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HART board votes for independent investigation surrounding CEO

HART workers raised concerns over a hostile work environment and a staff member "double-dipping," receiving two full time salaries.

TAMPA, Fla. — An independent investigation into allegations of a hostile work environment and double-dipping of top staffers at Hillsborough County’s transit agency will soon take place.

HART's board of directors voted to launch the investigation after workers raised concerns over mismanagement, double-dipping staff and recent firings, according to the agency's union. David Adams, attorney at Tampa firm Bennett, Jacobs & Adams, will be handling the investigation.

They have 60 days to complete the work.

HART workers were also calling for the removal of the agency's CEO, Adelee Le Grand. During Tuesday's meeting, it was announced the board will vote on the future of the CEO next Monday, Dec. 5.

Union representatives believe it's possible Le Grand could be suspended. Next Monday's meeting will determine if she will be suspended, terminated or do nothing at the time. Since the stir-up, Le Grand has stated that she welcomes the transparency amid calls for an outside investigation into HART.

The workers, represented by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1593 in Tampa, say the ongoing misconduct has created a toxic work environment, according to an earlier press release. Workers were also dismayed to learn that while Teri Wright was working for HART with a $200,271.75 salary, she allegedly continued working at the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority secretly working two full-time jobs simultaneously.

Local Trustees Ismael Rivera and Brenda Moore said HART has been in a "downward spiral" under Le Grand's leadership.

"The departure of 57 employees by unjust firings and resignations, and numerous scandals including the hiring of double dipping Teri Wright have created a hostile workplace and toxic culture," they said in a statement. "Ms. Le Grand is ruling with an iron fist, it’s her way or the highway. Unfortunately, her highway leads to a dysfunctional transit system. It’s time for the HART Board to remove Ms. Le Grand from her position as CEO."

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