BROOKSVILLE — County Commissioner Jeff Stabins late Friday e-mailed all county employees to apologize for his "stupid and sophomoric" e-mail from Tuesday.
"I apologize for worrying my friends and colleagues unnecessarily and for accidentally providing my enemies the fodder they so desperately need to try to have me removed from office by the Governor,'' he wrote.
Stabins said he sent the e-mail to assure county employees that while he has had some medical issues and is currently out of state, he is fine and looks forward to returning to Florida next week and reconnecting with his friends and county employees.
The message was sent after a story in the St. Petersburg Times on Friday called some of his recent behavior erratic, and quoted Stabins' four fellow county commissioners voicing concerns for his mental and physical well-being.
Much of the discussion came to a head on Tuesday when Stabins, who has been at his parents' home in New York since late on Easter Day, sent an e-mail that he wanted read by Chairman Jim Adkins before the commission meeting began to explain his absence.
The bizarre e-mail was entered into the record but not read during the meeting. It hinted that Stabins might be dead and indicated that he was gravely ill. It also contained more negative statements about County Administrator David Hamilton, who Stabins has strongly criticized recently.
Stabins said Friday that he had been told there was some movement to contact Gov. Rick Scott and ask that he remove Stabins from office, but he didn't know who was behind it and he wanted to nip it in the bud.
Other commissioners this week expressed concern for their colleague saying they had noticed changes in his behavior even beyond his regular eccentricities. Audience members at Tuesday's meeting who read the e-mail voiced concerns that Stabins might be using alcohol or drugs or that he might have been staging some sort of stunt.
In his Friday e-mail he acknowledged that he needed to "clarify some rather strange behavior on my part'' and he explained how he got stranded in the Midwest by missing several flights leading up to Easter before finally getting to his parents' home in New York.
On his Rusty's Tale blog, Stabins posted late Friday that "The dumba-- email I sent Jim Adkins Tuesday morning ought to qualify me as the all time biggest jerk and lowest form of life, anywhere. I hope that anyone I offended or worried over the course of the previous week will forgive me.''
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.