Temple Terrace fires city manager after community development director accused of bribery

The Temple Terrace City Council has voted to terminate the contract of now-former city manager, Charles Stephenson. The vote comes a day after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Community Development director Amir Anisi for alleged bribery and misconduct.

The city council did not make clear if or how the two situations were connected.

In a press release, the city council said Stephenson's contract was "terminated for cause" during Monday's meeting after Council Member Meredith Abel made the motion for a vote. 

Able said Stephenson was not a target of the FDLE investigation, however, when asked, investigators did not "proclaim the innocence" of Stephenson.

RELATED: FDLE arrests Temple Terrace community development director accused of bribery, insider information

Able also noted Anisi reported directly to Stephenson and was under his purview. She said it "stands to reason Mr. Stephenson was either negligent in his duties or complicit in Mr. Anisi's activities."

Now-former Temple Terrace city manager Charles Stephenson

"I believe Mr. Anisi could not have done this without active or passive cooperation from the city manager," she continued.

Able added the situation, "is not reflective of Temple Terrace and its staff, as a whole."

Mayor Andy Ross put forth Temple Terrace Police Chief Ken Albano to be acting city manager until an interim city manager is identified.

The Temple Terrace City Council will hold a special meeting Monday, February 7 at 6 p.m. to discuss the vacant position.

Meanwhile, the Mayor Ross said reviews were ongoing into the charges against Anisi. The mayor said it started when he got a complaint about the city hiring an unlicensed contractor to complete concrete renovations to a racquetball court at the city's recreation complex.

After several months of investigation, FDLE investigators said Anisi gave an unlicensed contractor information on bids submitted for city work so that the contractor could underbid and secure the project.

Mayor Ross said the city would do a review to make sure this type of situation would not happen again.

"I want to assure the residents of our city, and those doing business with our city, that Temple Terrace will not tolerate this kind of behavior," Ross said in a statement. "Myself, and all the members of the city council, are committed to the highest standards of integrity and will continue to demand transparency and excellence from our staff."