St. Pete worker suspended, called mayor "clown"

Posted at 11:17 PM, Sep 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-18 23:17:02-04

The city employee who got in trouble for referring to the mayor as a "clown" in a Facebook post is fighting the five day suspensionn she received.

Robyn Wynn was suspended on Friday on grounds that her post was "inappropriate, offensive and a deliberate attempt to denigrate the mayor."

The post only included three words: "What a clown." She was replying to a Facebook post by a radio station about Mayor Rick Kriseman.

"It's like, what are we, in high school?" Said Rick Smith, chief of the union representing city employees.

He says they have several issues with the punishment and the fact that the city is even wasting time with it.

He believes they not only have a freedom of speech argument, but also a concern about context.

"Is this done in context? You know, Florida statue specifically gives employees the right to speak out politically around an issue," he said.

Wynn, who was caught on camera leaving her disciplinary meeting on Friday, happens to one of the leaders of the union. Smith says they also happen to be in the middle of a dispute over salary.

He questions who really is taking issue with her comment.

"I really, really doubt it's the mayor. He's a seasoned politician. He's got thick skin. For someone to say 'what a clown', it's definitely not coming fro the mayor's office."

The director of human resources for the city said they investigated the timing and reference of the post but decided it was "a random shot at an employee" who happens to be the mayor.

As of Friday, the city put Wynn on a five day, unpaid suspension. She does plan to appeal.

"This will cost the taxpayers thousands and thousands of dollars just to move the case through. If you add up the time done by HR and everything, the investigation," Smith said.