HERENANDO COUNTY, Fla. — In the first county commission meeting since the arrest of a Hernando County Commissioner on charges involving prostitution, commissioners are calling the incident embarrassing for the county and want the commissioner removed from office.
On Tuesday Commissioner Nick Nicholson’s seat sat empty as commissioners discussed their frustration with the black mark his arrest has left on the county.
"What the county has been really good at in the past couple of years is growing this county. But now when you Google 'Hernando County' you see mug shots. You don’t see jobs that are being created. You don’t see stats on how we’ve grown," said Commissioner Jeff Holcomb.
On Thursday Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson was arrested on three charges involving prostitution. This is the second time in three years that the board has addressed Nicholson being investigated for prostitution and drugs.
"It's a distraction for us and it's an embarrassment for the county to have this kind of stuff looming over us, especially when it's going out all over the country. It's not something we want to be known for," said County Commissioner Chairman Steve Champion.
County commissioners unanimously decided to remove Nicholson as vice chairman and to send a letter to the Governor asking for Nicholson to be suspended from office. Commissioners also publicly asked that Nicholson resign or retire.
Hernando County resident Donna Morin was at the meeting and said she’s concerned that someone who is making such poor decisions in their personal life has been trusted for years to make decisions for the entire county.
"This is not his first situation. I don’t feel sorry for him at all. He brought this all upon himself and he threw it into the city and county’s face. How dare he?" said Morin.
Jimmy Lodato ran against Commissioner Nicholson in the 2016 election and says he was shocked Nicholson was re-elected after a similar investigation in 2015.
"It's not something that I can have students look at and say, 'this man is an absolute model.' He needs to resign," said Lodato.
Removing the commissioner from office can only be done by the Governor, unless Nicholson decides to resign or retire.