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Tim Howard
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A FORMER SARASOTA COUNTY EMPLOYEE PLEAD GUILTY IN A PALM BEACH COUNTY COURTROOM YESTERDAY TO ACCEPTING ILLEGAL GIFTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE SARASOTA COUNTY PURCHASING SCANDAL.  ACCORDING TO THE HERALD TRIBUNE, 56 YEAR OLD RODNEY JONES WAS ARRESTED BACK IN MARCH ON THE THREE FELONY COUNTS WHICH LAUNCHED AN INVESTIGATION INTO HOW THE COUNTY WAS AWARDING GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS.  THAT INVESTIGATION IS STILL ONGOING, AND THE COUNTY IS LOOKING FOR A NEW COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR, NEW FINANCE OFFICER, AND A NEW SYSTEM TO MAKE SURE IT DOESN’T HAPPEN AGAIN.  THE TERMS OF THE PLEA AGREEMENT REPORTEDLY HAVE JONES TESTIFYING AGAINST UP TO TEN CO-DEFENDANTS IN THE CASE.  AS OF NOW, JONES IS THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME AS THE SARASOTA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE INVESTIGATION SUGGESTED THAT NO CHARGES BE FILED AGAINST ANYONE ELSE INVOLVED.  HOWEVER, INTERIM COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR TERRY LEWIS IS CONDUCTING HIS OWN INVESTIGATION.  IT’S NOT KNOWN IF THE PLEA DEAL WILL KEEP JONES OUT OF JAIL AS NO RECOMMENDATION WAS MADE BY PROSECUTORS.