Marco city employee sues former police chief for gender discrimination

Alfred Schettino, former Marco Island chief of police, is being sued collectively with the City of Marco Island and Marco Island Police Department for claims he committed systemic workplace harassment, intimidation and bullying of female city employees.

Heather Comparini, the five-year records clerk with the city, recently filed the lawsuit against Schettino, the city and MIPD after she says Schettino continually mistreated female staff until the final female police officer resigned. Then, she claims he began directly discriminating against her, specifically because of her gender, along with creating a hostile work environment through harassment and intimidation.

In the lawsuit, Comparini claims she had information and belief Schettino leaked confidential information about Lee Niblock, the former city manager, in 2018. She claims Schettino began to publicly discredit her and place blame on her for the leak.

At one point, Comparini says she “sat in terror while Schettino pounded his fist on his desk, called her a liar and told her she was done.”

“I truly feel terrible for this individual who had to suffer through this type of discrimination,” Councilman Jared Grifoni said. “Not only during the course of the actual discrimination itself, but the succeeding 18 months now where this investigation has been left open for unknown reasons.”

Grifoni told us he has pushed for an investigation into MIPD for years.

“The individuals who have been victimized in many instances over the past few years deserve to have their stories told,” Grifoni said. “They deserve to hear the truth, and they deserve to have individuals who discriminate against them or possibly violated the law they have to be held accountable.”

We reached out to Comparini and her lawyer. Both said they did not want to provide comment regarding the lawsuit. We also reached out to the city and MIPD, and we were told no comment due to pending the lawsuit. We contacted Schettino by phone, and he did not return our calls.

Meanwhile, Grifoni is confident Tracy Frazzano, the new Marco police chief, will fix the police department. In a recent interview, Frazzano said her goal is to rebuild trust.

“It’s going to take time, and we’re going to build on that together,” Frazzano said.

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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