On Tuesday afternoon, Florida's Marion County Developmental Industrial Board voted unanimously to oust member Marcel "Butch" Verrando after he posted disparaging remarks about black people on Facebook.
Verrando's term would have ended in November, but his separation from the board is "effective immediately," WCJB reports.
On Tuesday morning, Verrando wrote the following observation on the Marion County Political Forum's public Facebook page: "Black unemployment percentage is exceeded only by Native Americans and in 2012 they had the highest unemployment rate, education is way a head of hispanic so why can't they get a job? My experience was that the only time a black guy applied for work it was because they were on probation and HAD to have a real job."
Verrando follows his grammatically unconventional observation with a link to analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which offers no data supporting the assertion that black people only seek employment when they are on probation.
Losing his volunteer board position has not discouraged Verrando from going back to the Marion County Political Forum's Facebook page and getting in arguments with commenters. Below, a screenshot of Verrando defending the very words that got him in trouble in the first place, as well as the argument that "the black community should start policing itself instead of looking for people to accuse of false crimes as an excuse for unsocial behavior:"
More followup explanation from Verrando, who notes that he is "the last person who is raciest [sic]."
Several hours ago, a member of the forum named Stan Hanson posted on the following essay on the group's Facebook page, lamenting that public figures "have to be much more politically correct in [their] communications" than they used to be. Today's leaders, Hanson says, are constrained by "government imposed political/social correctness," which is why he no longer serves on any community boards. "I... now have complete freedom of speech in expressing my opinions," Hanson writes.
Hanson, a retired executive with Proctor & Gamble, further criticizes the media for "surfing Facebook groups to discover comments of citizens to write about," a research tactic he finds indicative of the "demise of professional investigative reporting."
Last year, Verrando stepped down from the Marion County Fire Advisory Board after he taunted a local firefighter, and veteran of the war in Iraq, for having post-traumatic stress disorder. In a series of Facebook posts in August of 2014, Verrando mockingly asked the combat vet if his 'lithium supply [was] getting low' and repeatedly questioned whether the fireman had witnessed enough trauma to actually have PTSD.
Verrando is a founding member of Ocala's Tea Party. In 2012, Verrando ran unsuccessfully to be county commissioner of Marion, Florida.