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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Did politics cause Mayor Bill Foster to not honor two longtime police officers?



When two leaders of the St. Petersburg Police Department retired in September, elected officials from across the region sent proclamations to be read at a retirement party attended by more than 500 people.

But Mayor Bill Foster and City Council Chairman Karl Nurse issued no proclamations for former Assistant Police Chief Cedric Gordon and Sgt. Al White. Did politics factor into that decision?

White and Gordon are close confidants of Goliath Davis, the former deputy mayor and retired police chief fired by Foster in 2011. Davis has been urging black residents to support Rick Kriseman over Foster in Tuesday's election.

Foster and Kriseman are locked in a battle for votes in the black community. Those voters could sway the election.

In advance of the retirement gala, Davis requested that the City Council issue proclamations for Gordon and White.

Records how he sent multiple letters to council members. Nurse offered to forward the request to Foster. In one reply, Nurse said the council appreciates the work of all city employees and that the city staff works at the direction of the mayor.

In response, Davis said council has issued proclamations for other employees. He also pointed out that Foster and other top administrators were invited to the party at the Hilton.

Foster didn't attend the party or issue a proclamation for the Oct. 18 party.

But here's what he he days earlier. He issued a proclamation for Theresa "Momma Tee" Lassiter, one of his biggest supporters in the black community. Foster honored Lassiter for holding an annual legal event that help residents.

Days later, Davis sent another letter to the council, saying that it was regrettable that the city didn't issue proclamations to honor White and Green for their 33 years of service.


[Last modified: Monday, November 4, 2013 3:29pm]


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