Commissioners reject Curry’s resignation; Dowd survives vote

nwfdn Jim Curry and John Dowd

John Dowd, left, and Jim Curry, right.

FILE PHOTO / Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 10:17 AM.

FORT WALTON BEACH — Okaloosa County Administrator Jim Curry and County Attorney John Dowd still had their jobs on Wednesday.

Curry remained employed despite tendering his resignation at Tuesday night’s county commission meeting. Dowd held onto his post despite Commissioner Kelly Windes’ attempt to fire him.

The tension-filled, seven-hour meeting was the latest example of county officials seeking to satisfy critics calling for accountability in the wake of the Mark Bellinger fraud scandal.

The board voted unanimously to reject Curry’s resignation, which was offered just before 9 p.m. during a discussion about the county’s response to the scandal.

“The theft of public funds to purchase a house, a car and other items was beyond comprehension,” Curry said in a prepared statement. “In retrospect, perhaps I should have been better prepared for such, especially after so many other criminal revelations involving other constitutional offices.”

He said he regretted not recognizing the circumstances under which the Tourist Development Council was operating and the conditions “that enabled a crook to steal from the public.”

“I also was at times a part of the approval process that allowed these transactions to take place, and I do not take that responsibility lightly,” Curry said. “I regret that perhaps I should have recognized and acted earlier to prevent the crimes that Mark Bellinger perpetrated upon our community.”

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