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City faces lawsuit over firing of an assistant city attorney

A former assistant city attorney is suing the city, saying that City Attorney Pam Akin had no right to fire him.

Miles Lance, who was an assistant city attorney for 10 years, stated that Akin could not have fired him Monday without approval from the commission.

His suit, filed in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court, asks for more than $15,000 in damages.

Lance could not be reached Wednesday. His lawyer, John McGuire, said that all Lance wants is a little peace.

"He wants to be left the hell alone and do his job as he has been doing it," McGuire said.

But his job performance was called into question. In an evaluation done in December, Lance was given a poor evaluation by interim City Attorney Alan Zimmett. In an update one month later, Akin agreed with Zimmett's findings. She could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The suit said that when Lance was recruited to work for the city as an attorney, he was given assurances that he would not be fired without just cause.

In subsequent changes in city attorneys, Lance always was given an exemption from his employment being tied to the will of a city attorney, the suit stated.

On June 19, Akin called Lance into her office and told him he would have to resign by June 21, which would be effective Aug. 31, or be fired.

Akin extended the deadline to Monday. McGuire said Lance was never told why he was being let go.

"I think it's unusual for her to ask him to be terminated when he has been here faithfully for 10 years," McGuire said.

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