Fired Lee County animal services officials, lawyers continue legal battle


FORT MYERS, Fla. — The legal battle between two fired Lee County Domestic Animals Services officials and county attorneys continued Tuesday.

Former director Donna Ward and operations manager Glenn Johnson filed a lawsuit in November 2014 claiming the county violated Florida’s Public Whistleblower Act by terminating their employment earlier that year. The suit alleged they were fired by their supervisor, Christine Brady, in retaliation for disclosing illegal and unethical county management activities.

Johnson took the stand and explained to the jury the investigation that sparked the issue — the December 2013 case involving Robin Speronis.

However, the county argued they did nothing wrong.

“Evidence will show that they weren’t terminated for an illegal reason, they were terminated because they were at will employees who’s expectations of them were made clear, and they failed to follow them,” said Greg Hearing, the lawyer representing Lee County.

The employees were reinstated last year.

If the jury finds the county liable, they’d have to issue backpay for both employees, as well as damages and legal fees.

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