City reaches settlement with ex-code enforcement officer

The $60,200 settlement has led to supervisor training on overtime policies.

Published: Friday, January 8, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 11:34 p.m.

The city of Gainesville has reached a settlement in the amount of $60,200 with a former code enforcement officer to end a lawsuit over unpaid overtime filed in 2008.

The settlement, which the Gainesville City Commission approved in mid-December, ended a lawsuit that two code enforcement officers filed in June 2008.

City Attorney Marion Radson said the case revealed lax enforcement of overtime policies in the department under a supervisor who has since retired.

Radson said supervisors have since received additional training on overtime policies because of the case.

Former code enforcement officer Michael Wohl received a settlement of $60,200, which breaks down to $20,000 in past wages and liquidated damages, $6,000 in taxable costs and $34,200 in attorney's fees.

Radson said the amount paid for past overtime and liquidated damages was less than half of what was originally sought.

"He was able to establish that he had worked some overtime ... it was much less than what he initially demanded," Radson said.

In 2008, the city reached a much smaller settlement over unpaid overtime with another plaintiff in the case, Diana Osborn.

She received less than $1,000 in overtime pay, less than $1,000 in damages and $2,000 for attorney's fees.

Archibald Thomas, a Jacksonville attorney who represented both Wohl and Osborn, said their situations were different.

Thomas said Wohl worked overtime because he had additional information technology duties in the department. He said Osborn, who was in the U.S. Army National Guard, worked extra time to catch up after she was on deployment.

Thomas said neither of them wanted pay for the extra time worked at first, but when it came to the attention of staff, "things went south from there."

Eventually, Wohl and Osborn were both terminated in 2009 after a city review of time cards concluded that, while they had worked unpaid overtime, they had also allegedly falsified time cards and claimed to work hours they had not.

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