BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County human resources and risk management director Cristi Charlow said she resigned last month at the request of County Administrator Jeff Rogers.
He asked for her resignation and presented her with a letter to sign, she said, but she asked to write her own letter, noting that Rogers got her title wrong in his version. Reached by the Tampa Bay Times, Charlow declined to comment beyond what she said in her letter.
“Based on our brief conversation this morning, I have been directed to resign, as you are going a different direction in human resources,'' she wrote on Dec. 6. ”Although my position is at-will, over your tenure as county administrator, I have not been advised of any wrongdoings, corrective actions, etc., nor have I had an evaluation.
"I’m concerned that this forced resignation is in response to recent (wage and hour) lawsuits that have been filed based on a Department of Public Works investigation completed in October 2017, your previous comments about a conflict of interest, as well as other unnecessary comments to me over your tenure as county administrator.''
Rogers declined on Monday to comment on the matter, according to county spokeswoman Kacey Kupik.
The public works investigation came after Charlow’s husband, a department employee, received a $42,000 settlement for uncompensated hours, larger than all the other employee settlements combined.
The investigator questioned whether Cristi Charlow should have been involved in the wage and hour issues, given that her husband was part of the investigation. She maintained that she did not approve the settlement. Throughout the investigation, she said, she followed the instructions of the county’s legal adviser.
No one was disciplined in that case, and her husband left county employment soon afterward to work in the private sector.
"Regardless of what I’ve been through over the last year,'' she wrote in her resignation letter to Rogers, "I ... hold the utmost respect for the county and its hardworking employees.''
Charlow has been in charge of human resources for the county since 2015 and worked for the county for nearly 18 years. She made an annual salary of $112,070 and a total of $164,237, including benefits. She received a cash settlement for unpaid leave of $31,226.
Scott Hechler, the county director of public safety, is the interim human resources director and risk manager, according to the county spokeswoman. The county began advertising for a permanent replacement this week.