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Wetlands protector suspended
By MICHAEL VAN SICKLER
Published June 27, 2007
The director of Hillsborough County's embattled wetlands regulation office was suspended for two weeks on Tuesday, four days after posting critical comments about county commissioners on a blog.
"These arrogant commissioners have to go, they are not listening to us, " Jadell Kerr wrote on the local blog, SticksofFire.com, last week. The day before, Commissioners Brian Blair, Ken Hagan, Jim Norman and Kevin White voted to disband the $2.2-million wetlands management division that Kerr oversees at the Environmental Protection Commission.
On Tuesday, the EPC's executive director, Richard Garrity, said he suspended Kerr with pay because of "management issues, " one of which included what she wrote on the blog.
Garrity said none of the commissioners asked him to take action against Kerr, but he did inform them after making his decision. Kerr earns $115, 814 a year and oversees 28 employees at the EPC.
Her division has come under fire from developers, especially Stephen Dibbs, who complain the EPC's efforts to protect wetlands only duplicate what the state already does.
Kerr mentioned Dibbs in her blog post, saying "Dibbs has had it out for EPC for quite a while... . He has some huge controversial development plans in the pipelines and without the EPC, those plans are likely to be a slam dunk."