DEP official courted by St. Pete resigns state job
A veteran Florida Department of Environmental Protection employee has resigned her position following revelations that she had been offered a higher-paying job with St. Petersburg -----the same city who she had been investigating for its massive sewage discharges.
Michele Duggan, 52, resigned her $61,999 position as environmental consultant in the Temple Terrace office of the DEP’s Southwest District on Thursday, said DEP spokesman Shannon Herbon.
Duggan left to pursue other opportunities, Herbon said.
Her resignation came two weeks after her failed attempt to secure the city job, which paid up to $111,304.
Duggan had been conditionally offered the city’s environmental compliance manager position, whose duties include overseeing the testing of sewage discharges to determine public safety risks.
After the Tampa Bay Times wrote about the conditional hire earlier this month, Kriseman pulled the plug on Duggan’s employment with the city, saying through a spokesman that the city’s courting of Duggan damaged public trust.
When asked if Duggan would have lost her state job if she hadn’t resigned, Herbon responded that the agency, “out of respect” doesn’t discuss personnel issues. It was unclear Friday if Duggan had been disciplined for her actions. Her personnel file wasn’t immediately available for review.
Duggan declined comment Friday. As did Claude Tankersley, the city’s Public Works Administrator, who reached out to Duggan in October to discuss possible job options with her. Tankersley has since apologized and been verbally reprimanded by Mayor Rick Kriseman for his actions.
Duggan’s departure is the second high-profile casualty of the city’s ongoing sewage crisis. On Tuesday, Kriseman fired Water Resources Director Steve Leavitt for his role in the 200 million gallons of spills and dumps since August 2015. And Tom Gibson was demoted from his leadership role in the engineering department and saw his pay cut by more than $30,000.