A weird story of sexual harassment, internet porn, plagiarism, and secret investigations has Florida abuzz.
Last week, while Jeb was off cheering tsunami victims, he fired Secretary of Elder Affairs Terry White via a short and terse letter printed on the Florida News blog.
The reason for the firing? Sexual harassment of coworkers. What coworkers? Can’t tell you, it’s a secret. What did they say he did? Can’t tell you, it’s a secret. Well, what proof do you have? Can’t tell you, it’s a secret.
The “investigation” began Friday, Dec. 30 and ended when White was escorted out of the building on Wednesday, Jan. 5. According to the Palm Beach Post:
Bush’s office refused to release the names of the alleged victims or the nature of the complaints, and his spokesman said Thursday that no written documents involving White’s dismissal exist.
Rodriguez conducted her investigation within hours of receiving the complaints from the elder affairs department. After interviewing White, senior staff at the agency and the workers who made the complaints, she found that White violated Bush’s code of ethics and recommended “immediate disciplinary action.”
“Did he (White) get due process? Who knows?” said Barbara Peterson, executive director of the Florida First Amendment Foundation. “Anybody who would conduct an investigation without taking notes, that’s just impossible for me to believe.”
If nothing else, this clears up one question. Until now, White’s sexual orientation wasn’t publicly defined, with his job advocating for seniors serving as wife, mistress, and phone sex partner. It’s also funny that calculated leaks claim White asked female coworkers to perform oral sex on him. Nothing seems to get the Republican dander going like the thought of blow jobs at the office.
The fact that White had recently gotten sideways with HMOs had nothing to do with the lightening speed of the inquiry or the firing. After all, it’s not as if anything like that ever took place on Jeb’s watch. Although, as the Tallahassee Democrat recalled…
[White] succeeded Gema Hernandez, who was forced out by Bush in 2001 when some legislators complained about her management style – and Hernandez said she had run afoul of some powerful companies that do business with the elder-services agency.
So what about the internet porn and plagiarism? For that, you have to go to the man Jeb hired as his new staff writer the day after he fired White.
Lloyd Brown was asked to leave Jacksonville’s arch conservative Florida Times-Union, where he was editorial page editor, in November. The dismissal came after Jacksonville’s other local news source, the independent Folio Weekly, ran a story from a former T-U editorial writer whose life was made miserable by Brown. Although he viewed online porn pretty much all day everyday, regardless of who was in the office, Brown also visited the Heritage Foundation and other right-wing sites long enough to copy and paste editorials.
Because his firing focused on the plagiarism, which was so blatant as to defy defending, reports on the story outside of Folio did as well. Editor and Publisher also paid attention.
The Folio story actually focused more on accusing Brown of abusing his workplace computer to view Internet pornography and of creating a hostile work environment for Bussard. “I really can’t comment on that,” Brown said.
Cannon said the allegations of Internet pornography use and harassment were “a human-resources issue that had been settled to the satisfaction of both parties more than five years ago,” but would not elaborate further. He said those non-plagiarism complaints would not be reviewed by the committee.
After being fired, Brown was allowed to announce his “retirement” and fade away. Until this week, when Jeb evidently felt the need to add someone who really knows about sexual harassment to his staff. Jeb’s hiring of this sick puppy boggles the mind in a way only a Bush can. Can you say “hubris?”