The first-ever full-blown public hearing for someone cited by the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics has been set for March 2.
The commission set the date for the four-hour hearing at its monthly meeting on Thursday.
In November, the commission cited Rowan Hughes, a former analyst for Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management, alleging he tried to intimidate a Riviera Beach auto repair shop into giving him a discount.
The commission, formed in 2009, usually disposes of ethics charges with a dismissal or discipline in the form of a “letter of instruction,” a reprimand or a fine. Previous cases always have been worked out.
But Hughes has demanded a formal hearing.
The charges against Hughes stem from a November 2015 report by the Palm Beach County Office of Inspector General. It said that after the shop refused to reduce the repair bill on a personal vehicle of Hughes’, he falsely identified himself as a well field inspector who said he would have to conduct a inspection
Hughes alleges the shop filed a false complaint because Hughes challenged the bill. Hughes, who attended Thursday’s meeting with his lawyer, declined to comment. If the commission finds Hughes intentionally violated ethics rules, he could be reprimanded and fined up to $500. It also could refer its findings to the Palm Beach County State Attorney.
The county fired Hughes Dec. 21, 2015, after he admitted driving a county vehicle for personal use, ethics commission documents show.