The mayor of Stuart is now the subject of an internal investigation following an age discrimination complaint.
A city employee who wants to pursue the city manager's position filed the complaint, NewsChannel 5's Meghan McRoberts has learned.
The current City Manager, Paul NIcoletti, is retiring.
The complaint alleges Mayor Tom Campenni told the employee interested in the job that he would not vote for the employee because he wanted to hire a "younger guy with fresh ideas."
It reads, "He stated he may support me if I was interested in serving as the interim city manager, but if I did so I could not apply for the full time position because it would not be fair to others and outside people might not apply."
The complaint also states Campenni told the employee who he will be voting for, even though the position has not yet been posted.
"I believe this is unfair to qualified employees who may wish to apply, if for no other reason than to enlighten the city commissioners on who they really are based on their education, experience and accomplishments... At this point I feel I have been disadvantaged before the process has been established."
The complainant said this was the first time he ever experienced any employee being discouraged from applying for a city job.
The employee is hoping for clarification as to whether his conversation with Campenni conflicts with city policy regarding employment opportunity, discrimination or other behavior guidelines.
The employee did not want to be identified Friday, but said he wants to make sure the City Manager selection process is fair. He hopes it will be focused on skills and qualifications, not age.
It is against state discrimination laws not to hire someone because of age.
Tom Campenni has been mayor for more than three months.
He replaced former Mayor Eula Clarke who resigned after she was accused of making offensive comments to a police officer.
City leaders, not wanting to be named in this story, call the allegations "deeply concerning" and say this could be discussed in the Stuart City Commission meeting Monday.
Campenni has not returned WPTV's request for comment.