[Editor’s Note: We received this from a concerned member from the Florida Wing. Thank you for your contribution.]
To give you an idea of how bad the Florida Wing is:
It is a very complex problem of long standing. It would take a full IG team to investigate the politics and back room politics. So much is rumor, that it is hard to determine facts. The problems appear to have started about 20 years ago in the early 1990’s under CAP National Commander, Brig Gen Richard Anderson. Florida had several weak Wing Commanders (compared to previous commanders and the loss of the Wing Air Force Liaison Officers as a moderating influence may be the root cause.
Without the USAF oversight and support, power blocks began in the Wing. Members came out with all kinds of ideas, often sparked by egos and the thought of gaining power/authority. Antonio Jesus Pineda is the perfect example of this. He built a power structure in the Wing that still
Matt Sharkey as Wing Commander reduced much of the power structure, but was removed as Wing Commander and made Region Commander to allow the Pineda influence to regrow. Joe Martin Senior and Junior were weak Wing Commanders. The Junior one was under the thumb of the Pineda influence and said he was only staying to get the eagles on a permanent basis. (Joe Martin, Sr reverted back to Lt Col after his term).
Dan Levitch was a fairly decent Wing Commander and at the end of his tenure as Wing Commander and SER Commander often took actions opposed to Pineda. Levitch actually distanced himself from Pineda. Pat O’Key as Wing Commander had no clue what was going on in the Wing. During this entire period, the power factors grew with it. It looks like three separate groups in power struggles. Many of the Pineda/Levitch/Martin appointments to Wing Staff still are on staff thus allowing the power base to run the Wing behind the Wing Commander’s back.
I was told that General Amy Courter was aware of the problems in the Wing. But her idea was to let the Wing fix itself. Obviously that hasn’t happened. It is true the power structure has lessened in the past year or two, but it is still strong. An example is the selection of the new Wing Commander Col Cook. He got NO votes from the selection Committee. But Wing politics had Rushing appoint Cook.
Maybe the thought was another vote for James Rushing as National Vice Commander. From all reports, Cook is excellent in ES. But very poor in AE and cadet programs.
The current Wing Director of Cadet Programs is a Pineda/Levitch appointee. Based on my years as Wing DCP or Region DCS CP she does a poor job. She runs cadet activities as a fund raiser. About $40 above the actual costs of an encampment is a profit for Wing CP. Only about six people in Florida Wing know anything about the financial status of the Wing. Finances are completely hidden from the membership. One of the questions that candidates for Wing Commander had to answer prior to the selection committee was on finances. But Wing told candidates that they would not get any information on finances to be able to answer the question.
That is an example of what’s wrong in the Florida Wing. Too much is hidden by the power structure from the membership.