State Watch

Florida housing agency paid consultant over $3,500 to teach CEO how to be nicer to employees

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A Florida housing agency reportedly paid a consultant more than $3,500 to address the CEO’s habit of shouting and belittling his employees. 

The St. Petersburg Housing Authority made a $3,650 payment in 2017 to the consultant to address CEO Tony Love’s management style, according to records obtained by the Tampa Bay Times

{mosads}The newspaper reports that Love acknowledged screaming at staffers and once directing them to do non-agency work for him.

Love maintained to the the Times in February that the complaints he had received may have been the result of staffers adjusting to a new CEO. But the Times notes that just four days after Love spoke with the newspaper, a top authority worker filed a grievance against him, saying he bullied and degraded her. 

“Mr. Love has consistently verbally abused, harassed and degraded me and other senior staff members, especially female staff members, through one-way interrogations, baseless chastising, insults and bullying,” Robin Adams, the authority’s asset management officer, wrote in the complaint. 

Adams added that she has had to receive counseling due to the stress and anxiety that working with Love has caused. 

The complaint comes at a time in which both Love and the St. Petersburg Housing Authority are under increasing scrutiny from the public. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development cited the housing agency in March because Love had lived rent-free in an apartment for low-income families for nine months, according to the Times.

Housing authority spokeswoman Michelle Ligon told the Times that the agency hired the consultant in an effort to encourage staff to become more receptive to new ideas. 

“The effectiveness of team building, through consensus, is challenging but not impossible,” she said. “As shown by virtue of the compelling fact that in a very short period of time, the agency has transitioned in management, operations, and industry matters.”

The St. Petersburg Housing Authority did not immediately respond to a request for further comment from The Hill. 

Tags consultant Florida St. Petersburg Housing Authority
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