Saturday, November 18, 2017

Incompetence and Deception With Trying to Sue Their Constituents

As reported by WTSP and Florida Politics, Hillsborough county commissioners chillingly voted 4-3 on Commissioner Hagan's request at the November 15, 2017 BOCC meeting to use taxpayer money to seek reimbursement from those who filed ethics complaints against Hagan. 

There may be some issues and definitely some questions with what exactly the commissioners were approving regarding Agenda item A-69. 
Hagan inserted his retribution agenda item
on the Consent Agenda
(Click to enlarge)
The Eye has obtained a copy of a recent email sent to all Hillsborough county commissioners and the county attorney from citizen activist Tom Rask.

The entire email with its attachments can be found here.

An excerpt of this email is below:
To: Hillsborough County Commission 
Cc: County attorney Chip Fletcher, General Counsel Mary Helen Farris 
Bcc: interested citizens
The write-up for last week's agenda item A-69 says that "three ethics complaints were filed against Commissioner Hagan." This claim that there were three (3) is factually incorrect. There were in fact four complaints, not three [1]. 
Out of this misstatement of fact arises the critical question: which three complainants out of the four did the BoCC authorize to seek to recover costs and attorney fees from? No one is named in the write-up, and comm. Hagan only named George Niemann in his verbal remarks [2]. 
It is thus impossible to determine exactly who the BoCC authorized action to be taken against.

Therefore, the item must be brought before the commission again, and either voted on again or simply voided.
1] Having made a public records request for those complaints from the Florida Commission on Ethics after your vote, I attach those four complaints for your convenience. I have also attached the final public report in which those four complaints are specifically referenced by their tracking numbers.

[2] Comm. Hagan's added to the confusion by verbally stating the following during the board's discussion before the vote:

"Now that its been shown that the genesis of this current complaint was less than honorable, the Complainant should make the county taxpayers whole". 

Note that comm. Hagan spoke in the singular, not the plural. Hagan was speaking of George Neimann. But who else did Hagan want to seek redress against? He did not say.
As always, thank you for your time. 
Tom Rask
Hagan deceptively inserted his retribution request in the Consent Agenda of the November 15, 2017 BOCC meeting trying to ensure there would be no public discussion. Hagan did not even attach copies of the complaints to the agenda item as background information for the commissioners.

Thanks to Commissioner White who pulled Agenda item A-69 from the Consent Agenda to force discussion and to vote separately.

The Consent Agenda is supposed to be used for approval of regular or routine issues that come before the board, or matters where no debate is anticipated. Consent Agenda's are an efficiency tool to be used for non-controversial routine items that can be approved with one action, instead of separately filed motions for each item.

Hagan's request was not routine and certainly not without controversy. This item obviously did not belong on the Consent Agenda. But it does add fuel to our criticism that the Consent Agenda is being abused to ram thru non-routine items that should be transparently discussed and voted on separately.

All four complainants names were in the media reporting of the commission vote. 

The commissioners must answer the question what specifically they thought they were approving and who were they pursuing. Is Hagan and his commission colleagues pursuing reimbursements from 3 complainants, 4 complainants or just one complainant?

Yet another mess down at County Center.

1 comment:

  1. What does it take to fool Hillsborough County Commissioners? The answer is, not much, especially when they want to play dumb. They never asked for any backup documents. They never asked the most obvious questions...
    Why didn't Hagan make it clear that the Sheriff said ethics violations were outside of his jurisdiction?
    If the BOCC had decided not to approve the funding, wasn't Hagan going to spend his own money to pursue getting reimbursement anyway?
    In the 2014 ethics case that Hagan pleaded guilty to, did he ever reimburse the county for defending him?
    Why did Hagan only ask for reimbursement of the county's expenses to defend him? He said that the cases wasted taxpayer money. If so, then why wasn't he interested in getting reimbursement for Murman's expenses also?
    Since similar cases were filed against Murman, were the filers malicious in those filings? Or were they just malicious toward him alone? Why would the same filed charges end up being malicious toward one commissioner and not the other?