So much smoke has been blowing around HART, that in November last year the HART Board authorized an external investigation of their CEO.
Now HART's CEO Adelee LeGrand, the one being investigated, wants to resign from HART. She wants to flee fiscally failing HART with a big payout and demands that any report from the investigation of her never sees the light of day.
And what timing....A report from the external investigation is to be made to the HART Board at Monday's (March 6, 2023) Board meeting.
This is a copy of the agenda item for Monday's meeting:
After the agenda item was set, LeGrand's attorney sent this settlement demand to the HART Board members.
|LeGrand Resignation Settlement Demands|
Apparently, HART's legal counsel David Smith decided that only a verbal report, not a written one, would be provided to the Board Monday. Such action was never agreed upon by the HART Board.
Investigations are not done to provide "verbal" reports. They are done to document in writing the findings of the investigation.
The report from the investigation should have been provided to the Board last month. Why wasn't it?
Something smells. Hasn't too many years of HART's dishonesty and lack of transparency help create the mess they are in?
The delay and Smith's decision to only provide a verbal report Monday helped LeGrand tee up her resignation demands. Le Grand wants the HART Board to agree to her demands Monday BEFORE the verbal report from the investigation is provided to the Board. So the report from the investigation is never made.
LeGrand wants to shut down the investigation of her. She wants to ensure the taxpayers who have been paying her salary never know what the investigation found.
LeGrand also wants to get paid 20 weeks of pay in a lump-sum and receive other financial benefits.
HART fiscally failed under LeGrand. She was hired in January 2020 as the highest paid CEO in the agency's history, with $50,000 in relocation assistance and a starting salary higher than her predecessor.Then during the pandemic a feckless HART Board gave her a $37,500 pay raise after 1 year on the job. LeGrand's bloated salary got baked into HART's ballooning operating budget.
LeGrand....and the reckless former HART Board....refused to address HART's exploding operating costs. One time COVID relief money intended to help HART weather the pandemic was irresponsibly spent on pay raises to other high paid administrative staff that also got baked into HART's exploding operating expenses.
LeGrand and the irresponsible former HART Board were banking on HART getting a taxpayer funded bailed out from the All for Transportation (AFT) transit tax.
Almost all members of the previous HART Board supported the massive $23 Billion AFT tax hike. Do not forget that the Chair of the AFT PAC, Tyler Hudson, still sits on the HART Board.
HART was banking on taxpayers being forced to hand HART at least 45%, over $10 Billion of AFT tax dollars. Those billions would have provided cover for HART's fiscal mess.
Instead of a bail out, HART is going insolvent. LeGrand wants to flee HART with a bunch of your tax dollars and assurances that the external investigation of her remains hidden.
It took a new HART Board, with some new members appointed after the November election, to authorize the external investigation last year.
If LeGrand and the HART Board believe in transparency and actually want to fix the mess HART has become, they would welcome the external investigation report.
But according to this Tampa Bay Times article, HART's legal counsel David Smith wants the HART Board to accept Le Grand's demands:
“It is the Board’s decision, but it is the opinion of General Counsel, after consultation with employment counsel, that in light of all the relevant circumstances, acceptance of this proposal is in the best interest of HART,” Smith wrote to board members Thursday.
As we reported here we continue to question why David Smith still has his job. It was Smith who admitted at a HART Board meeting that the 2022 AFT transit tax ballot language was intentionally politically polluted.
A Circuit Court judge agreed and removed AFT from the ballot. Thankfully AFT was defeated at the ballot box last year when the transit tax was allowed to remain on the ballot during the appeal process.
HART has spent almost $300K in legal fees trying to defend unlawful AFT transit tax hikes. And apparently, as HART's financial position kept declining, they had no qualms doing so.
Lack of transparency about an investigation the HART Board authorized and taxpayers funded is wrong. Lack of transparency raises more questions and will heighten more distrust of HART.
HART's credibility is in the tank and their financial position on life support.
On Monday, the HART Board must reject LeGrand's demand to shield herself from the investigation of her. They cannot reward incompetence, fiscal mismanagement, willful neglect or even a whiff of unethical behavior.
We must know who knew what when!
Censorship of the investigation report is unacceptable!
We must know the findings of the investigation for HART to take measures to never allow such mess to happen again.
Hillsborough County commissioner Joshua Wostal is absolutely correct in his comment to the Times:
Hillsborough County Commissioner Joshua Wostal called the proposal a “slap in the face” to taxpayers and an attempt to suppress the investigation’s findings.
“The voters paid for it,” he told The Times Thursday. “They deserve to see what’s in it.”
The report from the investigation must be transparently made to the Board. Censorship of the report cannot be allowed.
Because when smoke is blowing, there are often flames. If there is a fire burning at HART, it must be put out.
Why would the board vote to end the investigation unless there are multiple embarrassing facts and information that would expose current and former board members. Is it legal for the board to hide any written report. If the report is not written is that grounds for the Governor to abolish the present board and just start from scratch. The stench of what is being proposed and recommended here is beyond the pale, unless you can't smell. This is a new low for the HART BOARDReplyDelete
What behind-the-scenes discussions/deals among decisionmakers caused the report to suddenly go to verbal instead of written? This stuff stinks to high heaven!!! Where is the accountability? How come Hart has been allowed to be run like this for years? Where was the scrutiny? Where was the oversight from all of the elected officials that we trusted to provide it? And when taxpayers become irate and ask these questions, you know what we'll hear? ....crickets!!!ReplyDelete
If she stays she has the power to fire more staff and she will get/have gotten more than $160,000 on her exit. she "welcomed" the investigation and now she does not want those findings out...ReplyDelete
More useless people need to be fired. Too many chiefs &directors and not enough IndiansDelete
Just check HART'S webpage under transparency- NOTHING, since this CEO was hired. Last post was June 2022 on financial reports, and that was only posted AFTER people made public requestsReplyDelete
What a coincidence, it is all of a sudden updated this morning, the things you can accomplish if you request data through public requestsDelete
I gave 21 years of my life to HART, and when I needed them to be there for me, I was fire. So with that being said, she should not get any special treatment, specially when We (the taxpayers) are paying for an investigation. It is obvious that because some Board members who supported her in the past and present are worry their image will be damaged, now is not the time to repent, it's time to do what is right by the taxpayers who elected you to represent them. Do not allow this woman to hold her head up high by taking advantage of the taxpayers on her way out. It is our right as taxpayers to see the report of the investigation we pay for. Standing up and denying her request, is the right thing to do for the taxpayers, and will speak volumes on who each of you are. I hope you all do right by us. Thank you and God bless!ReplyDelete
Le Grande's original salary was $250,000 + increase $37,500 for a current total $287,000, That equates to $11,057.69 per pay period or $138.22 per hour. She is NOT doing a well enough job for that pay.ReplyDelete
You forgot all the extras she is gettingDelete
This is an outrage! The report must be made public,if termination is the outcome she should only get her accrued vacation pay,like everybody else.ReplyDelete
THIS WHOLE MEETING WAS A WASTE OF TIMEReplyDelete