published: Friday, September 14, 2012
City of AP sued by employee
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
AVON PARK -- Sally Perry, a 15-year employee of the city, has brought a lawsuit against Avon Park. Included as defendants are City Manager Julian Deleon, Brenda Sliva, Jimmy Runner and police commander Jason Lister. The suit was filed with the U. S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, in Fort Pierce.
Runner is Perry's supervisor and Sliva is a city employee.
The lawsuit alleges deprivation of rights allowed under the constitution, and/or the failure to protect Perry's rights, when Sliva and Runner executed an illegal search of Perry's handbag on July 27, 2012 during a vehicle inspection.
The lawsuit reads, "Instead of inspecting the vehicle for oil, tires, etc., as in a normal vehicle inspection, defendants Sliva and Runner commenced to search the vehicles, both the truck (Perry used routinely at work) and the electric 'bubble car' (Perry) had had in the field. They opened the glove compartment, searched behind the seats, and looked under the seats."
The lawsuit states that Perry did not protest the search of the vehicles, but did protest when she was told her handbag must be searched too.
Perry alleges she was told by Lister that as an employee of the city, she had no rights in the matter.
Perry told the News-Sun that, in fact, her handbag was searched and everything inside scrutinized. The lawsuit goes into considerable detail regarding the alleged incident.
Deleon told the News-Sun Thursday morning that because the case is under litigation he had to limit his response. He did say, however, "It is my understanding no one searched Mrs. Perry's purse." He added, "The city's written 'Vehicle Use' policy, which Mrs. Perry signed in 2009, specifically states, 'The city reserves the right to inspect or search city-owned or city-leased vehicles at any time at the city's election. Employees should have no expectation of privacy in the use of a city-owned or city-leased vehicle.'"
Deleon said Perry was the only employee, among five or six also having vehicles inspected, to protest the search.
"The city denies that any city employee violated the law as alleged by Mrs. Perry," Deleon said.
Robert Grizzard II, Perry's attorney, told the News-Sun another aspect of the lawsuit has to do with alleged prejudiced behavior toward woman in general, and older women in general on Deleon's part.
While originally in the field, Perry said she had been shifted to office work some time ago.
The lawsuit alleges that Deleon -- when he was director of Public Works -- assigned Perry, and another female employee over 50 years of age, to paint and clean out "three rat infested buildings, including the waste water treatment plant, which building had not been cleaned nor painted in 25 years." The suit further claims the women were not provided with protective equipment, including gloves.
Perry told the News-Sun, she has since been assigned to outdoor field work -- tasks like pulling weeds or watering trees -- four eight-hour days a week, despite still recovering from cancer and radiation and chemo-therapy treatments.
The lawsuit cites two other older women who report the same type of experience.
Regarding the changes in job description, Deleon said, "During the last two years, as part of a re-organization we updated and changed (as many as 11) job descriptions. In applicable cases, we provided the employee and the union with notice and provided (an opportunity) for any comments or suggestions." Deleon had received no comments or suggestions from Perry.
Furthermore, he said the charges of alleged prejudiced behavior toward older women "have no merit". He again references the reorganization and restructuring of 11 jobs, not the individuals involved.
Deleon said Perry's lawsuit came only after she had been disciplined for conducting non-city (and union) business on city taxpayer time, and only after being notified she was under investigation for continuing infractions.
Perry is vice-president of the local Association of County Federal State and Municipla Employees chapter. She told the News-Sun it is her opinion the city is trying to break the union. In the last three years, she said, seven union officers have been forced to leave city employment.
Grizzard said he has received no answer from either the city or any of the individuals named in the lawsuit, although they had been served notice.
sunlaker (by: Praying for Justice for the past City employees - 10/21/2012)
If your employees are black americans, Deleon would not take their jobs from them. The NAACP would be all over his ASS!!, and then he would leave the CITY OF AVON PARK as he should be put out of this city anyhow.
Runs The Town Like a Business (by: Not a 1%-er - 9/23/2012)
Recovering from Cancer and Cemo, You either don't know or care. Screams a agenda..
julian deleon (by: Vicki - 9/16/2012)
Mr. DeLeon, As an American with Cuban family, I am amazed at how you are running Avon Park. You live in USA. Take your socialist crap out of our Country. People of Avon Park, vote this liar out of town. I bet he has a cushy job running down AP.
Civil rights violations (by: ghost from the past - 9/16/2012)
Since when is it a violation of ones civil rights to have their tax payer owned work truck inspected?
dumb lawsuit (by: Job hunting - 9/16/2012)
I would love to pull weeds and water trees for a living. I will even allow a body search for that kind of job with benefits.
Your toxic comments (by: Chin Ling - 9/16/2012)
Really? You think this dude is toxic and evil. The other paper has printed a Saturday story about a 40% decrease in property taxes for the entire City. A much needed tax relief to those residents that pay the salary of a few very lazy and over paid employees? Perry just bought a house in sebring. Wants to get paid from the City, but will not even live there.
jeez....... (by: town boy - 9/15/2012)
Holy Cow, AP, how stupid can you be?
Hand bag (by: Blindman - 9/15/2012)
Why didn't Ms Perry refuse the hand bag search? And did she get the search of her bag on video or take a picture of it? Everybody has a camphone these days. If there is no picture of what she claims, where is the proof?
Good ol boys AND GIRLS (by: mystery man - 9/15/2012)
The legacy of employing friends and family is coming to an end. For years only those that knew someone could get a job even without any qualifications. I know this woman was moved around a lot because they couldnt find something for her to do but just kept her because she had family working for the city. Its a miracle she lasted as long as she did.
Age has nothing to do with it (by: Over 50 and jobless - 9/15/2012)
No sympathy from me! Who wouldnt want a job with health insurance, a pension, paid holidays and a work truck?
'nuff said (by: Fred - 9/15/2012)
""Regarding the changes in job description, Deleon said, "During the last two years, as part of a re-organization we updated and changed (as many as 11) job descriptions. In applicable cases, we provided the employee and the union with notice and provided (an opportunity) for any comments or suggestions." Deleon had received no comments or suggestions from Perry. ""
fidel (by: frank petruccione - 9/14/2012)
So, all these lawsuits must be frivolous right? This guy is toxic, it will be of great interest when the council turns their collective backs on him. Rumor has it, the time is coming.
The sewerage keeps flowing in AP (by: Disgusted - 9/14/2012)
Why is city council allowing the blatant violation of employees' civil rights to continue? Anyone who knows the city manager knows--if his lips are moving........... He continues to run ruffshod over decent honest people and with no fear of recourse from this supportive city coouncilmen. AP is struggling to survive now, how soon before it rolls over and is dead? Decent, honest people of AP pray for divine intervention NOW. Interesting that one of the two fulltime police officers/code enforcment left
(by: Boss One - 9/14/2012)
Sunnlaker, That Will Be Great!!!!!! Bring Him Back To See If He Can Really Fire All Those Smoking Pot Employees We Got Working Here In Sun N Lakes
not taking sides, but.... (by: Randy - 9/14/2012)
this sure gets old!
Avon Park (by: Spectre - 9/14/2012)
And...........here we go again. Its been a while since we've had any news concerning the Avon Park heirarcy, however, they never let the readers down. It was just a lull in activity I guess. Hardly ever a dull moment in A.P.
Julian Deleon (by: sunnlaker - 9/14/2012)
Julian: despite the reputation you are building up in Avon Park, we sure could use you back here in sun n lake to kick a lot of fat lazy and spoiled butt that deserves to be kicked.
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