PORT CHARLOTTE Fla.- In the midst of one of the biggest storms to make landfall in Southwest Florida for several years, Charlotte Countie's noted Emergency Operations Director Wayne Sallade is nowhere to be found. That's because he has been sitting at home.
"He has been suspended for five days," said Assistant County Superintendent Kelly Shoemaker.
Sallade was suspended after having a rift with Punta Gorda Mayor Bill Albers, at a Chamber of Commerce meeting last week.
Sallade was overheard saying to Albers "You're a disgrace".
The remark was in reference to a program that Sallade created. The program uses a five color system to mark street signs so officials can easier notify residents when they are in danger of flooding.
"The city has opted not to be part of that program and Wayne is very passionate about that program", said Shoemaker.
Albers and several other resident complained to the County Supervisor and Sallade was suspended from work for five days without pay. Albers did not wish to discuss the matter calling it a "personnel issue"and Sallade told us over the phone that he was out of line and just wished to get through this and get back to work.
In the reprimand that Sallade was given, under remarks Sallade wrote "This is a real shame. My passion and desire to do right by the residents led to this incident. This is wrong! Very very wrong."
The county acknowleges that the timing could not have been worse to suspend their E.O.C. Director.
"We have a very professional, equipped, capable organization and we're dealing with it", said Shoemaker.
Sallade is scheduled to return to work on Wednesday.