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Kriseman keeping thoughts to himself on fates of sewer officials



At the height of public scrutiny after Hurricane Hermine this summer, Mayor Rick Kriseman placed two high-ranking city officials on unpaid leave for their role in the city's sewage crisis.

Water Resources Director Steve Leavitt and Engineering Director Tom Gibson have remained in job-status limbo ever since.

On Monday, Kriseman's chief of staff Kevin King said that won't change until the City Council discusses the findings of an indepedent auditor's report on Thursday.

"The mayor is going to keep this thoughts to himself until after the City Council reviews the Laura Brock report," said King, referring to the forensic accountant who wrote the report delivered on Friday to Kriseman and council members. 

Brock's report concluded that no one deliberately tried to bury a 2014 consultant's report that contained warnings of possible sewer overflows if the city closed its waterfront Albert Whitted sewer plant, which it did in April 2015. Four months later, the first of 200 million gallons of sewage discharges began.

But the report also noted the Public Works Administration, which contains the Water Resources and Engineering departments, had morale and possible management problems.

The mayor will decide the status of Leavitt and Gibson's employment with the city at some point after Thursday's meeting, King said.

Last week, Public Works Administrator Claude Tankersley received a verbal reprimand for reaching out to a state Department of Environmental employee who was involved in the investigation of the city's sewage woes. Tankersley met with Michele Duggan in his City Hall office to discuss possible city jobs. She was eventually conditionally offered a higher-paying job before Kriseman pulled the plug after Tampa Bay Times stories outlined Tankersley's actions. 

[Last modified: Monday, December 12, 2016 1:54pm]


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