Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando administrator wants full severance; commissioner says he should be fired

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Administrator David Hamilton has asked for his full severance package as he prepares to leave his job at the end of the year, a move that has prompted one commissioner to call for him to be fired immediately.

Commissioner Jeff Stabins said Hamilton's request for full severance was the last straw, and in an e-mail he wrote Wednesday to commission Chairman Jim Adkins and copied to every county employee, he asked for an emergency meeting and said Hamilton should be terminated.

"We must ensure the safety and integrity of public records and documents which are at his disposal as I write this e-mail. David is adept at firing his subordinates and sending them packing. We must afford him the same treatment ASAP,'' Stabins wrote.

In a letter to the county attorney's office Tuesday, Hamilton's attorney, Robert McKee of Tampa, requested "severance pay and benefits as if (Hamilton's) employment has been terminated'' and offered a resignation effective Dec. 31.

That package, including five months of pay and unused sick and vacation time, could cost the county a total of $89,372.34.

As he continues to prepare a transition plan and negotiate details of his exit, Hamilton, 62, is a step closer to a possible new job in Sarasota County. Culled from a pool of 45 applicants, Hamilton landed on a short list of eight candidates for the job of Sarasota County administrator this week.

His application for that job concerned some commissioners in Hernando. It was one of the factors that led to an agreement between Hamilton and the commission on Oct. 25 to have him leave Hernando at the end of the year.

Hamilton's request for the full severance is something the County Commission will have to discuss, said Commissioner John Druzbick, who made a motion last month to fire Hamilton.

Druzbick said Wednesday he wants the commission to decide Tuesday whether to simply give Hamilton his walking papers now, rather than allow him to stay until Dec. 31.

Stabins told Adkins in his e-mail that he has had serious concerns about Hamilton for some time and that in late summer 2009 he wrote an e-mail "to warn everyone of what appeared to be (Hamilton's) dictatorial traits.''

Hamilton talked him out of sending it, according to Stabins.

"These are the most challenging times our country has faced in decades, Jim, and we can no longer afford to have the wrong man at the very top of our organization being compensated on a daily basis with taxpayer funds,'' Stabins wrote to Adkins on Wednesday. "I implore you to call an emergency board meeting for the immediate termination of David Hamilton.''

Adkins had not yet read the e-mail when contacted Wednesday afternoon, but said he did not believe there was time to call an emergency meeting prior to Tuesday's regularly scheduled commission meeting. He said he would talk to Hamilton about the latest developments when he meets with him today.

Hamilton declined comment.

"It would be inappropriate for me to comment on Commissioner Stabins' e-mail,'' he said.

Hamilton's hiring of a lawyer and request for full severance caught the attention of commissioners. Since their Oct. 25 meeting, several commissioners have talked about negotiating an agreement that would not be as costly as the full severance package.

McKee says in his letter that he hoped Hamilton could negotiate an agreement with the County Commission that will "provide a benefit to the county while accomplishing what appears to be a desire by the majority of the commissioners to end its employment relationship with Mr. Hamilton.''

According to McKee, Hamilton plans to meet with commissioners this week to outline the county's ongoing projects.

"Mr. Hamilton will assist the county to ensure a seamless transition to a new leadership team,'' McKee wrote. "As I understand the situation, there are a number of key projects that will require the attention of Mr. Hamilton's successor and, ultimately, the commission.''

Druzbick said he is unclear on just how much help Hamilton will provide while he is collecting full salary over the next two months, especially since he is taking time off this month and around the holidays.

"I would think that he is trying to get as much (money) as he can according to his contract,'' Druzbick said. "Whether or not that happens is a board decision. We'll see what happens on Tuesday.''

The Sarasota County Commission is slated to further trim its field of administrator applicants Tuesday. Those who make the next cut will then attend a series of meetings with county staffers and the public before the commission makes an offer, which could come as early as Nov. 15.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando administrator wants full severance; commissioner says he should be fired 11/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 7:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman


    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  2. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'


    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  3. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light


    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  4. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling


    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. PTA treasurer at Pinellas school accused of stealing $5,000


    The treasurer of the Parent-Teacher Association at a Pinellas County elementary school faces a felony fraud charge after she was accused of stealing from the organization to pay her credit card and phone bills.

    Lisa McMenamin, 50, of Tarpon Springs, is facing felony charges of scheming to defraud the Brooker Creek Elementary Parent-Teacher Association, where she served as treasurer. She is accused of stealing $5,000 to pay credit card and phone bills. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]