Friday, January 16, 2009

Galvano explains why he's mum on Sansom

State Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, called me this morning about the heat he’s getting over the complaints against House Speaker Ray Sansom. Sansom has been accused of violating ethics rules by taking a $110,000 job at Northwest Florida State College.

Galvano is chairman of the Rules & Calendar Council, a powerful committee. As chair, he must decide whether ethics complaints have merit -– and whether they should be subject of a probable cause panel or special investigator. (He pointed me to this blog by the St. Pete Times, which explains it well.)

Galvano says he has two complaints in his possession, including the one referenced by the Times from Susan T. Smith of Odessa. She alleges that Sansom, by taking the Northwest Florida job, violated a House ethics rule. Galvano said he received the complaint on Tuesday, and will be making that decision within 20 days as required.

“That makes me tantamount to being a judge,” Galvano said. And as judge, that’s why he hasn’t made public statements about the Sansom case. He can’t until he makes his decision, which will be an official House action.

His call was prompted by this letter to the editor today, in which Frank Ward demanded that our local legislative leadership hold Sansom accountable and seek his resignation. The Herald also called for Sansom's ouster in this editorial Jan. 4.

If Galvano finds merit in those complaints, the letter writer seems tack on. We’ll be waiting to hear his ruling, following this in the Herald and online in the coming days.

-- Joan