Former Tampa Police Department (TPD) Capt. Marion Serious Lewis forfeited his law enforcement job when he ran to unseat Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio in 2007, a Florida appeals court has ruled.
The city sought to enforce Tampa’s “resign to run” statute, which requires police officers to resign before running for a public office currently held by someone with supervisory authority over them.
In circuit court, Lewis argued that Police Chief Stephen Hogue had sole supervisory control over him. The circuit court granted summary judgment to Lewis, noting that the city’s position would prevent any city employee from challenging an incumbent mayor in an election.
The appeals court reversed that decision. Restrictive or not, city ordinances clearly require officers to resign before challenging a superior officer, the court found. The court also noted that the city’s charter charges the mayor with “direct control and supervision of all departments.”
Lewis argued that Iorio delegated supervisory control to the police chief, but the appeals court disagreed. It ruled, “Even if we were to assume that Mayor Iorio has a hands-offstyle relative to the operation of the TPD, the charter vests her with the ultimate authority to supervise Mr. Lewis.”
Lewis currently works as director of security for Saddlebrook Golf and Tennis Resort.