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Another tale of bad Bean behavior; Hasn't Hillsborough had enough?

What else does Hills­borough County Administrator Pat Bean have to do before her bosses on the county commission say enough already?

Give herself and top staff another raise and then run through the halls of budget-strapped County Center yelling, "Let them eat cake?"

Give another speech like this week's lackluster and empty "vision'' statement — which sounded like a grown-up in a Charlie Brown cartoon — even after commissioners indicated her words could be critical to her future employment?

Or maybe refuse to say the words "under God" during the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of meetings? (Oh, wait — that only gets you in trouble at the Tampa City Council.)

In the latest you-can't-make-this-stuff-up tale out of county government, Bean admitted this week she authorized an employee to pull months of the county internal auditor's e-mails, which included information on ongoing investigations. Bean herself was audited for an eyebrow-raising raise she got.

Bean's explanation to Times reporter Bill Varian: She did it because she was feeling "under siege." But upon further reflection, she said, she did not actually read any of those e-mails.


Okay, you're thinking, a public official in what's supposed to be a transparent, above-board body of government for the people, getting ready to root through the e-mails of someone who could hurt her politically?

What is going on over there?

Now throw in this detail: Someone in County Attorney Renee Lee's office reviewed some commissioners' e-mails, notably those of Kevin Beckner, using the key word search "FDLE." As in, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's investigation into raises for both Bean and Lee, as requested by — you guessed it — Commissioner Beckner. (Lee said someone else made the records request — she didn't know who — and her office complied.)

One more time: What is going on over there?

Yes, e-mails of government employees at work are generally public record, with some exceptions — like, say, those related to an ongoing audit or criminal investigation.

Also, the county has a policy that says if someone makes a public records request regarding an employee, that employee is informed.

And, you guessed it again: Subjects of the e-mail searches were not notified nor were the searches properly documented, leaving some commissioners understandably hot under the collar and using words like "trust" and "integrity" and "loss of confidence."

It's hardly the first time.

Bean has come under fire for a lack of vision in harsh economic times and for raises to herself and her top deputies. She has been hanging on by her fingernails — and notably hanging on to her six-figure salary — until her planned retirement in 2012.

Now, about what actually is going on over there: Hillsborough commissioners are now dealing with the critical and delicate issue of asking voters to pay for a major transportation package that includes light rail. This is a huge move for our future, not to mention an uphill battle.

And here we are, dealing with another embarrassing tale of the county administrator. Enough already, before we find out what Pat Bean does next.

Another tale of bad Bean behavior; Hasn't Hillsborough had enough? 03/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 5, 2010 6:57pm]
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