BRADENTON BEACH -- The Bradenton Beach finance director and treasurer resigned this week citing issues with city ethics and values.
In a letter to Bradenton Beach Mayor Jack Clarke and city commissioners, Sheila Dalton said experiences over the past six months convinced her she must resign. Dalton, 51, began working for the city in February 2014.
"The reason for my resignation is that I am simply not ruthless enough for this city," Dalton's letter read. "I have been employed with the city for over a year now, and I do not see myself working for a city which does not share the same beliefs that I do. I had hoped that because I was enjoying my work so much that perhaps a compromise between the city's ethics and my own could be reached. However, I see now that this is not possible."
Dalton put in two weeks notice in her letter. Her last day, however, was Wednesday, said Bradenton Beach City Clerk Terri Sanclamente.
"I think it's just the way people treat each other in the city. It's very hard to explain unless you experience it," Dalton said Wednesday. "I would call it very hostile -- political and hostile."
Dalton specified she meant city employees, not residents.
According to Dalton, anything she tried to do for city employees was met with backlash. She used the example of switching employee insurance to United Healthcare, which she said saved the city $100,000.
"I had switched us to Unit
ed Healthcare with the commission's approval and I even offered employees three different plans to choose from -- and it was such a battle," she said.
"According to current practice, I suspect my replacement will be nothing more than a bookkeeper so city spending will not be monitored and it will go back to being business as usual before I arrived," Dalton's letter read. "Most people resist change and yet it is the only thing that brings progress."
Clarke said Wednesday he doesn't view Dalton's bookkeeper comment is accurate.
"It was a heartfelt letter, and she's certainly entitled to her feelings about things and her sense of what's going on, but in the greater scheme of things that's her perspective and not mine certainly," he said.
Clarke said Dalton's resignation was a surprise.
"There's no hard feelings -- at least not on my part," he said. "I guess she just feels she needs a different environment."
The mayor said he had "no clue" what she was referring to in stating she and the city don't share the same beliefs.
A budget workshop meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday was postponed in light of Dalton's resignation. The meeting, which will focus on the tentative 2015-16 fiscal year budget, will likely take place next week, said Clarke.
Commissioner Jan Vosburgh said she was sorry to hear Dalton left.
"We'll miss her pleasant, upbeat personality. She never complained and was always willing to accommodate you if you had any questions," Vosburgh said. "She was a hard worker and saved the city money during her time with us. She just needed to communicate in a more assertive way. I think it's going to be a loss for us not to have Sheila."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.