Ferlita, Hagan engage in heated debate

08/16/07 Mitch E.. Perry
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Immediately after the vote on the wetlands issue, Commissioner Ken Hagan suggested that the County Commission reschedule its Land Use meeting, so members could all attend the funeral of Sgt. Ronald Harrison, the Hillsborough County Deputy Sheriff killed yesterday morning.

On the heels of another scheduling controversy, Hagen said he wanted to ensure that everybody could attend the funeral.

Yesterday, the Commission switched its meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Initially, County Administrator Pat Bean said it was because of a light schedule. Later, she admitted it was because four of the Commissioners had told Bean they wanted to attend the funeral of Charles Kearney, the founder of Kearney Development Co., a major land development business, who had contributed to the political campaigns of all the commissioners except Rose Ferlita.

Ferlita said she meant no disrespect to the Kearney family, but indicated there were other ways to express sympathy. She said it was wrong to inconvenience citizens who planned to attend the meeting yesterday morning.

That led to a heated exchange, which saw Ferlita become incensed at Hagin.

After more discussion about how the Board could re-arrange the time for the Land Use meeting, members voted to move the Land Use Meeting to 9 a.m. Tuesday.

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