WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Walton County’s former deputy county administrator is now suing the commission.
Dede Hinote was fired in March of last year.
In her lawsuit, Hinote’s attorney wrote that the commission did not have the legal authority to fire her, did not follow their own procedures for disciplining employees, and discriminated against Hinote because she is a woman. Along with suing the county, Hinote is also suing three commissioners individually, Michael Barker, William McCormick, and Danny Glidewell.
“Hinote was subjected to numerous other uncomfortable actions by the County’s Commissioners, in what many recognize is a “good ole’ boy” environment,” the lawsuit states.
Commissioner said at the time that they were terminating Hinote’s employment because she had used a county purchasing card to buy items for personal use. Hinote said in each instance the money was paid back and that she had not violated any rules regarding the card.
Hinote’s lawsuit states the purchasing card issue was a ruse the commissioners used to fire her in retaliation. Hinote also said she stood up for another county employee that the commission illegally fired.
Hinote said Commissioner Danny Glidewell intimidated and threatened Hinote because he was upset over a social media post done by another individual. She added that Glidewell intimidated and harassed her over a decision she made regarding the parks and recreation department work crew.
Hinote’s lawsuit also compared her treatment with the treatment of a male employee who did the same job she was doing for the county. The man was paid $102,000 while Hinote was paid $88,000.
When he was removed from his job the man was allowed to use all of his paid time off, remain on the county payroll, receive cost of living increases, continue to receive insurance, and continue to receive Florida Retirement System contributions paid by the county.
However, none of those things were given to Hinote when she was fired. Hinote is asking for compensatory damages, back pay, and punitive damages.
A call to Walton County’s attorney and commissioners Glidewell, McCormick, and Barker was not returned Wednesday.
This is the second time in less than a year that the commission has been sued for sex discrimination. Former Assistant County Attorney Heather Maxwell filed a sexual discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit against the county in October.