Top city officials in violation of city charter

Sarasota City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini (left) and Interim City Manager Terry Lewis (second from right) participate in a recent City Commission meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel

The charter of the City of Sarasota is clear. The city manager, auditor and clerk, and finance director must be bonded. But two of them are not. Neither Interim City Manager Terry Lewis nor Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini is bonded.

The charter says, “The city manager, the city auditor and clerk … and the finance director shall each give bond with authorized corporate sureties, conditioned upon their faithful performance of duty.”

And the charter requires that the City Commission set the amount of that bond by resolution every year.

On Nov. 7, 2011, the commission passed such a resolution and backdated it to Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year.

A Daytona Beach insurance firm specializing in public sector work had been tasked with finding bonds for then-City Manager Bob Bartolotta, Finance Director Chris Lyons and Auditor and Clerk Nadalini.

The firm was able to get policies for Bartolotta and Lyons, but unable to secure a bond for Nadalini. The Sarasota News Leader obtained a copy of correspondence between the Daytona Beach firm and a city employee.

“Unfortunately we were unsuccessful in securing terms for the city clerk/auditor position,” the firm reported back by email on Sept. 28, 2011. “Our marketing efforts included accessing all standard and substandard bond writers including Travelers, Chubb, CAN, Suretec, Hartford and others. Underwriters are unwilling to extend surety without significant collateral for the city clerk/auditor position.”

After Bartolotta’s resignation was accepted in mid-January, his bond was cancelled and part of the premium was refunded. He was replaced by Terry Lewis, the current and interim city manager.

When informed he was in violation of the city charter’s requirement for a surety bond, Lewis said, “I didn’t know. I will check with [Human Resources] and risk management this afternoon.”

Nadalini’s response was different. “I provided what was asked,” she said. “[Human Resources Director] Kurt Hoverter said it is very difficult to get [a surety bond] today.”

She referred any further questions to Hoverter and City Attorney Bob Fournier.

Maggie Sumney, the city’s manager of risk and employee relations, told the News Leader, “We were not able to bond Ms. Nadalini. She is covered under a crime policy umbrella that covers all city employees.”