Why is Hillsborough County Auditor Jim Barnes being asked to resign?

There is no question that Barnes work performance has been severely criticized by commissioners over the past couple of years, with none more vocal than Rose Ferlita.  Barnes was the subject of a blistering report by Orlando's auditor just a couple of weeks ago that said that his performance "does not conform to professional standards."

But in this latest imbroglio, Barnes seems from the surface to have not done anything wrong.  Perhaps after today's discussion that will not be the appearance.  In today's Times, Commissioner Mark Sharpe is wondering why Barnes is now on the chopping block.  Bill Varian writes of Sharpe :

At a minimum, he said, Barnes asked some legitimate questions and has met with continued resistance and hostility.

Renee Lee is also fiercely defending herself.  Administrator Bean?  Well, she did say last week she requested the e-mails in question, but opted not to read them.

Oh, and before we forget, there is a meeting on the roads portion of the transportation plan that someday may be approved as a ballot measure, asking citizens in the county to agree to a one cent sales tax hike for transportation/light rail. We're extremely interested in that.  And we have a new report in the new weekly edition of CL on the story of getting the proposal on the ballot.

As we reported yesterday, Hillsborough County Commission Chair Ken Hagan, in response to wide spread outrage over the report last week that Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean and County Attorney were snooping in on e-mails written by County Auditor Jim Barnes regarding his investigation into how the two ended up giving themselves pay raises back in 2007, wrote and distributed a letter Tuesday calling on all three public officials to submit their resignations by next Tuesday, March 16.

Hagan has called for a meeting after the scheduled 1:30 p.m. workshop on transportation to discuss the situation.

But only 5 Commissioners will be there, as both Al Higginbotham and Jim Norman are out of town, and today's meetings were only called for within the past week.  They are not public hearings.  Higgenbotham is apparently upset that the meeting will even take place, as he told WMNF's Sean Kinane last night.   He called last week for the meeting to be held on March 17.

Meanwhile, a question that needs to be asked (and hopefully answered) is: why Hagan wants to throw Jim Barnes out with the bathwater?

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