Unresolved issues come back to haunt the BOCC

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The board was pressed to take conclusive action regarding the Bean law-suit which she filed after the termination of her employment as County Administrator. In 2010 the board fired Bean after discovering she had given herself and County Attorney Renee Lee salary raises, which she was not authorized to do. Bean's contract was terminated and she was given $191,737 upon her removal. This amount represented the vacation and sick time that had accumulated through the years of her employment.

However, Bean was paid the $191,737 before an ethics charge filled against her by George Niemann (an occasional contributor to CL) had been resolved. After the money had been given to Bean, the Florida Ethics Commission concluded that Bean's actions had violated ethical codes and thus, under the terms of her contract with the county, she was not entitled to any compensation.

Pat Bean's contract states the following regarding possible termination: "that in the event Employee is terminated as the result of her commission of any felony, any crime of moral turpitude or any illegal act involving personal gain to her in conjunction with her employment, the County shall have no obligation to make the severance salary and benefits payments designated in this Agreement" (Section 3: Termination and Severance Pay, Paragraph A). Despite the clear statement of the terms of her contract, Bean has now sued the County for the additional amount of $278,023 to be payed to her as severance salary.

George Niemann spoke to the commissioners concerning this issue and argued that the County should not even enter into negotiations with Bean regarding her new claims, because under the terms of her contract, and after been found guilty of unethical behavior by the Florida Ethics Commission, Bean has forfeited her right to a severance salary or any type of compensation. Niemann went even further by arguing that the County should counter sue Bean, "We should be suing her for the $191,737 she is not entitled to." This of course refers to the $191,737 given to her before the ethics charge had been resolved, and which she "misappropriated," Niemann said, since after the conclusion that her behavior was unethical, she had no right to that money.

After public comment, the commissioners convened privately with the attorney representing the County in the lawsuit to discuss further action. A decision was expected to be announced when the public meeting reconvened; however, the BOCC made no announcement about reaching a decision at all.

  • Pat Bean

At Wednesday's Hillsborough County Commissioners meeting, the BOCC received a great amount of public input regarding some issues which the board has been dealing for several months. The Pat Bean Law-Suit against the county was one such problematic issue discussed.

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