St. Pete official fired after sewage scandal; second city employee demoted

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said Monday the city’s water resources director has been terminated. The news follows a fall sewage spill, which environmental groups are suing over. Around 148 million gallons of wastewater flowed in Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay, officials have said.

A whistleblower later revealed there were apparent concerns about potential problems with wastewater during major rain events because the city closed the Albert Whitted Water treatment plant, leaving other plants beyond capacity.

On Sept. 21 Kriseman placed Steve Leavitt, the water resources director, on unpaid leave. The termination announcement followed an independent review.

Engineering Director Tom Gibson had also been placed on unpaid leave. He will rejoin the engineering department but as an engineering/transportation design manager. He previously earned $152,110 per year. Gibson will now make $120,000 annually.

“We must continue to remake our Public Works Administration, and specifically our Water Resources Department, in order to better serve both our residents and our employees. I am appreciative of Mr. Leavitt’s many years of service. My expectations of the department, however, calls for new leadership. I am pleased to have Mr. Gibson rejoin us in a capacity well-suited for him,” Kriseman said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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