Remember that movie, “What About Bob“? In the Keys, you have your own Bob driving you crazy – Shady Bob. Bob Shillinger, the County Attorney.
As an attorney, Shady Bob has a certain amount of exposure that the other rummy-dums at the county do not have. Shady Bob can be disciplined by the Florida Bar for violating the rules of professional conduct. I wonder if Shady Bob ever thinks about that when he’s impeding public records requests or facilitating sketchy transactions.
I think he does now. He’s delegated his public records stonewalling duties to underlings. They do the dirty work these days. I hope they’re not dumb enough to put their careers on the line for Shady Bob. There’s no doubt in my mind he’d throw them under the bus in a heartbeat.
The ethically challenged commissioners can sit tight through scandal after scandal. The limited options available to Monroe County voters, and the media echo chamber, will ensure the commissioners are re-elected time and again. No matter what. And that will ensure that sketchy staff members, such as the iPhone Bandit, will keep their jobs. No matter what. Sad but true.
But what if Shady Bob ever steps so far out of line that he loses the ability to practice law? He wouldn’t be the first Monroe County Attorney to be disbarred. I suppose the BOCC could create another job for him, say Strategic Planning Director the Second. Maybe the State Attorneys Office would hire him on as Chief Inspector Bobblehead 2.0. I’m sure there would always be a place for him at the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) – the last chance ranch for sketchy characters incapable of finding honest work. Or maybe the City of Key West would find a spot for him.
No matter what they’ve done, shady public officials in Monroe County always manage to find a soft place to land. Not so for the whistle blowers. Life is much more difficult for them.
What would it take for Shady Bob to get himself in trouble with the Florida Bar? And has he already crossed that line?
RULE 3-4.3 MISCONDUCT AND MINOR MISCONDUCT
The standards of professional conduct required of members of the bar are not limited to the observance of rules and avoidance of prohibited acts, and the enumeration of certain categories of misconduct as constituting grounds for discipline are not all-inclusive nor is the failure to specify any particular act of misconduct be construed as tolerance of the act of misconduct. The commission by a lawyer of any act that is unlawful or contrary to honesty and justice may constitute a cause for discipline whether the act is committed in the course of the lawyer’s relations as a lawyer or otherwise, whether committed within Florida or outside the state of Florida, and whether the act is a felony or a misdemeanor.
Unlawful? Well, I think Shady Bob is pretty careful about not actually breaking the law so that he would draw major consequences – at least not in a way that would be obvious to prying eyes like mine. But he’s definitely not above disregarding the law when it suits him.
Contrary to honesty and justice? Shady Bob craps all over honesty and justice all day every day. It’s basically his job. Here’s a fine example of one of his minions trashing taxpayers who have a legitimate grievance. Ahhhh…our tax dollars at work.
Bottom feeders like Shady Bob count on the protective Keys bubble to keep them out of trouble. The problem is that bubble only extends so far. And not everybody is so tolerant of incompetence and malfeasance. Former Monroe County Attorney, Jim Hendricks, found that out the hard way. Maybe someday Shady Bob will, too.