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Former employee sues city of Deltona for discrimination, seeks more than $100,000

A former municipal employee is suing the city of Deltona for discrimination leading to her termination.

Kimberly Castro, who served as a full-time project manager for Deltona from January 2023 to November 2023, filed the lawsuit May 6 in Florida’s 7th Judicial Circuit Court in Volusia County. Castro is seeking at least $100,000 in lost wages and benefits, plus reimbursement for legal costs.

Deltona City Hall, 2345 Providence Blvd.Deltona City Hall, 2345 Providence Blvd.

Deltona City Hall, 2345 Providence Blvd.

According to the complaint, former City Manager Jim Chisholm hired Castro to seek grants for Deltona’s infrastructure upgrades related to emergency preparedness following Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. In six months of work, Castro says he has secured about $15 million in funding through the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant program, as well as $3.5 million in state disaster aid. The money was to be used for a number of projects, including raising the road on Elkcam Boulevard to prevent flooding and improving wastewater treatment facilities at Fisher and Eastern, according to the complaint.

Castro claims she was discriminated against after Chisholm resigned in August 2023 and was not included in internal communications or meetings with other city staff, including the interim city manager , Glen Whitcomb, and the directors of public works and finance. Additionally, she claims that false complaints were filed against her with city commissioners and that documents she prepared outlining project funding sources made it appear that she was “not following the budget process.”

Deltona recently hired Dale “Doc” Dougherty, the former city manager of Garden City, Michigan, as its new city manager.

In a recent phone interview with The News-Journal, Castro said she believes the reason city staff would decline government grants is that it would require more work to manage and track funding in accordance with grant requirements .

Catherine Barker, a city spokeswoman, said Deltona officials could not comment on pending litigation.

Additionally, the lawsuit accuses Deltona city employees of “gross mismanagement, malfeasance, malfeasance, and blatant waste of public funds,” as well as neglecting the community’s critical infrastructure needs.

Gary Wilson, the Maitland-based attorney who represents Castro in the suit, said, “Our firm is helping her because she claims she was the subject of whistleblower retaliation, and that’s why the city is not had no valid reason to dismiss her.”

In her interview with The News-Journal, Castro added that she was eager to tell her story because “what they (the City) are doing to the 98,000 people who live there is a crime.”

Reached by The News-Journal on Monday, Mayor Santiago Avila declined to comment specifically on the matter, but noted, “I can tell you that she (Castro) was very competent and effective in what she did.”

Avila said the City has not hired a project manager since Castro left. Castro, who lives in Sanford, currently works elsewhere. She received an annual salary of $76,648 before her termination.

This article originally appeared in the Daytona Beach News-Journal: Deltona officials accused of ‘gross mismanagement’ of funds in lawsuit.


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