Panama City News Herald by Zach McDonald
Diane Floyd alleges she faced retaliation from city officials after she expressed objections about directions on public records requests.
PANAMA CITY — A former clerk for Panama City Beach has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the city, claiming she was threatened with public humiliation after questioning what she considered “unlawful” orders in filling public records requests, according to court records.
Former City Clerk Diane Floyd filed the lawsuit Jan. 1 in the 14th Judicial Circuit Court against the City of Panama City Beach. In it, Floyd alleges she faced retaliation from city officials after she expressed objections to orders on how she should fill specific requests for their public emails and was then pressured to resign. Floyd claims the actions constitute a violation of Florida whistleblower protection laws and cost her an unidentified amount of past and future wages, court records stated.
Floyd has demanded a jury trial and claimed damages exceeding $15,000, which is the minimum amount to file a lawsuit in the circuit court. A jury could award more, less or rule in favor of the defendant. Floyd has also asked for punitive damages.
In the lawsuit, Floyd says she specifically experienced mistreatment at the hands of City Manager Mario Gisbert, Mayor Mike Thomas and Councilman Hector Solis.
Thomas declined to comment on the substance of the pending litigation on Tuesday, saying only he disagreed with claims that employees were being mistreated in city hall. Thomas added, though, that he was not surprised by the lawsuit.
“I’m disappointed,” Thomas said. “I thought we did everything we could to help the girl with that job. It just didn’t work.”