In response to your editorial, "Sunshine Lesson for the Feds" [May 23] in which you took the the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Miami Field Office to task for demanding that we keep secret the selection of a new Housing Authority executive director for Winter Haven, as an unpaid commissioner of the Winter Haven Housing Authority Board, I find that there is a lot more Florida sunshine needed to determine why Miami HUD demanded that we oust Mack Horne, our well-respected former executive director in the first place.

There was no sunshine this year when Miami HUD forced Mr. Horne out of office under no subtle threats to the WHHA in a closed meeting led by HUD Miami Field Director Karen Cato-Turner. Turner is the person who drew Direct Gates's editorial fire because she publicly offered a method to circumvent Florida's Sunshine Law in the selection of Director Horne's replacement. Cato-Turner apparently chaired the unannounced meeting herself, which included some city staff and Housing Authority officials.

It was relayed to the board, through its chairman, Perry Burnham, that Mr. Horne was to be dismissed under threat of reprisal to the authority and, consequently, the residents it serves. I and my colleagues were shocked when Chairman Burnham announced that HUD demanded the removal of Mr. Horne as executive director and that there was to be no discussion - no sunshine allowed.

Mr. Burnham admitted that he had been blind-sided and had no explanation for the demand. The board then proceeded to work on a suitable exit procedure for Mr. Horne.

To date, no substantive explanation for Mr. Horne's ouster has come to my attention, but one clue to the true reason for HUD's fear of sunshine parallels that of the Justice Department's scandalous firing of eight highly regarded attorneys general.

Was Mr. Horne "fired" to justify HUD's spending of more than $79,000 as pork for a politically connected management-advisory team or, even worse, to perhaps plant one of their own more "politically correct" hacks as a replacement for Mr. Horne?

Perhaps in addition to a review by a special council on open government in Tallahassee, and an additional inquiry of HUD by Rep. Adam Putnam [R-Bartow], the inspector general for HUD could shed some sunshine through this perplexing chain of events.

MURIEL M. THOME

Commissioner

Winter Haven Housing Authority

Winter Haven