Department continues to violate City Charter

5:15 PM, Nov 11, 2005   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Rose Ferlita, Tampa City Council: "Personally, I don't understand why the administration allows her to violate the law."

Council member Rose Ferlita is talking about Tampa's Human Resources or H.R. director Sara Lang. In June we reported Lang was violating the city charter because she didn't live in Tampa and was a department head. At the time Chief of staff Darrell Smith said we were wrong.

Darrell Smith, City of Tampa Chief of Staff: "I think if you check with the city attorney staff it is very clear in their view there are grounds for us to term that position as one not requiring residency."

And we did check with the city attorney and determined three months ago that our story 5 months ago was correct. That Sara Lang could not head up H.R. which she has done for the past 10 years unless she lived in the city of Tampa. But today Lang still lives in St. Petersburg, still heads up H.R. and still collects her full salary of $120,931.

Rose Ferlita, Tampa City Council: "They bend the rules when they want to bend the rules."

But Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio says Lang will be demoted and have her salary cut once the city finds a replacement.

Pam Iorio, Tampa Mayor: "It's not something you find over night, but we will find a quality person who is a good fit for the city of Tampa. do you have a time frame? we're working on it every day."

Meantime the Mayor says she has no problem with Lang getting the department head salary.

Pam Iorio, Tampa Mayor: "It doesn't seem fair to me that a person would get a salary cut if they continue to do the same job they're doing." 

Rose Ferlita, Tampa City Council: "in effect she could become the acting director and get the director's salary until Miss Iorio gets out of office this term or the next term." 

Iorio promises a replacement will be found soon, but until that happens, Lang will continue to violate the city charter as she has for the past 10 years.

Mike Deeson, Tampa Bay's 10 News

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