Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

Hernando utilities engineer who filed discrimination case resigns

BROOKSVILLE — Citing a continuing hostile work environment, even months after problems first surfaced, the utilities engineer who has filed a discrimination case against Hernando County has submitted her resignation.

Diana Koontz gave her two-week notice on Friday, noting in her letter to director of environmental services Susan Goebel-Canning that there has been no effort to solve the problems she and others have identified in the Utilities Department.

"Over the last eight months, I have made management within the county aware of the problems and asked for assistance in correcting them,'' Koontz wrote. "At no point has the county investigated the concerns or attempted to resolve them.''

Instead, she states, she has been subjected to retaliation and harassment for reporting the problems, though she has continued to do her job. Koontz also notes that she has even taken on more responsibilities with a smaller staff and that she will miss her project management duties.

Last August, Koontz, 44, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming that Goebel-Canning was retaliating against her for complaining about another employee, administrative assistant Denise Kane-Agosto.

According to the complaint by Koontz, Kane-Agosto failed to complete tasks Koontz would assign her "because of my gender.''

After she complained, Koontz wrote that she had been retaliated against and had received false disciplinary write-ups.

"Susan Goebel-Canning advised me that I should not even bother to apply for an upcoming open position (engineering manager) because I am not management material,'' she wrote.

Two weeks earlier, the manager who supervised Koontz, Dale Ravencraft, was forced to resign after making the same argument on behalf of Koontz.

Goebel-Canning and Ravencraft had locked horns over a discipline of Koontz and for failing to address the rift between Koontz and Kane-Agosto.

Koontz was the engineer responsible for ordering grass seed for the drainage structures at the Peck Sink stormwater project when sod was called for in the original plan. Heavy rains during last year's storms washed out much of the work done at Peck Sink, south of Brooksville, and the choice by Koontz could have exacerbated that, officials said.

The EEOC complaint by Koontz continues. Because of the ongoing litigation, both Cheryl Marsden, director of administrative services, and Goebel-Canning said they could not comment about the employee's departure and parting allegations.

Koontz, who started work with the county in January 2011, earns an annual salary of $64,480 — with benefits, $80,792.

Her payout for accumulated time off on departure will be $432.02. Her last day is March 15.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Comments
Clearwater wants $40 million from the county for a stadium. But there’s not $40 million to give.

Clearwater wants $40 million from the county for a stadium. But there’s not $40 million to give.

CLEARWATER —The city’s proposed $79.7 million overhaul of the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training facilities depends on getting $40 million in bed taxes from Pinellas County.But records show even if county officials wanted to bankroll the Phillies...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman."To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman and the coac...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

LARGO — Vanessa Rodriguez thought she found the right house for her three kids, in the right neighborhood, for the right rent. She signed the lease for April 30, sent a $2,300 money order and planned to move in June 1.Then the delays started. She sai...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Hillsborough commissioners approve referendum on making county officers non-partisan

Hillsborough commissioners approve referendum on making county officers non-partisan

TAMPA — The debate over whether "Rep" or "Dem" should be on the ballot alongside the name of candidates for sheriff or property appraiser is now in the hands of Hillsborough County voters.Hillsborough County commissioners voted 5-2 Wednesday to hold ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

TAMPA — Mortar & Pestle, a fledgling Seminole Heights eatery with a mom-and-pop pharmacy theme, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Seacoast Bank was listed as the creditor with the largest unsecured claim: $1.4 million.The restaurant...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Column: It’s time for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to process concealed weapons licenses

It is hard to believe that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs didn’t discover for a year that an employee could not log into an account needed to see results of background checks that examined, among other things, whether applicants f...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Column: I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know

Column: I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know

Twenty-five years ago, I was a reporter at WTSP-TV, out in the field covering Tampa Bay’s Independence Day celebrations. I expected an easy assignment talking about families and fireworks. Then the newsroom called with an urgent message: I needed to ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
15 arrested in Hillsborough construction fraud sting, one for the eighth time

15 arrested in Hillsborough construction fraud sting, one for the eighth time

TAMPA — The contractors arriving at the Brandon home thought they were meeting with a potential customer. They were wrong.In fact, the would-be clients were undercover detectives and the contractors, lacking a license to ply their trade, left the hom...
Updated: 5 hours ago
As Border Patrol searches its buses, Greyhound is pulled into immigration uproar

As Border Patrol searches its buses, Greyhound is pulled into immigration uproar

He was a 12-year Miami resident originally from Trinidad, taken off a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by U.S. Border Patrol agents in January.She was a 60-something Jamaican national who had just met her granddaughter for the first time, w...
Updated: 5 hours ago