Tanja Vidovic Falsely Claimed Mayor Fired Her

Tanja Vidovic was fired from her on-call position in the Leisure Services Department of Safety Harbor on August 22, 2019 for being disruptive in the workplace. Tanja Vidovic falsely claimed multiple times that she was fired by Mayor Joe Ayoub because she was planning to run for mayor. The mayor has no authority to fire City employees per City Charter Section 22. This was also confirmed with a public records request to Matt Spoor who stated, "Per City Charter Section 22- Not to dictate appointment, termination or suspension of employees, no City Commissioner was involved in the decision to remove Tanja from her role as an on-call employee. For clarification, the Mayor is a City Commissioner."

Termination Letter

Tanja Vidovic received an email dismissing her from her voluntary employment position with the city on August 22, 2019. The letter is copied below.

Tanja-

I want to thank you for your service with the Leisure Services Department; however there have been multiple situations to which you are involved that have been disruptive in the workplace and are in conflict with the atmosphere that the City supports. The City strives to foster a productive and pleasant working environment by maintaining an atmosphere of civility, courtesy and mutual respect. As a result, please allow this letter to serve as your dismissal from on-call employment effective immediately.

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An on-call employee is classified as a non-regular employee. A non-regular employee serves entirely at the will of the City and may be discharged at any time. In accordance with the Rules & Regulations, you are able to make use of the City's grievance resolution procedure. I have attached a copy. At this time, please return all uniforms; and City identificaiton badge to the front desk of City Hall as soon as possible.

The City continues to appreciate your volunteer efforts as it relates to the goodwill of the City of Safety Harbor.

Thank you.

Andrea Norwood
Leisure Services Director

Source: Dismissal letter

The Mayor Does Not Have the Authority to Fire City Employees

The mayor and the City commissioners do not have the authority to dismiss City employees. This is specified in City Charter Section 22 - Not to dictate appointment, termination or suspension of employees.

Neither the Commission nor any of the members thereof shall dictate the appointment, termination, or suspension of any City administrative officer or employee appointed by the City Manager, or in any manner prevent the City Manager from using his own judgment in selecting those officers and employees whom he is entitled to appoint or select under the provisions of this Charter. However, the appointment of the department heads shall be brought to the attention of the City Commission by the City Manager through written notice.

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No former elected City official shall hold any compensated appointive City office or employment until two (2) years after the expiration of the term for which he was elected or appointed. Except for the purposes of inquiry, the Commission and the members thereof shall deal with the administrative service solely through the City Manager, and neither the Commission nor any of the members thereof shall give orders to subordinates of the City Manager, either publicly or privately. The foregoing shall not be construed as prohibiting individual members from closely scrutinizing by questions and personal observation of all aspects of the City government. Nothing herein contained shall restrict the power of the Commission at regular or special meetings by formal motion, resolution, or ordinance from establishing policies and requiring compliance therewith by all personnel in the service of the City.

Source: City Charter Section 22 - Not to dictate appointment, termination or suspension of employees

Tanja Vidovic Posts the Mayor Fired Her

On December 6, 2019 Tanja Vidovic wrote a lengthy comment alleging Mayor Joe Ayoub fired her. The dismissal letter was not signed by the mayor, and the mayor does not have the authority to fire city employees.

You are correct about one thing, and that is Joe Ayoub fired me from my part time job with the City of Safety Harbor. This was after he found out that I was going to be running against him. That is true and Joe Ayoub and his supporters have used his [sic] firing as ammunition against me. I loved working as a leisure services and parks employee because I believed that my efforts improved the events in Safety Harbor and helped to make the city better. I took pride in doing my part to make Safety Harbor parks more beautiful.

But Joe Ayoub exercised his power as Mayor to fire me. Joe certainly had the upper hand. But, there is a lot of misinformation that Joe and his supporters circulate, and the story grows bigger with each telling.

Source: Wilson, Kirby. (2019) "What a public confrontation tells us about the Safety Harbor mayor’s race", The Tampa Bay Times, 4 December.
Comments Section

City Manager Confirms Mayor Did Not Fire Tanja Vidovic

In December 2019 a public records request was made to City Manager Matt Spoor regarding the dismissal of Tanja Vidovic. The City Manager replied with the termination letter and stated that per City Charter Section 22 no commissioner, including the mayor, was involved in the decision to dismiss Tanja Vidovic.

To satisfy your public records request, please see the attached email dated August 23, 2019.

The Florida Public Record Law does not require a city official to answer any questions related to a public records request with further exemptions for personnel decisions. With that being said, I feel the need to respond to your second question below.

Per City Charter Section 22- Not to dictate appointment, termination or suspension of employees, no City Commissioner was involved in the decision to remove Tanja from her role as an on-call employee. For clarification, the Mayor is a City Commissioner.

Thank you for your time,
Matt

Source: Email from City Manager Matt Spoor

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