Story by Gary S. Hatrick
Zephyrhills Municipal Airport Manager Trina Sweet was fired Friday afternoon after five years in the head office at the B.F. Parsons Terminal in Zephyrhills.
City Manager Steve Spina confirmed Monday morning that he had sent a disciplinary action notice to the City Council notifying them that Sweet was terminated.
In the notice, Spina wrote, “I am terminating the services of Trina Sweet as airport manager, effective immediately. Reasons for this termination include abuse of leave privileges, excessive tardiness, failure to maintain city property, failure to adequately maintain proper time sheets. As a stand alone department, it is imperative that the manager be on site and available to airport users, staff and other customers and public.”
A notation on the bottom of the form records “refused to sign 3/4/11 2 pm.”
City Council president Lance Smith offered his reaction to the news.
“It’s not good anytime you have to terminate anybody,” he said. “I think that this was an accumulation of things that happened over time. I think she was given the opportunity, but she wasn’t trying to correct anything. I like her personally, but if she wasn’t doing the job then you have to make a change.”
Whether that change will include hiring a new manager could be in question. Smith said that in light of the current budget projections, it may be wise to hold off on filling the position until the council has a chance to finish next year’s budget.
Sweet became airport manager in 2006, replacing Jim Werme, who resigned in 2005 after Spina threatened to fire him following an often-strained relationship with the city manager and the City Council. After Werme’s departure, Sweet worked as interim airport manager until she was hired to fill the position.
Sweet could not be reached for comment.