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St. Petersburg’s new Chief Equity Officer quits one month into job

A city spokesperson said the city has begun the process to fill the position immediately.
 
Lenice C. Emanuel, St. Petersburg's first Chief Equity Officer, has resigned less than one month into her job.
Lenice C. Emanuel, St. Petersburg's first Chief Equity Officer, has resigned less than one month into her job. [ City of St. Petersburg ]
Published Oct. 29, 2023|Updated Oct. 29, 2023

Lenice C. Emanuel, St. Petersburg’s first Chief Equity Officer, has resigned less than one month into her role.

Her brief resignation letter, addressed to Mayor Ken Welch on Wednesday and provided to the Tampa Bay Times on Sunday, said she was writing to resign effective immediately.

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve as the City’s Chief Equity Officer,” Emanuel wrote. “Wishing you and your team the very best in your future endeavors.”

Emanuel did not immediately return requests for comment Sunday morning. City spokesperson Alizza Punzalan-Randle said the city has begun the process to fill the position immediately.

“We wish her success in her future endeavors,” Punzalan-Randle wrote in a text. “The Chief Equity Officer role supports Mayor Welch’s intentional push for inclusive progress.”

Emanuel’s first day at City Hall was Oct. 2. She reported to Chief of Staff Doyle Walsh, who has a direct line to Welch.

Three City Council members told the Tampa Bay Times that they learned of Emanuel’s resignation from city staff Thursday before the council’s first meeting to discuss the Tampa Bay Rays stadium deal.

Emanuel’s job as Chief Equity Officer was to create policies and practices that level the playing field for all within and beyond City Hall. A city-commissioned study on structural racism recommended creating the role.

The job posting from May called for implementing and overseeing “programs designed to ensure fair and equitable treatment of citizens” and developing “systems for reporting incidents of discrimination, liaising with community groups and other relevant organizations, and responds to complaints, providing information on options to complainants.”

Emanuel previously worked as the chief executive officer of the YWCA of Tampa Bay from 2010 to 2015. The city received 112 applications for the Chief Equity Officer job. Emmanuel made a salary of $185,000.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.