A city email has shed light and legitimacy on an allegation levied against the city of Anna Maria by a former employee.
Ousted code enforcement officer and administrative assistant Angela Albrecht, who was fired Jan. 24 without what she believed to be a proper explanation, alleged Bureau Veritas, a contracted inspection agency, was pressured into passing inspections without certification.
A copy of a Feb. 23, 2018, email — obtained by The Islander through a public record request — between Bureau Veritas manager Matthew Rush and city clerk Leanne Addy lends credibility to Albrecht’s claim.
In that email, Rush wrote that building official David Greenbaum asked his employee to complete mechanical, electrical and plumbing inspections despite knowing the inspector was not qualified to perform the inspections.
“I was in meetings that day and told him the city will have to do them or roll until Monday,” Rush wrote. “He called me back later that same morning and said Dave (Greenbaum) had asked if he can just do them, and I told him absolutely not.
“Come to find out that he was pressured to do them anyway by the city and completed the inspections,” he continued in the email.
The matter ended with Rush withdrawing all services by Bureau Veritas from the city.
“I cannot have Bureau Veritas working outside the legal limits of the Florida statutes, so after today 2/23/18 Friday we will no longer be servicing the city of Anna Maria for inspections,” Rush wrote in the same email.
Fredrick Zaremby, associate general counsel for Bureau Veritas, said in an interview Feb. 15 that a confidentiality clause in the company’s contract with the city restricts them from disclosing information about their work in Anna Maria, unless they receive city approval to do so.
Mayor Dan Murphy said he learned about the claim that Greenbaum had pressured the inspectors and asked him about it. Greenbaum denied the claim altogether, according to Murphy.
However, Albrecht claimed she told Murphy and Addy in January 2018 about Greenbaum pressuring inspectors to pass properties without having the authority to do so, a month before Rush’s email to Addy.
“So they told me, ‘Don’t worry about it, we’re a small municipality,’ and pretty much, ‘The mayor can do whatever he wants,’” Albrecht said Jan. 29. “That’s what (Murphy) said — he’s the mayor and he can do whatever he wants.”
Albrecht said Murphy told her then to give Greenbaum more time to learn the position, but she overheard a conversation in February 2018 between Greenbaum and an inspector who lacked certification in which he pressured the inspector to complete an inspection.
“I overheard the conversation between David and the inspector, and I said, ‘You can’t do that, that’s illegal,’” Albrecht said. “And he said, ‘I can do whatever I want. … The mayor said I could do whatever I want.’”
After her dismissal, Albrecht made other allegations, including that some parking officers issued tickets without certification for at least a month. She said her claims might be corroborated by other former employees, including former code officer Pamela Gibbs and clerks Maggie Martinez and Kathy Thomas.
Martinez and Thomas declined comment.
Albrecht also alleged that Murphy had forced employees, including Gibbs, out of their jobs. Gibbs has since confirmed she was forced to retire.
Albrecht further claims she found the city to be a toxic work environment.