- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2014

A Florida city that was so corrupt that lawmakers mulled wiping it off the face of the map has been granted an eleventh-hour reprieve: Legislators said Hampton can stay a while longer.

The city, 89 years old and home to only 477, came under state fire in February after an audit found that local officials had committed 31 different violations that ranged from nepotism to the personal use of taxpayer property. The audit came shortly after the mayor was convicted and jailed on drug charges.

Hampton already had a reputation as a massive speed trap. But the audit was the last straw, and lawmakers at the state level introduced legislation to revoke the city’s charter, CNN reported.

A handful of locals rallied, and devised a plan to clean up the graft and change the lawmakers’ minds and win a reprieve for their city, CNN reported. Apparently, the plan worked.

“Thank you for the work that has been done,” said Sen. Rob Bradley, one of the lawmakers who wanted to break up the city, to the residents who brought their clean-up plan to their attention this past weekend, CNN reported. “You’ve got a lot more to do, but boy …” And Mr. Bradley’s fellow lawmaker, Rep. Charles Van Zant, said: “You’ve done yeoman’s work. I think you’ve done well.”

The handful of residents, calling themselves The Replacements, took over several key city positions — the mayor, a city councilman, the city clerk and the city attorney — and spent the last few weeks cracking down on all signs of corruption.

They also accepted the resignation of several elected officials, moved to boot the police force, accounted for the $132,000 that the audit found was spent by City Hall workers at the next-door BP gas station, and drafted an ordinance to de-annex the section of roadway where police operated an unfair speed trap, CNN reported.

The state lawmakers said they’ll check in with Hampton one more time, to ensure the progress is continuing.

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