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No Racism Here: EEOC Dismisses Ex-City Manager Martinez’s Complaint Against Bunnell

| March 19, 2015

Armando Martinez in March 2013, the day of a city election that sealed his fate after six years as city manager. (© FlaglerLive)

Armando Martinez in March 2013, the day of a city election that sealed his fate after six years as city manager. (© FlaglerLive)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has dismissed a complaint by former Bunnell City Manager Armando Martinez against the Bunnell City Commission. Martinez is of Cuban descent. He had alleged that the city ended his contract in 2013 because it didn’t want a Hispanic individual in that position.

Martinez based his allegation on a meeting where Commissioner Elbert Tucker had said that in the city’s search for a new manager, the candidate should “not come from south Florida or Miami.” Tucker subsequently and repeatedly said that the comment was misconstrued, and that his intent was not to have a “big city” manager. He said he would have been just as opposed to hire a candidate from any of Florida’s larger cities. Bunnell ended up hiring Larry Williams, who had been a city manager at smaller cities.

Martinez was Bunnell’s first minority city manager. On his watch, which began in Jan. 2006 (after he’d served as the city’s first Hispanic police chief) the city also hired its first black police chief, the late Arthur Jones. Both positions have been filled by white men.

“Based upon its investigation,” the EEOC said in its brief finding, “the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes. This does not certify that the respondent is in compliance with the statutes. No finding is made as to any other issues that might be construed as having been raised by this charge.”

That doesn’t end Martinez’s course of action. Martinez, whose contract with Bunnell ended in October 2013, has until June 15 to file a lawsuit against the city. Martinez, a Brevard County resident, has disconnected the private cell phone he used in his years in Bunnell. Contacted by email, he had not responded before this article first posted.

“It’s not that I feel vindicated,” Tucker said Thursday. “I’m happy it was found by the EEOC what their finding was. I don’t hate this guy, I don’t even dislike him. He’s an OK guy. I just think he got the wrong impression.”

Tucker says it did not cost Martinez anything to file the complaint, though it cost Bunnell to fight it. And it may not be over. “That’s only the first round,” Tucker said. “He still has opportunity to take it to court and pay an attorney, so far it’s just been a complaint with the EEOC. Good luck to him. I’m still thinking he’s probably not on the right track, same as I’m not prejudiced against Mexicans, Cubans, Miamians, whatever it was.”

The EEOC issued its dismissal notice on Feb. 24. The dismissal was conveyed to the city on March 16, and commissioners learned of it in an email from their attorney on Wednesday.

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4 Responses for “No Racism Here: EEOC Dismisses Ex-City Manager Martinez’s Complaint Against Bunnell”

  1. wishful thnking says:

    Yeah- I lived almost half my life in South Florida – born in NYC – what does that make me? A martian? Martinez made all kinds of false promises about the future water rates for Plantation in public meetings – that they would not go up much at all ! HUH ! The mayor of Bunnell thought the world of him and said so also in public. Shame on Martinez – that’s not how we were ‘raised’ in South Florida I can tell you that !
    Formerly a resident of Hialeah and Country Club of Miami/Miami Lakes- 26 years my call is ‘ pure greed ‘- he tried to squeeze more $$ at no cost to him. Good riddance

  2. KB63 says:

    Don’t forget that he ran the City to almost bankruptcy! Finally the commissioners got a clue and the ones who could see the cons he was playing got the power to get him out. He played a good game. Hopefully he goes on his merry way but most likely he will file suit & get some monetary payment to settle just so the City can quit wasting money on fighting this crap.

  3. orphan says:

    Those two responses above (wishful and KB63) say it my way!

    Elbert has his heart in Flagler, I’m happy!

  4. lena Marshal says:

    all of you above mist remember he is only one person and HE IS NOT responsible for the City on the verge of Bankrupcy, your committee members were the one who hired him and then ran him basically out of town. Quite frankly he should have never accepted the position. Because all his people” like the Mayor and the sweet little old men on the committee burnt him bad. Lets face it anyone the committee gets into work there, Police Chief, FInance manager, and all those folks when hired, we the greatest things since sliced bread.
    The Mayor and her committee ran them all off , Chief Jeff and Ms Crosby and the even Martinez, she and he posse when no longer happy with them , did all they could to get the rest of the out as well.
    IF you end up not agreeing with her and the members in all they doo your out.
    SO, don’t blame all these people for the bankruptcy, and your problems your elected officials are just as guilty. Also, the committee had to vote that salary change and the Mayor Robinson was his biggest cheerleader?
    WHo is going to get the blame for the City of Bunnell’s issues now?

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