Two city of Largo employees were fired and another two resigned after they abandoned their posts as Hurricane Irma hit Florida earlier this month, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times.
The four government employees worked in the public works department and were considered emergency responders.
All four of them signed an agreement in May — shortly before hurricane season in Florida begins — acknowledging that they knew they were emergency responders, according to the Times.
All four employees told the paper that they chose to be with their families instead of showing up to work, even though the city provided shelters for employees and their families.
One fired employee, 58-year-old Brian Nutting, told the paper that he spent the storm at his house with his wife because they were worried the shelters wouldn’t have room for their dogs. Nutting, a longtime city employee, added that he was expecting a three- or five-day suspension but didn’t think he would actually be fired.
“It was like a sledgehammer hit me right between the eyes,” Nutting said. “I didn’t think they’d be that harsh to someone who has dedicated services to them for 24 years.”
City Manager Henry Schubert disagreed. “Termination is fair to the other employees who did come to work and fulfilled their responsibilities to be able to provide service to the public,” Schubert told the paper. “I think just about everyone would prefer to be home with their family.”