Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Board upholds firing of Port Richey public works supervisor

PORT RICHEY — A personnel review board voted Thursday to uphold the firing of a former Port Richey public works supervisor accused of violating the city's purchasing procedures.

The ruling by board members Holly Kolinski and Jim Priest, a former City Council member, was exactly what Chuck Latwinas expected as he walked into City Hall.

"It's pretty much a done deal," Latwinas said before learning his fate.

In June, acting City Manager and Chief Dave Brown fired Latwinas for purchasing street signs without proper authorization. The street signs purchase came on the heels of a two other purchases for which Latwinas received spoken reprimands, according to a letter Brown sent Latwinas informing him of his firing.

Latwinas, 45, appealed his firing — it came just short of six years as a city employee — saying he bought the signs because Brown ordered him to.

He also presented documents to the personnel board showing Brown and other city finance officials had signed off on the purchases.

Brown later said at a July hearing in front of the personnel board his concern stemmed from how much Latwinas paid for the signs. Brown could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Both Priest and Kolinski upheld Brown's firing of Latwinas, saying their review of the case showed the former public works supervisor violated city purchasing procedures.

Priest and Kolinski both declined comment after the hearing.

"I know this is difficult for a lot of people," Kolinski said during the hearing, before announcing her decision.

After the ruling, Latwinas received a few handshakes, including from Port Richey Council member Terry Rowe, and one resident told him, "I think we're losing a good man."

Latwinas said he still feels like a scapegoat for the roughly $30,000 sign purchases, pointing to approval signatures from Brown and city finance officials.

"I feel like I have been violated," he said of the city's handling of his firing. "After years of dedicated service, I guess I'll have to move on with my life."

Board upholds firing of Port Richey public works supervisor 08/04/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 4, 2011 6:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lt. Gov. Lopez-Cantera won't run for Congress

    Blogs

    Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has decided not to run for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat in Congress, though he may seek another office in 2020.

    Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
  2. From the food editor: 'MasterChef' winner Shaun O'Neale talks cooking at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival

    Cooking

    There are certain reliable signs that fall is on the way. Nothing in the weather department, of course, but other markers that usher in the celebratory final months of the year. One of those things is the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which happens annually in Orlando, seemingly longer and more jam-packed …

    Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Puree. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  3. Mike Evans stands behind Michael Bennett

    Blogs

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans was signing autographs for children after Bucs practice on Saturday. As he signed, he talked about Seattle defensive and former Buc Michael Bennett, who last Friday sat during the national anthem and who says he will continue to do so to fight racial injustice.

    Mike Evans, left, hauls in a pass in front of cornerback Vernon Hargreaves.
  4. Man, I miss Planet Simeon

    Blogs

    Simeon Rice, right, works with Bucs defensive end Ryan Russell.