HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — Hernando County commissioners are responding after voting to fire the county administrator at their meeting on Tuesday.
- Leonard Sossamon no longer Hernando County administrator
- Misallocated money, leadership cited as issues
- Commissioners Steve Champion, Wayne Dukes voted against firing
- More Hernando County headlines
Commissioners voted 3-2 to end their contract with County Administrator Leonard Sossamon, who has held the position for seven years.
"Really it just came down to leadership," said Hernando County Commission Chair Jeff Holcomb.
Holcomb put the item on the agenda and was one of the three votes to let Sossamon go. He was joined in the vote by commissioners John Allocco and John Mitten.
"Money was misallocated in the second year to the tune where we couldn't pay our bills," Holcomb said.
Holcomb says in 2017, there was a misallocation of $1 million. In 2018, they had $5 million misallocated. And this year, he said the county has an estimated $11 million deficit.
Holcomb said he also did not support Sossamon's hiring of a budget manager, who has since been let go.
Commissioner Steve Champion was one of the two dissenting votes, along with Commissioner Wayne Dukes.
"I didn't feel like an employee's mistake — and he held her accountable, she's no longer with us in budget — that that should be the sole reason for terminating his contract," Champion said.
"I think it sets us back. We had a seven-year tenured administrator. The business community out there is upset about this as well right now. I've had dozens already talk to me and ask why we did this," Champion said.
Deputy County Administrator Jeff Rogers will take over Sossamon's duties.
Now they say the focus lies on the budget.
"We did loan the fire department some money, and we're looking at ... we are being reimbursed for that. We're hoping we can get a little acceleration in that," Holcomb said.
Champion said the government is still going to function.
"We're still going to get this done. We're not going to raise taxes, we've all said that. It's creative accounting from the government," Champion added.
Sossamon did speak at Tuesday's meeting.
"I can say that nobody's skirt tails or cuffs of their britches are clean. Bar none," he said. "I can say that unequivocally."