In July 2014, Cynthia Barber, Director of Environmental Policy & Energy Resources for the City of Tallahassee informed Equity and Workforce Development about inappropriate activity and misconduct on the part of several Building Services employees.
An investigation was initiated and completed on August 27,2014. Tallahassee Reports has uploaded the Executive Summary here. Names of individuals involved in misconduct have been redacted.
The investigation substantiated that three employees engaged in incidents of sexual misconduct, used profane and abusive language toward each other and toward other employees. The actions by these employees took place during regular work hours in the main lobby area of City Hall. The conduct began in the Fall of 2102 and continued into 2014.
Also, a significant participant in the conduct was a security guard who is employed by the Barkely Security Agency (BSA). BSA has the contract with the City of Tallahassee to provide security services in a number of City owned buildings. It appears he was transferred from City Hall to another City building when the conduct was discovered. Tallahassee Reports is still trying find out what action, if any, was taken against BSA or the security guard.
The investigation also found that two employees divided “tip money” donated by City employees during the Building Services’ United Way fundraising efforts, rather than donate those funds to the United Way.
Tallahassee Reports can confirm that on Septemeber 2, 2014, four employees directly involved with the activities described in the report were disciplined. Two City employees were terminated and two were suspended.
Tallahassee Reports has decided not to write about the details of the sexual misconduct or to identify the individuals involved.
Rather than focus on the behavior of the individuals, Tallahassee Reports will focus on how the management structure in place allowed for these events to take place.
The investigation found that no supervisor level City employees was engaged in the inappropriate conduct. However, the investigation did find that Chuck Cleveland, the Building Maintenance Supervisor, “was aware of the inappropriate conduct among his staff, he deliberately chose not to become involved or to take effective action to stop the conduct.”
In addition, the investigation concluded that Mr Cleveland’s direct supervisor, Facilities Manager Arlecia Harris, “knew or should have known of activities taking place over an approximate 18-month period within her department and among her staff.”
Ms. Harris reports to Cynthia Barber who reports directly to City Manager Anita Favors-Thompson.
The investigation found “there were conflicts in the statements and accounting of events between Facilities Manager Arlecia Harris and Ms. Barber, Ms. Harris and Ms. Barkely of Barkely Security Agency, Inc.”
For example, Ms. Harris said she made Ms. Barber, her superior, aware of the conduct in November 2013. Ms. Barber denies knowing anything about the conduct until May 2014.
The investigation concludes that there are “concerns regarding Ms. Harris’s reliability in this matter.”
Tallahassee Reports will continue to investigate and will seek to provide the answers to the following questions:
Was there any action taken against the security guard involved or Barkely Security Agency?
Is there any action pending against any manager level employee?
What actions have been taken to ensure a structure is in place to discourage this type of behavior in City Hall?