Commissioner investigated for creating hostile working environment

In some many ways, our community has become numb to ethical violations, poor behavior by elected officials and local government employees that would not be tolerated in other cities and counties.

The Citrus County Commission voted last summer to investigate one of its members, Scott Adams, after receiving written complaints by former County Administrator Brad Thorpe. The board voted to hire Orlando attorney Dorothy Green to investigate whether Adams created a hostile work place with his behavior toward employees. She interviewed 15 former and current employees, plus three commissioners who agreed to talk with her.

She delivered her report yesterday. Green reported that none of Adams’ incidents of behavior rose to the level of violating federal workforce harassment civil rights laws, except in some isolated instances involving County Attorney Kerry Parsons where Adams mentioned her age, lack of experience and what Adams believes is incompetence. Read “Report cites interference on Adams’ behalf”

What was the type of behavior did Green find:

* Adams interfered with Thorpe’s oversight of his staff on numerous occasions, including trying to have building official Carl Jones fired and by placing a letter of “no confidence” in the personnel file of then-assistant county administrator Cathy Pearson.

* Adams’ conduct toward former County Administrator Brad Thorpe and other county staffers could be perceived as “abusive, threatening, intimidating and harassing,” which violates a county administrative regulation regarding civil behavior by employees and elected officials.

Here is the full report