City Attorney Tim McCausland Retires

Tim McCausland has retired from his position as Lakeland city attorney after 27 years as a city employee. He submitted a letter of retirement today, two days after he was arrested in Hillsborough County under suspicion of committing so-called “precursor acts facilitating prostitution.”

McCausland, 69, makes no mention of the arrest in the letter addressed to City Manager Tony Delgado in which he says his retirement takes effect immediately. Like Delgado, McCausland reports directly to the seven-member City Commission.

He asks that his retirement be treated “as any retiring city employee with all the normal benefits other employees of my tenure. That would include access to retiree health insurance if I choose, health savings stipend, normal treatment of accrued leave time and sick time, and a roll over of my 401A account to a private brokerage firm as well as any others that don’t come to mind right now. “

McCausland also asked that he be allowed to keep or buy his city-issued iPad. Delgado told city commissioners he would ask McCausland to return the iPad “per policy.”

McCausland has agreed to return the iPad by Monday, according to city Communications Director Kevin Cook. The retirement benefits he requested in the letter are automatically granted, Cook said.

McCausland was arrested around 11:40 a.m. Wednesday in Brandon, and city commissioners soon began asking Delgado about potential disciplinary action available to them.

Delgado responded that he and Assistant City Attorney Palmer Davis researched it and determined that any action would have to be taken at a public meeting, that McCausland does not fall under Civil Service protection and that the City Commission has the authority to take a variety of actions from placing him under administrative leave to termination.

Those options became moot once McCausland submitted his retirement letter.

Mayor Bill Mutz told the Tampa Bay Times that the decision to retire was made entirely by McCausland. “I respect his decision,” Mutz said. “He determined it was the opportune time for him to do so.”

Davis, 54, is overseeing the city legal department, which has one other full-time attorney, Ramona Sirianni, and also contracts with outside lawyers for specialty work. City commissioners are scheduled to discuss next steps, including whether to name Davis acting or interim city attorney, at their next agenda study session, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 18.

Davis is a graduate of the University of Florida School of Law and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1990. He’s been with the city since November 2001 and makes $136,432 a year as assistant city attorney.

McCausland noted in his letter that he had represented the city as long as 35 years ago. He was hired as the chief assistant city attorney in 1992 and was promoted to the top of the department in 2001; his annual salary was $222,946. 

McCausland was one of eight people arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office as at a hotel near the intersection of Adamo Drive/State Road 60 and Falkenburg Road under a county ordinance aimed at curbing prostitution and solicitation. The law makes illegal actions the county considers precursors to prostitution even when there is no mention of “money, prostitution, sexual acts or any euphemism for those terms” between conversants, according to court records.

He ended his retirement letter with a note of thanks to colleagues: “To my numerous city colleagues and friends, I say thank you for your friendship, caring, and camaraderie. The future is bright for the City of Lakeland.”

Here’s his letter:

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