Jennifer Brackney to resign as CEO of CareerSource Pinellas amid whistleblower investigation, employee complaints
Jennifer Brackey is under the microscope. Again.

Jennifer ART
She'll receive more than $50,000 in severance and vacation payout.

The embattled CEO of CareerSource Pinellas will offer her resignation Friday during a special meeting of the Board of Directors, Florida Politics has learned.

According to the meeting’s agenda, released Wednesday afternoon, Jennifer Brackney‘s resignation will be official upon the board approving her severance agreement. Board Chair Barclay Harless recommends the board accept her voluntary resignation, the agenda shows. As part of her severance, Brackney will receive six weeks’ severance pay in the amount of $21,747.14, along with nearly $32,000 in unused paid time off. The severance agreement says Brackney must sign the agreement upon board approval.

“I think board members should be concerned with how the organization is run and how we are helping the community in carrying out the mission the organization has with these programs that help people receive training in job skills and employment,” Harless said. “My policy is to focus on our organization, our employees and do the right thing. That’s what I’m going to commit to.”

Brackney addressed her resignation in a letter to the board and CareerSource employees Wednesday.

“I have enjoyed seven years of dedicated service to CareerSource Pinellas and am proud of what ourteam has accomplished,” she said. “I believe this severance agreement is in the best interest of our organization.”

Brackney’s leadership came under fire late last year amid high levels of employee turnover and whistleblower complaints alleging she created a hostile work environment and violated state law regarding posting salary information. Independent investigations initiated by the board determined the allegations were substantiated.

About 30 employees have resigned from the agency since July 2020. Seven have resigned or announced intent to leave since December. Brackney also removed a legally mandated post from the CareerSource Pinellas website displaying executive salaries and tried to circumvent the employee responsible for directing the organization’s PR firm, Tucker/Hall.

In early January, Adrienne Johnson, a DEO deputy secretary, called Brackney’s efficacy into question amid the substantiated claims of high turnover and low employee morale.

“What are your strategies to address any weaknesses in your service delivery model, if any?” Johnson asked in a letter to Brackney.

Brackney was given 15 days to respond to the letter.

CareerSource Pinellas, the county’s public job placement agency, has been under federal investigation since 2018 (when it was linked with CareerSource Tampa Bay) after a Tampa Bay Times investigation uncovered millions of dollars in financial manipulation including bloated salaries and fraudulent reporting of job placements. Brackney, at the time, was an aide to CEO Edward Peachey. Peachey was released from the organization and is still under FBI investigation. The companion organizations were reorganized and split.

Recent years have uncovered a rash of inflated CEO salaries. In addition to Brackney and Peachey at CareerSource, Chris Card, the former head of EckerdConnects, Tampa Bay’s local foster agency, was accused of padding his salary by having two separate contracts. Eckerd denied wrongdoing and defended the move. And Tiffany Carr, who was CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, was found to have diverted millions in grant money meant for domestic violence survivors to her vacation payouts.

Daniel Figueroa IV

Bronx, NY —> St. Pete, Fla. Just your friendly, neighborhood journo junkie with a penchant for motorcycles and Star Wars. Daniel has spent the last decade covering Tampa Bay and Florida for the Ledger of Lakeland, Tampa Bay Times, and WMNF. You can reach Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected].


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