Most political pundits in Monroe County seem to believe that it is a foregone conclusion that Thomas J. Willi will be fired without cause at the next meeting of the Monroe County Commission.
Firing him without cause is easy for the commission - they simply write a check paying him for the time and benefits remaining on his contract and tell him goodbye after a 3 vote majority.
I agree with the calculations that I've read in two of the local newspapers that the total cost to the County of a Willi departure at this juncture will be about $200,000. I've heard that Willi has told some of his "friends" that it will cost the citizens of Monroe County $400,000 to get rid of him.
No matter. The County Commission can fire Tom Willi today under provisions in his contract that allow them to do so without paying him a damn thing.
Willi's contract clearly states that he can be fired for lying. It doesn't say, lying twice in a year, three times or seventeen times unless on a full moon, but clearly names lying as a cause for temination.
I believe that the Commission can prove that Tom lied about several things - I believe that there are too many examples to pass up this opportunity to potentially save the taxpayers $200,000 - or, if Tom makes other claims - $400,000.
After all, if you're going to have to fight Tom in court, you might as well fight for the entire enchilada. Litigating for $200k isn't materially much different that litigating for $400k and, given what I believe I know about Tom, the County is likely going to end up in litigation with Tom Willi.
So how do you fire him for cause?
Play back the audio tape of Tom talking to Jeb Bush about evacuation times during the public meeting. Note that then Governor Bush gave Tom a huge opportunity to correct his misstatement about evacuation times.
Compare Tom's statements with known facts.
Was he lying? Or was he just incompetent, misstating important facts that concern the safety of citizens of Monroe County?
I believe that Tom lied to the commission when recounting his discussion with Judge Sandra Taylor. Watching her at the meeting, it was clear that they had a different recollection of an earlier discussion about closing the Marathon courthouse.
So, ask Judge Taylor to come to the County Commission meeting. If she comes, ask her point blank in the public meeting - does she believe Tom Willi lied to the Commission?
I have a list of lies Tom told the media about me and my firing and can dispute them with facts. I have audio of Tom's statements and the facts are indisputable.
Hmmm... saying something that isn't factual... lies or not?
Lying is only one of the reasons he can be terminated with cause.
I suppose that there's a screw-in-the-lightbulb joke there somewhere - "How many Tom Willi lies does it take for him to lose his job?"
Twice during Tom Willi's tenure, his management has been characterized as less than competent by Grand Jury's.
How is this NOT incompetence - another reason for termination? The Grand Jury chose to look at two construction projects and found that both of them were mismanaged. Tom Willi is named in both reports.
Commissioners, now that you've found the courage to get rid of Tom, do it in a manner that makes it clear that you're not happy with him and without pouring another big pile of County money down a hole. Something tells me that the County Attorney's office would be more than happy to litigate this - Tom doesn't have a leg to stand on and this will give you the only position that may allow you to negotiate a reasonable settlement and the end of Teflon Tom's reign of incompetence at Monroe County.