ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch held a press conference on Thursday to address the resignations of two of his administration’s executive team members amid serious allegations of bullying at city hall.
Mayor Welch received resignation letters from Communications Director Janelle Taylor and Deputy Mayor Stephanie Owens late last week.
“After our discussion on August 30, 2022, I have determined that the disclosed hostile work environment, lack of communication or guidance and overall culture of bullying, all related to my direct supervisor, were not adequately addressed, and thus warrant my immediate departure from this administration,” Taylor wrote in her letter of resignation.
After Taylor’s resignation, Welch placed her supervisor, Owens, on administrative leave. She stepped down the next day.
“Recent events distract from our impactful and intentional work to move our great city forward, and therefore I resign in the spirit of progress, effective September 9, 2022,” Owens explained in her letter of resignation.
The mayor said he’s asked the city’s human resources department to come up with initiatives to educate employees on their rights and protections.
At the press conference Thursday, Mayor Welch said he is disappointed with the resignations and allegations. He claimed former Communications Director Janelle Taylor did not make any complaints or let him know about any issues until the day before she resigned.
According to Welch, no other staff members reported any issues. He said Deputy Mayor Owens resigned because she didn’t want to be a distraction to any of the other members of the administration.