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Largo city commissioner: Rumor sparked inquiry

City Commissioner Charlie Harper says the city has investigated rumors that he made inappropriate remarks to one or more city employees, but found he committed no wrongdoing.

Largo officials declined to comment directly on Harper's statement, but city management last week took steps indicating City Clerk Diane Bruner could be involved in the investigation.

Harper and the other five candidates in the March election were directed to bring their election business to another official rather than Bruner, who normally runs city elections.

In a Dec. 28 memo, Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert told the candidates he will manage the election process, while Bruner will continue performing her other duties.

Bruner referred questions to Schubert, who said the reason for the change was "confidential."

Asked about the directive, City Manager Steven Stanton and other officials said they were barred from commenting by a state statute that protects alleged victims of employment discrimination.

"It's confidential, and I'm not at liberty to say," said Stanton, who made the decision to transfer election duties from Bruner to Schubert.

Harper said Stanton told him the city investigated rumors that Harper's language had offended an employee or employees.