Sweetwater, FL, – The City of Sweetwater has terminated Carlos Lanza, the former Building and Zoning Director for the City of Sweetwater. Lanza leaves a powerful position and generous six-figure compensation within the Sweetwater government after working for the city for over 20 years. This is the first department head firing since two firings in 2014: former Sweetwater Parks Director Luis Quintero and former Sweetwater Finance Director Anny Chez were fired in 2014 by then interim-Mayor Jose M. Diaz as part of his “clean house” project.
The news of Sweetwater firing Lanza comes as a city memo dated June 16th explains the reason for termination:
“Conduct unbecoming a City employee; failure to follow a superior’s direct lawful order; incompetence or negligence in performance of duties; such other actions as are determined by Mayor to be cause for disciplinary action.”
The termination letter from the city also states Mr. Lanza became a full-time city employee on January 1, 2016, making him subject to a probationary period of employment, and allowing the city to terminate him without any reason.
“Additionally, notwithstanding the aforementioned causes of relief, Mr. Lanza became a full-time City employee on January 1st, 2016. As such the City reserves the right to terminate his employment for failing to meet the standards of his probationary period.”
Employment records show Mr. Lanza has worked in the City of Sweetwater since 1994 and a brief stint at Miami Dade County before that.
According to the city charter, the position of Building and Zoning Director is one of 5 department head positions appointed by the Mayor and ratified by the City Commissioners. The Building and Zoning Director is a position with much discretionary power to allow or deny a homeowner or business owner a permit. Because of this, many complaints were raised by business owners and homeowners over the process of obtaining a permit in Sweetwater, cost of permits, and selective enforcement of permits by the city.
The Building and Zoning Director also attends local Planning and Zoning Board meetings to make recommendations on related matters.
According to Sweetwater Spokeswoman Claudia Miro, the position of Building and Zoning Director has yet to be filled.
We have not been able to communicate with Mr. Lanza for comment.