Tallahassee, Florida -- A big victory former Hillsborough Administrator Pat Bean: an administrative law judge says she didn't violate ethics laws.
Bean was fired and brought up on ethics charges after the 10 News Investigators revealed she gave herself a one percent raise without telling her bosses, the Board of County Commissioners.
However in his ruling, the judge decided:
Although the Respondent (Bean) acknowledged that she initially believed that her contract precluded her from receiving the salary increase, the county attorney determined otherwise. It is reasonable for Bean to defer to the written legal opinion prepared by the county attorney;
The evidence fails to establish that the Respondent (Bean) was under an obligation to present the matter to the BCC;
It is RECOMMENDED that the Florida Commission on Ethics enter a final order and public report finding that Patricia G. Bean did not violate section 112.313(6) and dismissing the complaint filed in this case.
Meanwhile, a judge has not yet decided if similar charges filed against Renee Lee should also be dismissed. Lee resigned as County Attorney before she was fired.
The State Ethics Commission has the final say, but it usually goes along with the recommendation of the Administrative Law Judge.