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Date of Issue: April 07, 2010

Public works director suspended

Bradenton Beach Mayor Michael Pierce suspended the city’s public works director for 30 days without pay March 31.

The suspension was Tom Woodard’s third, according to Pierce.

Pierce said Woodard violated city procedures, including his handling of a personnel matter that involved another city employee and results of that employee’s drug test.

“It’s about procedures,” Pierce said, adding that he discussed the issue at length with city attorney Ricinda Perry before suspending Woodard.

“I want to do what’s right for the city,” Pierce said. “He just didn’t follow procedure.… I don’t like to discipline people, but it’s in our personnel handbook.”

The personnel action prompted a flurry of e-mail messages at city hall last week, including one from Woodard, headlined “Out of Office” and notifying city staff and officials that until April 30 “all correspondence/issues/work requests will go through” the assistant public works director.

A second e-mail, from city clerk Nora Idso, clarified, “Just to make this clear so there are no misunderstandings, Mr. Woodard is not on leave. He is on 30-day suspension for violation of city policy.”

In a subsequent e-mail, Idso questioned why an employee on suspension “is allowed to take home a city vehicle, city cell phone and laptop computer.”

Woodard responded, “No problem, they will be returned to the public works department today.”

Idso, in an e-mail April 1, stated, “Although the clerk’s office is responsible for the city’s assets, they will not be responsible for property in the possession of a suspended employee who would not turn in said equipment.

“Neither will the city accept any liability for charges made on the city credit card during the suspension.”