Former Commissioner Settles Ethics Charge

Another former Bay County commissioner is having to pay the price for accepting a free round of golf.

Former Commissioner Richard Stewart has agreed to pay a $1,000 fine and receive a formal reprimand. He worked out the deal with the Florida Ethics Commission.

Stewart and former Bay County Commissioner Danny Sparks accepted the free golf outing during a jail fact-finding trip sponsored by Corrections Corporation of America in 2000.

Financial consultant Gary Aikers picked up the golf tab, which came to $230 for each commissioner. This violated state rules which bar public officials from accepting gifts over $100 in value.

Stewart’s deal is the same as the one Sparks reached with the Ethics Commission earlier this year.

The full ethics panel will finally resolve the case when it meets June 2.