Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Politics

Hillsborough won't prevent candidates from serving on boards

TAMPA — Conservative activist and School Board candidate Terry Kemple will retain his eligibility to serve on appointed Hillsborough County panels.

Reversing a vote from two weeks ago, county commissioners Wednesday dropped a proposal to deny candidates for elected office from serving on appointed boards.

The decision came as commissioners were set to ratify the prohibition. Commissioner Mark Sharpe said, after receiving feedback by email, Facebook and Twitter, he had a change of heart.

"I would want to do nothing that would stop someone from wanting to serve," he said. "I'm honored that you want to serve, regardless of your position."

Commissioners voted 6-1 to instead craft a change to their code of conduct that would prohibit someone who is serving in an appointed position from blatantly using the post to promote his or her campaign for office.

Commissioner Victor Crist, who opposed the measure last time, voted against that language, pointing out that sitting commissioners have opportunities to advance their campaigns.

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander," he said.

Commissioner Les Miller had floated the proposal following controversy over Kemple's proposed appointment to a to-be-formed diversity committee. Some commissioners, including Miller, didn't think Kemple's appointment would be appropriate since he has actively campaigned against gay rights.

Kemple has filed to run for the Hillsborough County School Board. So Miller suggested a prohibition against candidates for office receiving appointments out of concern they could use the posts to advance their campaign.

Kemple said he didn't think any policy change is needed, but welcomed the compromise.

"I thought it was the right direction," he said.

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