DeBary, ex-manager Dan Parrott win discrimination case
A second gender-discrimination complaint filed against the city of DeBary and its former city manager by a former employee has ended with a far different conclusion than the first.
The court, this time, found in favor of the city.
Judge Gregory Presnell of the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida ruled this month that former city Clerk Stacy Tebo didn’t prove she’d been fired because of her gender or that her work environment “was objectively hostile.”
Tebo said she had expected a different outcome and was looking forward to having her day in court. She said she plans to appeal the judge’s decision.
“When you have been wronged, it is human nature to want to tell others and have them believe you,” Tebo said via email. “I sincerely believe that if a jury could hear me and my witnesses tell our stories, they would have no choice but to find in my favor.”
The city and Dan Parrott asked for a summary judgment, “arguing that Tebo was terminated for insubordination and acts of disloyalty,” and the court found the city gave “legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for terminating Tebo.”
Tebo and Kassandra Blissett, the former assistant city manager, both filed gender-discrimination complaints against Parrott in March 2015 with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Both women also filed complaints with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
Following the filing of the complaints, both women were terminated: Tebo after a month and Blissett after three days.
The city settled with Blissett in May for $250,000.
In their respective complaints, both Blissett and Tebo said Parrott made “ongoing and pervasive sexist remarks.”
Both Blissett and Tebo said in the complaints that Parrott had made comments about there being “too much estrogen” on staff and that women were too emotional.
When Parrott told Blissett “he was eliminating her position due to budget cuts,” Tebo started “encouraging other women to file complaints with the EEOC.”
After Parrott’s February 2014 investigation into a sexual harassment complaint in the city’s Parks and Recreation department, Parrott “revoked Tebo’s human resources responsibilities and reassigned them to Blissett.”
In March 2015 Parrott told Tebo she’d no longer be the custodian of records, according to the judgment filed Aug. 10.
That decision followed Parrott’s conclusion that Tebo hadn’t sent him all of the same emails that a resident had received in public records request, according to court records. It also followed Parrott having been told by then-mayor Clint Johnson that Tebo had approached Johnson about how the City Council might vote on the topic of terminating Parrott.
Tebo said it was Johnson who’d approached her about how the council would vote, records show.
In September 2015, Tebo, who’d worked for DeBary for a decade, was hired as the town manager of White Springs, a small town located about halfway between Tallahassee and Jacksonville.
Tebo said she’d never wanted to sue her hometown and that her problem was with Parrott.
“I had no choice but to file suit with the hope that one day everyone would see that I had been telling the truth,” Tebo said. “An outstanding longtime employee doesn’t suddenly become subpar in a month; and, it’s certainly suspicious that the employee is terminated 32 days after submitting an informal complaint to the EEOC about the very person who terminated her.”