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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas' Commissioner Harris blasts White, Hillsborough, voters



FEATHER SOUND -- During today's Suncoast Tiger Bay luncheon, Pinellas County Commission Chairman Calvin Harriswas asked about the legal mess over Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin White and the sexual harassment suitWhite and Hillsborough recently lost. 

What's being done to make sure big legal liabilities don't hit taxpayers elsewhere?

He paused.

"Well, part of it is just electing moral people," Harris said.

"I mean, the guy that's in trouble, if you will recall, during the campaign, he took his campaign fund and he was buying $1,500 suits ... because he said the voters wanted him to look good. And people still voted for him. And it's regrettable what has happened."

But Harris said Hillsborough officials also have a role to play (echoing the judge in the case, by the way).

"I think that if you elected the wrong people, then these things do happen. But the person was an employee of the county, and so in that regard the county is responsible," Harris said, noting Pinellas officials have county attorneys' numbers programmed into their cell phones for quick advice.

"There has to be somebody in that county government to say, 'Now wait a minute,' or 'W're not doing this' ... I'm not sure he would have asked if he should take his secretary on the trip. But somebody should have known that and prevented that."

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:07pm]


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