City investigation regarding two department heads to be discussed Tuesday

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By: Marisa Gottesman
Associate Editor

A city investigation into two department heads has resulted in one receiving a one-day suspension and the other returning to her job in a limited capacity, according to Delray city records.

About 50 records including emails, testimonies and documents show a dispute between Delray Parks and Recreation Director Suzanne Fisher and Human Resources Director Tennille Decoste.

Issues listed in the documents include Decoste’s unauthorized use of a facility at Pompey Park on Thanksgiving 2015, which resulted in her receiving a one-day suspension from City Manager Don Cooper. In a memo, Cooper states he also submitted the issue to the Palm Beach County Ethics Commission for review.

There are several allegations lodged against Fisher including that she shows favoritism to certain employees and didn’t meet with special events planners or the West Atlantic Redevelopment Coalition on certain topics pertaining to those groups.

Records show members of WARC told Cooper they are dissatisfied with Fisher. Specifically, there were concerns over her not including WARC in discussions on art proposed for a wall on the tennis center.

Fisher is the one who brought Decoste’s use of the facility to other city officials, according to the records.

Fisher has lodged her own set of allegations against other city staff including that her medical privacy rights were violated and that certain city funds were being improperly handled among other issues.

On April 11, several city officials recommended Fisher be terminated from her job.

Fisher was place on non-disciplinary administrative leave, Cooper stated in his memo so the city could determine the facts of the overall situation.

Fisher told Cooper and City Attorney Noel Pfeffer that she felt she was being retaliated against because she told city officials of Decoste’s unauthorized use of Pompey Park.

Cooper wrote in a memo that he advised Fisher to return to work on May 4, but she declined via an email from her attorney stating she wanted a severance agreement.

Ultimately, Fisher returned to work on May 9. A letter from her attorney states she will work no more than 10 hours a week on a contractual basis to get the city through budget season.

Cooper wrote a response stating Fisher will report directly to him. It is unclear the employment arrangement.

Cooper is set to brief the commission on the topic on Tuesday during his comments. The documents can be found on the city’s website.