Hagan to ask for resignations of county's top three appointees
TAMPA -- The chairman of the Hillsborough County Commission told each of the county’s top three appointed officials Tuesday that he will request their resignations in an effort to clean house.
Ken Hagan confirmed Tuesday that his office had talked with County Administrator Pat Bean, County Attorney Renee Lee and Internal Performance Auditor Jim Barnes to inform them of his intentions. He will make that request formal during a commission workshop Wednesday and plans to issue a statement outlining his rationale later Tuesday.
“I’ll be issuing a statement in which I ask for the resignations of all three, the county administrator, the county attorney and the internal performance auditor,” Hagan said. “The leadership they have displayed has fallen woefully short of expectations, and I want to get this issue behind us so we can return as quickly as possible to the business of the county.”
Hagan said if the three do not submit their resignations shortly, he will ask his fellow commissioners to fire them. The earliest that he could pursue such a vote would be March 17.
The county’s top three appointed officials have been engaged in a series of ongoing skirmishes. The latest involve allegations from Barnes, the auditor, that employees in Bean and Lee’s office have been snooping through his e-mails.
Barnes claims the e-mail searches took place late last year, shortly after he issued a report showing Bean had given herself, Lee and several other high-ranking employees 1 percent pay raises without commission permission in 2007. Bean and Lee took heat from commissioners and the public over the pay raises.The disclosure came after revelations that Bean had given her six top deputies steep pay raises at a time when county employees were facing layoffs due to budget cuts. Both Bean and Lee have faced criticism from commissioners over their handling of other high-profile issues, including a proposed transit tax referendum.
Barnes, meanwhile, has faced continual criticism from commissioners since not long after he was hired in 2007 for quickly seeking a pay raise and for producing audits that were sloppy and too few in number. Just a week ago, a peer review performed by an outside auditor concluded that Barnes’ work does not meet accepted auditing standards.
By Bill Varian, Times Staff Writer