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Hillsborough transit authority’s ex-CEO says he’ll appeal his firing. But how?

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority’s board voted 11-1 to fire Ben Limmer. His lawyer says he will appeal. But the agency says its policies do not allow such an appeal.
Ben Limmer addresses the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority board Friday before being terminated as chief executive officer. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
Ben Limmer addresses the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority board Friday before being terminated as chief executive officer. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]
Published Feb. 11
Updated Feb. 12

TAMPA — The former chief executive of Hillsborough’s transit agency plans to appeal the board’s decision to fire him, according to a letter sent to the agency Tuesday.

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority’s governing board voted 11-1 Friday to fire Ben Limmer, 41, after an investigation found eight violations of agency policies. The violations, raised by a whistleblower in November, related to misuse of a company purchasing card and improper vendor relations.

However, the transit agency says its own policies do not allow a CEO to file such an appeal.

“There is no internal administrative appeal through the policies that govern HART,” agency attorney David Smith told the Tampa Bay Times. “But he does have recourse through the courts.”

Related: HART board fires chief executive after investigation of whistleblower complaint

Limmer’s attorney, Ryan Barack, sent the notice of appeal Tuesday to the agency’s interim CEO, Carolyn House Stewart.

Barack declined to comment further on the appeal.

Limmer started as CEO on March 25 and was placed on paid leave Nov. 4 after the board received a whistleblower complaint outlining concerns about Limmer’s involvement in procurement contracts, his interactions with vendors and his use of an agency purchasing card.

The transit agency hired law firm Carlton Fields on Nov. 14 to conduct an investigation. Carlton Fields shared its findings with board members on Feb. 2 and the board voted five days later to fire Limmer.

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