Florida Commission on Ethics to Vote on Baugh Settlement Agreement Next Week

Dawn Kitterman
TALLAHASSEE  — On Friday, Jan. 27, the Florida Commission on Ethics will take final action in the matter of alleged ethics violations by Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh for her part in "Vaccinegate." The ethics commission will consider and vote to approve or reject, the joint stipulation (settlement) agreed to between Baugh and the state advocate. The meeting will be held in Tallahassee.  

An administrative hearing was previously scheduled for early November 2022, after the Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause that Baugh violated Section 112.313(6) of the Florida Statutes, which deals with standards of conduct for public officers, employees of agencies, and local government attorneys. The administrative hearing was intended to hear witnesses and evidence in the matter but was canceled after the settlement agreement was reached.

If the ethics commission were to approve the settlement, Baugh would pay an $8,000 fine and receive public censure and reprimand for violating state law "by using or attempting to use her public position and/or resources to deviate from Manatee County's COVID-19 vaccine distribution policy to serve specific individuals and zip codes at a state-operated pop-up vaccine site." Baugh would also need to admit to "the facts as set forth in the Report of Investigation."

Friday’s Commission on Ethics meeting will be accessible to the public via live stream. The meeting agenda can be accessed on the COE’s website and a link to a video of the meeting will also appear on the website once the meeting has convened—as well as on YouTube .

In the weeks surrounding the settlement having been reported publicly, Baugh appeared confident that the ethics commission would finalize it once it returned for approval. 

In late October, the Herald Tribune quoted Baugh as having said, "I'm glad it's over" in response to a settlement having been reached between herself and the state's advocate. 

In November, Baugh gave a lengthy interview to The Observer detailing her side of the story and decisions she made which ultimately led to 18 separate ethics complaints being filed against her. When asked by The Observer whether it was difficult for the commissioner to hear that the Florida Commission on Ethics had found probable cause in the complaints against here, Baugh told The Observer, "It was obvious that it was an orchestrated bottom line." 

The Florida Commission on Ethics is comprised of nine commissioners and any determinations made on the settlement will be decided by a majority vote of the commission. The commissioners can decide to approve the joint stipulation and terms as currently written, expand upon or add terms, or the commission has the authority to deny approval of any settlement at all. 

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Reader Comments
Tom
JAN 24, 2023  •  Baugh, Kruse and KVO are criminals. The difference is that Baugh will bribe, cheat and steal to get her desired outcome. Guarantee, she paid off the commission.
Manatee Speaks
JAN 24, 2023  •  Poor excuse for a human. As trashy and low as one can ever go. Society at its worst. How dare she trade vaccines for lives. Why is she not in jail?
John
JAN 23, 2023  •  They should never accept the plea. She caused harm, broke our trust and showed favoritism to those that support her financially. It is a slap on the wrist. She needs to quit.
Debby Pellom
JAN 22, 2023  •  I HOPE THEY REJECT HER PLEA, AND GOES TO TRIAL..ALL THE PEOPLE SHE THREW UNDER THE BUS NEED TO TESTIFY...THOSE 2 ZIPCODES WERE HER DOING...SHE'S A LOSER
Debby Pellom
JAN 22, 2023  •  I HOPE THEY REJECT HER PLEA, AND GOES TO TRIAL..ALL THE PEOPLE SHE THREW UNDER THE BUS NEED TO TESTIFY...THOSE 2 ZIPCODES WERE HER DOING...SHE'S A LOSER
KC
JAN 22, 2023  •  The Ethics Commission should strip Baugh of her seat. Reject the settlement and impose the harshest sanction. Baugh is not fit for any leadership role. She endangered lives.
The Truth
JAN 22, 2023  •  Vanessa Baugh killed thousands by her criminal acts of selling vaccines to the highest bidders. You are going to jail
Alan Clark
JAN 22, 2023  •  This is where you'd file a complaint with the Ethics Board https://www.ethics.state.fl.us/Documents/Forms/Complaint%20Form.PDF?cp=2023122
NR
JAN 22, 2023  •  I believe Pre-trial Intervention (PTI) is an admission of guilt.
HK
JAN 22, 2023  •  I pray they toss it and provide opportunity for ALL of the witnesses interviewed in the Sheriff's investigation to testify to the facts. This woman should NOT be in office and she should have been removed long ago. She's a pathological liar!!
Alene Gauthier
JAN 22, 2023  •  It will be interesting to see whether the Good Ole Boy panhandle politics will welcome her, give her a pat on the back, and squash this.
JoAnn
JAN 22, 2023  •  Chuck, you hit the nail on the head! How sad and embarrassing for Manatee County
Jim
JAN 22, 2023  •  The all time worse action a seated commissioner for Manatee County has ever taken. She should close out her political career knowing that her nasty, vindictive self does not belong representing the citizens.
Cat L
JAN 22, 2023  •  Can't decide if "It was obvious that it was an orchestrated bottom line." Is more blanket, overused partisan tag-line or a just classically narcissistic viewpoint.
Chuck
JAN 22, 2023  •  A thief, a cheat and a drunk walk into a Manatee County commissioners meeting.


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