CareerSource Pinellas Chairman Jack Geller called it “Déjà vu all over again” when the board rescinded a golden parachute settlement offer for embattled former CEO Ed Peachey and essentially dared Peachey to sue for damages.
“Mr. Peachey is not going to be kicked to the curb like some dog at the pound and told ‘the fact that you have a contract doesn’t matter,'” Peachey’s attorney Marion Hale told board members before their vote.
That action followed a sternly-worded warning letter from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that arrived last week, just hours after the CareerSource Board voted to fire Peachey and offer him five months pay in order to make him go away quietly.
On Tuesday, the board found itself facing a dilemma: take back the offer of $47,000 to Peachey and face a likely lawsuit from Peachy, or let the offer stand and risk “decertification” of the organization from state leaders who’ve launched criminal investigations involving Peachey’s leadership of CareerSource.
“It puts this board in an impossible position of choosing which poison,” said CareerSource attorney Charles Harris.
By a vote of 12-3, the CareerSource board chose to provoke a possible lawsuit from Peachy in order to placate state regulators who are investigating exaggerated job placement claims and other issues.
Peachey refused to comment as he left the meeting.
Last week, CareerSource Tampa Bay – a sister jobs organization that Peachey also ran in Hillsborough County – voted to take back its $117,000 settlement offer and place the money in escrow for up to two years to allow the state investigations to run their course.
CareerSource Pinellas also voted to give Peachey tht same amount, but revised calculations showed that his five months severance for Pinellas was actually much less–only $47,000.
Now he’s not getting anything.
“I would assume what’s next is we’re going to get sued,” said Board Chairman Jack Geller.