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Golf teacher sues Brooksville over firing

BROOKSVILLE — A former employee is suing the city of Brooksville and is seeking protection as a whistle blower, alleging that he was wrongfully fired after filing grievances against a fellow employee.

Robert F. Buck, the former golf program instructor at the city-run Quarry Golf Course, claims he was fired Aug. 27, 2007, after he filed numerous complaints against former Pro Shop Manager Ralph Brown.

The civil lawsuit, filed Friday but not made available until this week, seeks damages of more than $15,000 — the threshold to move the case to circuit court — including lost pay and attorneys fees.

Buck also wants this job back.

The detailed pleadings paint a dismal picture of the city's inter workings, especially at the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Former City Manager Richard Anderson and interim City Manager Steve Baumgartner are both singled out in the lawsuit along with current Parks Director Mike Walker.

According to the nine-page filing, Buck became entangled in an office dispute after Brown verbally assaulted him and customers at the Quarry in December 2006.

Buck felt his grievance against Brown was brushed aside. He also alleges that Brown managed to avoid disciplinary action numerous times despite a record of questionable behavior.

Soon after the episode, Buck said he suffered retaliation on the job and ultimately was fired, the lawsuit says.

Neither Buck's attorney nor City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha returned calls seeking comment.

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Golf teacher sues Brooksville over firing 07/02/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 7:50pm]
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