TAMPA — Former Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean is likely to get her full severance — $316,465, plus legal expenses — after all.
A circuit judge ruled Tuesday that the secret 1 percent pay raise she accepted in 2007 was not grounds to deny Bean severance. Like the Florida Department of Law Enforcement before him, Circuit Judge James M. Barton II found that the stealth raise was not criminal.
It was not even the more generic "illegal act" commissioners used as justification to fire Bean in June 2010 without giving her the payout, the judge ruled.
As State Attorney Mark Ober noted in reviewing the FDLE criminal investigation, Bean had sought a legal opinion that blessed her accepting the raise before she did, the ruling says.
At worst, the judge said, the raise violated Bean's contract, which put commissioners in charge of setting her salary.