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Officer Seeks Hearing on ‘Retaliatory’ Firing

(CN) - A former police commander of Sweetwater, Fla., says in a lawsuit that he was fired after investigating alleged code violations at the home of the city's mayor.

In his complaint, Mario Miranda says he received an anonymous complaint about alleged code violations on September 2013, and that it was only when he went to investigate them that he realized the property in question was the home of Mayor Jose M. Diaz.

Miranda said he went to the mayor and advised him that he should look into the alleged violations. He said the mayor responded by telling him to mind his own business.

Unbowed, Miranda said he reminded the mayor that he was not above the law, and that he would be treated as if he were any other citizen regarding alleged violations. A month later he received a memo from the mayor, telling him he was fired.

Believing his firing was retaliatory, Miranda says he immediately attempted to appeal his termination to the city council, but his hearing -- a prerequisite to exhausting his administrative remedies -- was repeatedly delayed.

Then, at a city commission meeting on November 19, 2013, Miranda says, the city attorney spoke and said in his legal opinion, the commission needed to vote on whether to hear the appeal before actually doing so.

With that, "the then sitting President of the Commission simply stated that the Plaintiff's appeal would not be heard and there was no vote," the complaint says.

Miranda seeks an order compelling the city commission to hear his appeal and to render a decision on the matter. Failing that, he asks the court to find the city waived its right to have him exhaust his administrative remedies prior to bringing an action for damages.

He is represented by Howard Brodsky of the Law Office of Gerald J. Tobin, P.A. in Miami.

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