Florida's Most Corrupt City Saves Itself

Hampton moves quickly, legislators abandon plan to disband it
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2014 11:51 AM CDT
Florida's Most Corrupt City Saves Itself
Former Hampton Mayor Barry Moore, 51, speaks during an interview at the Bradford County Sheriff's Office, Monday, March 17, 2014 in Starke, Fla.   (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Kent Nishimura)

The city dubbed the Sunshine State's "most corrupt" and "too Florida, even for Florida" has avoided the ax: Florida lawmakers have now abandoned their quest to disband the city of Hampton, a municipality with the distinction of having its own mayor resign from jail. The city was exposed as a hotbed of corruption earlier this month in a state audit and legislators had sought to strip its cityhood unless it got its act together. As CNN reports, a team of four led by acting Mayor Myrtice McCullough took the challenge seriously and put together a plan that convinced state Rep. Charles Van Zant and Sen. Rob Bradley to spare Hampton from being annexed into Bradford County. "Thank you for the work that has been done," Bradley told 50 of Hampton's 477 residents at a meeting Friday. "You've got a lot more to do, but boy." Van Zant told residents that "you've done yeoman's work."

A look at the changes enacted in just four weeks:

  • Every elected official in office when the audit came out has since resigned; a special election is set for September.
  • The police force has been disbanded.
  • Officials accounted for $132,000 spent at a gas station across from City Hall, as well as a $27,000 credit card balance.
  • Began tracking city water meters.
  • Began work to de-annex a section of US 301 that essentially functioned as a speed trap.
  • Opened City Council meetings to the public.
(Read more Hampton, Florida stories.)

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