Attorney for demoted city staffer fires back
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The attorney for Jacksonville's former Division Chief of Current Planning is speaking out after his client was demoted from his job this week.
Sean Kelly was originally appointed to run Current Planning by Mayor John Peyton. He took over the more than $90,000 a year job in 2008. But on Tuesday, Kelly received a letter from Calvin Burney, the Director of the Planning and Development department, informing him of the city's decision to not retain him in his current position. Instead, he's reverting back to his previous job as zoning administrator. It's a more than a $17,000 a year pay cut.
In a story Action News did Thursday, City Councilman John Crescimbeni questioned Kelly's competency level, along with others within that department.
In response, Kelly's attorney Tad Delegal, sent Action News this statement:
"The City of Jacksonville placed Sean Kelly on paid administrative leave for six weeks, in order to conduct an investigation to discover any evidence of misconduct or problems in his job performance. No such evidence was detected, and the City wound up taking no disciplinary action. Sean's "demotion" only came as a result of the withdrawal of his appointed position, not as a result of any fault in his performance. If fault had been found, some discipline would have been issued, and Sean could have fought such discipline at the civil service board. The reality is that complaints were made about the department's policies and functioning, and rather than evaluate the sources of those problems, the administration demoted Sean Kelly, even though he was not at fault. Sometimes politics demands a "fall guy," and Sean was unfortunate enough to serve that purpose for this matter."
The Mayor's Office tells Action News Folks Huxford has been appointed to serve as acting Division Chief of Current Planning. The City says it hopes to fill the position on a permanent basis as soon as possible.
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