“It’s a pleasure and an honor for me to be here today. The governor’s staff keeps telling me to keep pinching myself.”
Terry White was on top of the world three years ago when Gov. Jeb Bush appointed him secretary of the Department of Elder Affairs, but in a tersely worded letter, he was abruptly fired this week.
White couldn’t even return to his office to pick up his belongings. A memo released by Bush’s lawyer describes allegations of sexual harassment made by more than one person against White. Newspaper reports say three women claim White made unwanted requests for sexual favors.
His lawyer says White is devastated.
Bill Waters, White's attorney, says, “He denies the allegations. Terry maintains that he behaved himself appropriately and professionally to the extent possible. We’re ready to defend his good name.”
White’s lawyer says his client still doesn’t know what the allegations are or who made them. We went to the governor’s office to find out.
We’re formally requesting all the documentation on Terry White and his termination, but a spokesman for the governor says nothing was written down during interviews with the alleged victims who wish to keep their identities confidential.
Jacob Dipietre says Jeb Bush is following the state’s strict policy on sexual harassment.
Jacob Dipietre, the governor's press secretary, says, “We’re very saddened by the situation and we take issues of sexual harassment very seriously.”
Since department secretaries serve at the pleasure of the governor, Terry White cannot appeal his termination.