Lakeland recorder fired for $5.8K on city card

Lakeland logo copyLakeland City Hall has released additional details on why its 17-year-veteran city recorder lost her job on April 6.

Sontidra Thomas was fired for making five unauthorized rental car charges over two months, totaling $5,852.96, according to city records released under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

She made the charges on a city credit card between Feb. 5 and March 24. In a memo dated March 16, Thomas wrote that the charges were due to an oversight in using the city’s credit card for vehicle rental. She said she would repay the city along with any interest and/or finance charges as soon as she got a reimbursement check for her insurance company.

It was not immediately clear whether the rental company kept the card on file and continued to charge, but additional charges posted after an administrator’s initial conversation with Thomas.

Despite having to follow city policy and fire Thomas for this policy violation, city manager Jim Atkinson acknowledged the good work she has done over the years. He wrote in her letter of termination, “Your positive impact on the City of Lakeland is immeasurable. I appreciate your dedication to the City over the years and wish you all the best in the future.”

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to