Florida housing agency paid $3,650 to teach embattled boss to be nice, stop being abusive to staff

A Florida housing agency paid $3,650 to a consultant to teach their boss to be nice and stop being abusive to his staff.

St. Petersburg Housing Authority CEO Tony Love came under fire amid revelations of complaints made by senior staffers who claim that he acted inappropriately by shouting and demeaning them.

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To fix the problem of a raucous boss, the agency decided to fork over $3,650 in 2017 to pay for a five-hour meeting with a consultant, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Love reportedly admitted during the meeting that he yelled at his staffers and even once forced them to do work that wasn’t related to the agency.

The consultant then advised Love to cease criticizing employees while surrounded by others and stop trying to become friends with owners of outside firms paid to work for the agency, the newspaper reported.

But it appears that the money spent on the consultant was wasted as Love was accused of abusive behavior just four days after the meeting. Robin Adams, the authority's asset management officer, alleged that Love bullied and harassed her.

“Mr. Love has consistently verbally abused, harassed and degraded me and other senior staff members, especially female staff members, through one-way interrogations, baseless chastising, insults and bullying.”

— Robin Adams, the authority's asset management officer

“Mr. Love has consistently verbally abused, harassed and degraded me and other senior staff members, especially female staff members, through one-way interrogations, baseless chastising, insults and bullying,” Adams’ complaint reportedly read, adding that she had to receive counseling to deal with the stress stemming from Love’s behavior.

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The Housing Authority CEO has been under fire ever since the first complaints alleging abuse started to roll in.

Love was also criticized after the revelations that he lived rent-free for nine months in an apartment for low-income families, prompting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to send a notice of violation to the agency, according to the Times. He also approved agency funds to revamp the apartment and even pay his electric bills.

Authority spokeswoman Michelle Ligon told the newspaper that the consultant worked as a “coaching exercise” to inspire staffers to embrace new ideas.

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“The effectiveness of team building, through consensus, is challenging but not impossible,” she said, “as shown by virtue of the compelling fact that in a very short period of time, the agency has transitioned in management, operations, and industry matters.”