Dunedin vice mayor starts paying off ethics fines
Dunedin Vice Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski has paid off half the fines she owes for failing to file annual financial disclosure forms, state ethics officials said Thursday.
The Florida Commission on Ethics said it received $1,500 from Bujalski this week for the most recent fine. The city commissioner reportedly told the state department that she would contact its collections agency directly to resolve $1,550 in remaining fines.
Approached by a Tampa Bay Times reporter in February, Bujalski said she didn’t know she had been sanctioned. She was levied a $50 fine for filing two days late in 2010 and the $1,500 maximum fine in both 2011 and 2012 for failing to file at all.
Bujalski said 2010 was a rough year, in which both her parents died and she was severely hurt in a boating accident. She said she had no excuse for the following years and that she accepted responsibility.
Bujalski submitted the missing forms to the Florida Commission on Ethics days after she was notified by the Times.
Ethics officials say the state law requiring elected leaders to annually list their income streams, liabilities, business interests and other finances is aimed at ensuring transparency and accountability and deterring corruption.