TAMPA, Fla. — After less than a year on the job, the CEO of HART is suspended with pay following a whistleblower complaint.
“As you know, the Board received a letter Friday evening that can only be characterized as a whistleblower, alleging improper conduct on behalf of the CEO with respect to procurement processes, vendor relations and related manners," HART General Counsel David Smith said in Monday's board meeting.
Smith said he received the letter Saturday morning from the board and was, "directed to commence the investigation."
The board unanimously chose to suspend Benjamin Limmer with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
“It is imperative that board member who received the letter be careful with whom they share that information," Smith said.
Smith said it's important to remember that, at this time, the allegations are just that.
“It is important that we move expeditiously. Both in terms of whether we clear the individual accused or we find out what the problems are and start solving those," Smith said.
Effective Monday, the HART Board of Directors appointed attorney Carolyn House Stewart to serve as Interim CEO. She will manage HART day-to-day.
Stewart started working at HART in Sept. 2015 as a Temporary Litigation Counsel and was promoted to Director of Risk and Legal Services this year.
The board directed Stewart to retain legal counsel for an independent investigation of the allegations.
Limmer released this statement on Tuesday:
Since arriving at HART less than a year ago I have worked to build a culture of excellence while assembling a new leadership team that best serves this community. That culture involves honesty, integrity and transparency. So while I have not seen the complaint against me, I welcome and look forward to cooperating fully as I remain committed to HART’s mission, its team, Board and the people it serves and I expect a speedy resolution.