DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WMBB) – Dede Hinote was fired from her position as Walton County deputy county administrator Thursday morning.
This comes after an investigation into her county purchase card usage was opened Tuesday.
A major factor in this decision was the discovery of a $400 PayPal charge on clothing made in December of last year, which had been paid back.
“Sometimes things have to be done for the good of the order,” Walton County Commission Chairman Mike Barker said. “Things have to be done to safeguard county government, county taxpayer funds, and those decisions have to be made by the board of county commissioners and today that’s what we’ve done.”
Other charges raised questions as well.
Hinote had multiples charges on items like food when on business trips.
But she said it was commonplace to charge the county card and reimburse it.
“I’ve done nothing different than what’s been done in the past,” Hinote said. “A precedent had been set and I’ve done nothing different. I did not steal from the county in any way shape or form.”
The acting county attorney Clay Adkinson said every charge on Hinote’s purchase card has been reimbursed to the county in full.
Hinote said she is sad it had to end this way.
“We’ve done a lot of great things in Walton County. We have a lot of great projects that are coming, or were coming, that I was working on,” Hinote said.
Adkinson said legal and HR will be pulling all county purchase cards, including those of county commissioners as the investigation progresses.