BROOKSVILLE — The fired manager for the Hernando Beach Channel dredging project is asking the county for his job back.
In a letter to the county Monday, Greg Jarque said his statement that he could "build virtually anything'' was a true representation of what his license as a certified building contractor, as opposed to a general contractor, qualifies him to do.
"My license would preclude me from building one of three hospitals and possibly two other structures in all of Hernando County,'' he wrote.
Jarque also offered to work for free overseeing the dredge until after a promised completion by the county's Dec. 31 deadline. Jarque was to have been paid $152,500 for his work.
If the project runs over that date, the county will likely lose $6 million in state funding.
"The truth is, no one is more qualified and familiar, at this juncture, than me with the details and scope of this project,'' he wrote.
The letter went to county commissioners and County Administrator David Hamilton, who said Monday he had not seen it. "I had instructed Susan Goebel (transportation services director) to send any and all items related to this to the county attorney's office for review and we await their response,'' he said.
Jarque was hired last week by the County Commission to oversee the long-delayed project, before his criminal record surfaced. He pleaded guilty to attempted arson in 1996 and served 90 days in jail and a five-year probation.
County Commissioner Dave Russell defended Jarque at the board meeting, saying that, as a general contractor, he could build anything and was qualified to oversee the dredging project. Jarque told Russell at a meeting in March that he was a licensed general contractor. He is not. He is a building contractor. Hamilton fired Jarque on Friday, saying that "credibility is too important.''
Jarque's hiring had already been questioned by Commissioner Jeff Stabins who implied that Jarque got the job because he had worked with Hamilton's wife, Linda, at the Arc Nature Coast training center and hurricane shelter building project. That project came in ahead of schedule and under budget and Jarque performed the oversight there for free.
Jarque's letter also addresses the attempted arson conviction.
"If the Board of County Commissioners and the administrator want to define me by a snapshot of a single event and my perceived implication 18 years ago, it is their prerogative to do so. Although I have served my debt a long time ago, I harbor no ill will and freely forgive everyone for the unwarranted attacks and uninformed judgments inflicted on my family and me in the past two weeks,'' he wrote.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.