TAMPA — Kevin Jackson, chief investigator of Hillsborough County’s Consumer Protection Agency, is in line to become interim director of the county’s troubled Public Transportation Commission. County Administrator Mike Merrill recommended Jackson for the job in an e-mail Thursday to County Commissioner Victor Crist, chairman of the transportation commission. Crist met with Jackson, then told Merrill he agreed with his recommendation. The full PTC board is expected to vote on Jackson as interim director at its Sept. 17 meeting. Crist had asked Merrill for the recommendation on Wednesday after learning that current PTC executive director Cesar Padilla planned to resign, effective Friday. Crist said whoever Merrill recommended should have a strong ethical background, knowledge of Florida Sunshine laws, experience in consumer protection, communication skills and the ability to collaborate with others. “Mr. Jackson fits the qualifications you’ve specified and has a long and distinguished record of service to the state of Florida and Hillsborough County,” Merrill said in the e-mail. “He is widely respected for his intellect, collaborative nature and integrity, and has been a positive agent for transformation and customer service in my organization.”
Jackson leads a team of seven investigators, one regulatory compliance coordinator and one support person. The Consumer Protection Agency investigates and mediates consumer complaints. Jackson has coordinated successful criminal investigations for the consumer agency that have led to convictions and prison sentences for telemarketing timeshare fraud, mortgage fraud and other organized consumer scams, according to information provided by Merrill’s office. Most recently, the agency led crack-downs on pain management clinics that illegally dispense pain killers, and health care clinics connected to staged accident fraud and personal injury protection insurance fraud. Padilla tendered his resignation after it was revealed he was moonlighting as a security guard at a used equipment auction. On many of the days he worked at the auction house, he had either called in sick or was listed as working at the PTC. Earlier this week, the sheriff’s office revoked Padilla’s commission as a reserve deputy, effectively ending his moonlighting job.