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Bense friend gets House job despite past arrests

Outgoing House Speaker Allan Bense gave the green light to hire a long-time Bay County acquaintance, Robert Paul Nix, to work on construction projects for the Florida House despite Nix's past problems, which include two DUI arrests and an arrest for disorderly intoxication in 2004. The 63-year-old Nix was hired on Nov. 1 at a salary of more than $43,000 for a job in the sergeant's office.

Nix is a former Panama City Airport Authority member who was fined by the Federal Aviation Authority for breaching airport security measures in 1991, according to the Panama City News Herald. Nix was appointed to the Bay County Planning Commission in 2005 but declined to take the position after there was publicity surrounding his prior convictions. Towson Fraser, a spokesman for Bense, said that Nix has a valid drivers license and contractors license currently and that Bense tapped Nix because of his construction skills.