If the Wednesday morning BOCC meeting was a let down with Commissioners quietly supporting developer welfare and keeping embattled County Administrator Pat Bean, then let me assure you the afternoon proved to be a bit more interesting.
Commissioner Kevin Beckner, the voter's answer to Brian Blair, once again tried to drag the County out of the Stone Age regarding their discrimination practices because they did not include sexual orientation or gender identification in their board policies regarding employees. He put County Attorney Renee Lee and newly saved County Administrator Pat Bean on the spot and asked them if they knew any employees falling in this category? They seemed reluctant but they both admitted that they indeed did know employees that fall within this category. Beckner passionately made the case not to discriminate and showed that corporate America has already done this with inclusive policies that prohibit discrimination.
Evidently as the guidelines are now, sounds like they can fire someone just for being gay. Recall earlier that morning Commissioners chose to keep on a County Administrator in part because she wasn't a criminal. You would think being gay wouldn't be a crime either but we are in Hillsborough where some of these same Commissioners voted to ban gay pride so who knows what they might think of a gay employee?
Before the discussion even started Commissioner Jim Norman moved the item (without the sexual orientation protection in it) and Commissioner Mark Sharpe seconded it so Beckner was starting with two votes against him already. Beckner went on undeterred. Keep forcing diversity on the neanderthals Commissioner Beckner, even if they never vote for it just watching them squirm is kinda fun.
When Beckner questioned Norman's motion calling this a discriminatory policy, Norman got a little testy. Beckner made a substitute motion which would not discriminate and got a second for purposes of discussion by Commissioner Kevin White (I think the reason they were even having the discussion was because of the recent lawsuit regarding the Pimpin Commish and his aide.) Commissioner Rose Ferlita relayed how she supported this before as a City Council member because it was right and then proceeded to make the case to support it now because it was fair. In spite of the support from White and Ferlita, Beckner's motion failed 3-4 (Norman, Hagan, Sharpe, and Higgibotham voted No) The discriminatory policy was then adopted 4-3 (same breakdown) Neanderthals win! On the upside? Watching Beckner get a second from the Commissioner whose actions caused the very discussion to come up in the first place was priceless and Norman's face appeared purple during this discussion on my TV screen so bonus points to Beckner for that. So while Beckner lost the actual vote he should get some credit for pissing off the homophobes.