Friday, September 08, 2006

Buddy Johnson, Elections Supervisor in Hillsborough County, FL is GOP Crony

Buddy Johnson, Hillsborough County FLORIDA Supervisor of Elections has hired a GOP firm....lections office work went not to a solitary attorney but to as many as 10 Broad and Cassel lawyers and paralegals who racked up hundreds of hours of work.n Broad and Cassel provided tens of thousands of dollars of free legal work to Johnson’s office.In May, for instance, the firm did $69,322 worth of work for the elections office, yet billed Johnson for $13,442.- In funneling nonpartisan elections issues to outside attorneys, Johnson selected one of the most politically connected law firms in the Tampa Bay area.
Steven G. Burton, Broad and Cassel’s managing partner, has deep roots in GOP politics. He has provided support to Republicans at every level of government, from President Bush to Gov. Jeb Bush to Johnson himself. In 2004, Burton was part of the legal team for the campaign to re-elect Bush-Cheney. In 2002, he was among the lawyers working for Gov. Jeb Bush’s re-election campaign. In 2000, Burton sued the county’s Canvassing Board — an arm of the elections office — on behalf of the Bush-Cheney ticket to seek validation of overseas military ballots.

Buddy Johnson has also failed to answer why Supervisor of Elections office isn't answering questions about why a fired employee got a hefty severance check in return for his silence.$24,000 Agreement To Keep Quiet Looks A Lot Like Hush Money

Why Does Hillsborough Cty. Elections Sup. Buddy Johnson call Office "The Company.?
Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 06:55:54 AM EDT
The St. Pete Times editorial for 9/1/2006 asks: What should citizens think of an elections supervisor who calls his agency "the Company," pays hush money to a former aide and declares that employees of his government office must sign confidentiality agreements?

This is the culture Buddy Johnson has brought to Hillsborough County's elections office. An agency responsible for involving citizens in their democracy and running clean elections looks more like the closed world of some corporate conglomerate. Johnson was a Jeb Bush appointee.

"I don't know what the big deal is," Johnson told a [Tampa]Tribune reporter Mark Holan this week.

Repub. Elections Chief Pays Hush Money in Hillsborough

Sat Aug 26, 2006 at 10:37:38 AM EDT
Buddy Johnson(R)-Hillsborough Election Supervisor Pays $24,000 in "Hush Money" reports the Tampa Tribune on Aug 26, 2006....Indeed, Johnson's spending spree on severance pay, employee raises and a revolving door of new hires makes one question how he is running the elections office. He has asked the county for $1.2 million more than the $7.3 million he budgeted for next year. Commissioners should use this opportunity to ask tough questions about his liberal spending ways... Johnson gave his assistant supervisor of elections five raises since 2005. Altogether, Johnson and his top two employees make $409,813 annually. By contrast, Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark and her two assistants make $284,274, the paper reported.

Voters expect Johnson to run a competent and transparent office, while demonstrating a measure of fiscal conservatism.So long as their elections supervisor chooses to keep secrets, it will be hard to have confidence in him.
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Buddy Johnson and the Hillsborough "Company."
Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 08:10:08 AM EDT
Hillsborough Tax dollars go for HUSH MONEY

In the office of Hillsborough Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson, the public information director is not a civil service employee. He serves at Johnson's pleasure and can be fired at his whim.

But last month, when Johnson abruptly asked for the resignation of public information director Steve Holub, it came with an unusual offer. Johnson promised to pay Holub $24,142 if he agreed not to sue the office and pledged to keep his mouth shut about anything he had observed during his eight months of employment there....

The five-page agreement, patterned after corporate releases, refers to the public elections office as "the Company," and warns that disclosing the terms of the agreement may result in "the Company" seeking "legal damages."