Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bean's pay a last bit of ugly business

Over at the Hillsborough County Commission, it's like somebody opened the curtains.

They have purged a rotten egg or two and added a few sort-of-new faces to the dais. After years of a most unneighborly relationship with the city in their midst, commissioners are already exchanging crock pot recipes with the new Tampa mayor.

And so far, not a one of them has been accused of tomcatting around with young staff members. Talk about your new day!

They even have a new county administrator less focused on Machiavellian office politics than on actual work, a decided improvement over the previous occupant.

By the standards of commissions past, the future's so bright, they ought to wear shades. (Which, if Kevin White were still among them, would be pricey Ray-Bans charged to his campaign account and cleverly disguised as "consulting and visioning costs.")

Still, there lingers an unpleasant bit of unfinished business. Today, commissioners will consider their former county administrator's post-job money grab — whether to pay so she'll go away, or fight for what's right, even if it costs taxpayers in the process.

Pat Bean, you'll recall, was fired after a spate of questionable decisions that peaked with accusations that she snooped in office e-mails and gave herself and other top dogs raises during tough financial times. All without — and this is the important part — the commission's okay.

Though Bean already had enough baggage for a trip to Paris, commissioners used that secret self-given pay bump to fire her with cause. And because it was with cause, she walked away with about $190,000 in unused leave instead of the full $455,000 severance.

Now she'd like the balance, and also some attorney's fees.

So you're thinking: She got fired for bad behavior, right? No way we pay her off. We taxpayers are in no mood to foot yet another bill for another ousted politico.

Except …

Bean's contract has this handy little detail that says she can be fired with cause if she committed a felony, a crime of moral turpitude or other illegal act for personal gain, illegal being the key word there.

The state attorney concluded Bean's behavior may have been questionable, but it wasn't criminal.

No crime, no "cause."

And Bean's back to be paid in full.

Now this is a commission still sore about taxpayers left with the tab when White's lecherous leanings landed them in federal court. And I am so with Commissioner Mark Sharpe when he says Bean should get not another cent, that a secret salary bump amounts to a bad act, and that it is bad precedent to "wilt under the pressure of a threatened lawsuit." Agreed, agreed and agreed.

Except …

Bean, no fool, has a steel safety net in that contract. So it is reasonable and prudent, if also frustrating, to pay her what she is owed or to at least seek a settlement that keeps us out of court, where attorneys' fees tend to pile up. (See: White, Kevin.)

Settle with Pat Bean? With taxpayer dollars at stake, it would be wrong not to, even if it stings. Even if it stinks.

Then we learn from it: No more bulletproof contracts. No more lingering problems like Pat Bean. And there's your new day.

Bean's pay a last bit of ugly business 05/03/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 9:52am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. This unidentified man was punched outside of Richard Spencer's speech in Gainesville.
  2. Pentagon faces demands for details on deadly attack in Niger

    Military

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration had no answers Thursday to key questions two weeks after an ambush in the African nation of Niger killed four U.S. soldiers, prompting demands in Congress for details, complaints of Pentagon stonewalling and a comparison to the 2012 Benghazi attack. The White House defended …

    In this image provided by the U.S. Army, a carry team of soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), carry the transfer case during a casualty return for Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, of Lyons, Ga., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Oct. 5, 2017. U.S. and Niger forces were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders when they were ambushed on Oct. 4 and Wright and three other soldiers were killed. There were about a dozen U.S. troops and a company of Niger forces, for a total of about 40 service members in the joint mission. [Pfc. Lane Hiser | U.S. Army via AP]
  3. Trigaux: Florida, Tampa Bay lagging in growth of their startups

    Economic Development

    The annual assessment of how entrepreneurs are doing across the country is out from the Kauffman Foundation — among the best watchers of the nation's startup scene. How do Florida and Tampa Bay fare?

    Lured by financial incentives, startup GeniusCentral relocated from Manatee County in 2015 to St. Petersburg, promising to creatye 40 new jobs. It took downtown space in an appropriately creative workpace for entrepreneurs. It did not last there, later moving back to less expensive space in Manatee. A new Kauffman Index report on entrepreneurship found that Florida is a good place to launch startups but a tougher place to grow them.
[SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  4. Rick Baker revises controversial radio ad, Rick Kriseman's campaign says former mayor is "dishonest" and "desperate"

    Blogs

    Rick Baker’s campaign has revised a controversial radio ad that had incorrectly stated Mayor Rick Kriseman hadn’t “bothered to show up” at a NAACP event earlier this month.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says former mayor Rick Baker is dishonest and desperate for airing a radio ad that has since been revised
  5. Pleasant dreams: sleep travel site gives high marks to Tampa airport

    Airlines

    TAMPA — Traveling might be considered closer to a nightmare than a dream for many. But that might be different for those who travel through Tampa International Airport. It was ranked the No. 3 overall best airport in North America by Sleeping in Airports, a travel site that tracks the best airports to catch some …

    Tampa International Airport was ranked as the No. 3 best overall airport by travel site Sleeping in Airports. | [Times file photo]