Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sansom draws ethics complaint

A Pinellas County man has filed a state ethics complaint against House Speaker Ray Sansom, asserting he used his position to secure a high-paying job at his local college after steering millions to the school.

David A. Plyer, a Democrat from Clearwater, filed the complaint with the Commission on Ethics this month and notified the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau on Sunday afternoon.

He cites a Florida Statute, Chapter 112.313 (6), that says no public officer shall "corruptly use or attempt to use his or her official position … to secure a special privilege, benefit of exemption for himself, herself or others."

"The Sansom issue is an outrage," Plyer wrote in an e-mail. "A person applies for the job of legislator. We, the people, hire him and pay him. His job: To protect our rights and serve the best interests of all of us. In return, we expect accountability. If we question a decision, we expect an answer. It appears that Sansom used his current position and public money to land a second job. You don't look for another job on company time with company funds! Ray, what were you thinking? We deserve answers."

Sansom, R-Destin, took the $110,000 a year job at Northwest Florida State College on the same November day he was sworn in as House speaker. He disputes it was a reward for helping the school secure tens of millions in the past few years and push through legislation that allowed it to offer expanded bachelor's degrees.

In his complaint, Plyer, 62, cited a Times/Herald story from Nov. 28 that detailed how Sansom added $24.5-million to a college project that had been slated to get $1-million in the current budget. The money is for a student services building that will also house a "leadership institute" for which Sansom also secured funding.

Sansom has said he is only doing what any other lawmaker does in looking after his district. He has stressed that the education construction money comes from a fund that cannot go to other areas of the budget.

Sansom could not be immediately reached Sunday night.

Plyer, a retired electrical engineer and a member of the Pinellas County Juvenile Justice Council, said he was spurred by a feeling that elected officials of any stripe should be held to a high standard.

"The more you become aware of this stuff, the more you see it everywhere," he said in an interview.

If the Ethics Commission finds a violation has occurred, it can recommend a fine or removal from office.

Alex Leary can be reached at aleary@sptimes.come or (850) 224-7263.

Sansom draws ethics complaint 12/28/08 [Last modified: Saturday, January 3, 2009 9:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Data breach exposes 469 Social Security numbers

    Corporate

    Social Security numbers for up to 469 people were exposed in a data breach at Florida the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The breach, which the agency believes happened about two weeks ago, occurred in an online payments system, spokesperson Jenn Meale said Monday.

    Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam on Monday that nearly 500 people may have had their Social Security numbers obtained in a data breach in his office.
[Times file photo]

  2. Trigaux: Can Duke Energy Florida's new chief grow a business when customers use less power?

    Energy

    Let's hope Harry Sideris has a bit of Harry Houdini in him.

    Duke Energy Florida president Harry Sideris laid out his prioriities for the power company ranging from improved customer service to the use of more large-scale solar farms to provide electricity. And he acknowledged a critical challenge: People are using less electricity these days. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Editorial: Preserve wild Florida before it's too late

    Editorials

    The last dairy farm in Hillsborough County has milked its final cow, the pastures sold to developers who will build 1,000 new homes. The remnants of the last commercial citrus grove in Pinellas County, where the Sunshine State's famed industry began in the 19th century, were sold last year to make room for 136 homes. …

    As dairy farms and citrus groves disappear, much more needs to be done to avoid paving over Florida’s wild spaces.
  4. Florida concealed weapons permit holders exposed in computer hack

    Blogs

    More than 16,000 concealed weapons permit holders in Florida may have had their names accidently made public because of a data breach at the The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

  5. Editorial: Careless words unfit for a mayor

    Editorials

    Even his critics marvel at how well Bob Buckhorn has grown into the job since first being elected as Tampa's mayor in 2011. His grace in public and his knack for saying and doing the right things has reflected well on the city and bestowed civic pride in the mayor's office. That's why Buckhorn's cheap shot at the media …

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn fires a .50 caliber machine gun from a rigid hull inflatable boat during a Special Operations Capabilities Demonstration at the Tampa Convention Center last year. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]