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Code official could be fired

St. Pete Beach's building code administrator didn't react well to an inquiry into possible misconduct.

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA
Published September 10, 2006


ST. PETE BEACH - The city's building code administrator could be fired for actions a city official called "aggressive, insubordinate, unprofessional and unacceptable."

Scott Andersen was placed on unpaid administrative leave Aug. 25 after city officials learned that he allowed a consulting business inspector to review a set of building plans and use Andersen's official stamp to approve them.

The city held a disciplinary hearing Thursday to determine the facts of the case. No decision had been made Friday afternoon.

Andersen is responsible for personally reviewing and approving or disapproving all plans submitted to the city, said Karl Holley, the city's director of community development.

"You improperly instructed Edgar (Nazario) to use your official stamp ... indicating your review and approval," Holley said in a predisciplinary notification letter to Andersen. Nazario works for Capri Engineering, a firm hired by the city to help with building inspections.

Andersen's problems did not end there.

According to Holley, Andersen was "not truthful" when he later denied that he had allowed or told Nazario to use his stamp on the plans, an action Holley witnessed.

At a later meeting with Holley and Gary Behnke, the city's human resources administrator, Holley said Andersen acted in an "aggressive, insubordinate, unprofessional and unacceptable manner," particularly when Andersen told Behnke he had "no right" to review his work.

After that meeting, Holley said Anderson instructed a permit technician to pull the building plans but was stopped by Holley to ensure the "integrity" of the city's investigation.

After that incident, Holley said, Andersen went into his office and smashed his official building inspector approval stamp with a hammer, conduct that "caused concern and fear among some employees."

The following day, Holley said, Andersen came to work earlier than usual and deleted all e-mails from his computer, some of which are required to be retained as public records.

At one point in the investigation Behnke offered Andersen a chance to resign "to avoid an investigation and potential disciplinary action."

Instead, Andersen hired a lawyer.

Andersen, who was hired by the city in 2003, said in a letter to the city's human resources department that he has "always worked very hard for the city of St. Pete Beach with all my heart and soul."

Neither Andersen nor his attorney could be reached Friday for comment.

[Last modified September 9, 2006, 21:05:43]


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