Former Lakeland police chief agreed not to sue the city in deal that makes her consultant

Lisa Womack will make $26,000 through May 1

LAKELAND, Fla. - Former Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack agreed to never to sue the City of Lakeland or its employees in a deal struck last week that ensures her pay through at least May 1.

In the deal, Womack agreed to step down immediately as chief and work as a paid consultant. The city will pay her $5,800 every two weeks through the first of May to help the city with legal, employee and administrative matters.

If she works after May 1, she'll earn $75 per hour.

"I would not have done that," Mayor Howard Wiggs said Monday. "I would think the city would be better served if she was not associated with the city."

Although Wiggs is satisfied that Womack is no longer the chief, he said he's disappointed how City Manager Doug Thomas handled it.

Wiggs and other commissioners wanted clarification on what Womack will do to earn the money.

"What is she going to be doing specifically? Let's get a feel for that. How do we answer our constituents who are not comfortable with her still being on the payroll?" Wiggs asked.

Womack told ABC Action News in an e-mail that since being put on leave, she has spent four days in Texas, where her husband works as a police chief, but is currently back in Lakeland.

The mayor said he was told she routinely checks in by phone, but it's not clear how much work she's actually helped complete.

She is no longer considered a city employee and has been stripped of her badge and employee identification. The city manager told commissioners she will not be "walking the halls of the department."

Taxpayers like Jose Garcia are getting fed up with the drama.

"The police chief sure wants the money," he said.

Garcia doesn't understand why the city is willing to shell out so much cash for unclear reasons.

"If the city says they don't have enough money to do this, that, and the other, because of the financial times we're in, then they don't have enough money to pay a consultant," he said.

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