LEON COUNTY, FL. (WTXL) - An Army reservist and state employee has filed suit in Leon County circuit court against Gov. Rick Scott and officials at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, saying, he was demoted and had his pay cut in part because of his service commitments.
Master Sgt. Walter Kreitlow, who has worked for DBPR since 2006 and has been deployed overseas twice since he was hired, said the treatment violates state and federal laws meant to protect service members. Kreitlow said, he was demoted and forced to take a pay cut in 2011 after his position was terminated, something he blamed on his commitments with the military. Kreitlow was offered a chance to avoid the demotion by taking another job in Miami. "In addition to fighting our enemy abroad, I was forced to fight for my job back home," Kreitlow said. He also dismissed the possibility of a political vendetta in an election year. "In fact, I was a registered Republican and I proudly voted for Rick Scott in 2010," Kreitlow told reporters during a conference call.
On Wednesday, the department released an email from 2011, with the subject line, "Thank you for thinking of my family ...," that didn't reflect any complaints by Kreitlow about his treatment. "My family and I would love to remain home in Tallahassee, and I appreciate the opportunity to transition into the Tallahassee District Office," he wrote then. "I'm excited about the new challenges, look forward to working with the Tallahassee DO Team and know that I will be a contributing factor to their success. However, I may struggle in growing a Goatee HA!" DBPR also released its two responses to Kreitlow's complaints to the U.S. Department of Labor. "The agency categorically denies that any action affecting Mr. Kreitlow has been as a result of his military participation," one of the responses said. "This agency has historically been very supportive of Mr. Kreitlow's military service and is proud to recognize our active members of the armed services and veterans for their service to this nation." Kreitlow and his attorney said the Labor Department found that evidence backed up his claims.
Mr. Kreitlow continues to work at DBPR.