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City Manager: South Miami Police Chief Terminated

SOUTH MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The South Miami Police Department has a new acting police chief. According to South Miami City Manager Steven Alexander, Orlando Martinez de Castro was terminated Wednesday night and Major Rene Landa was named Acting Chief.

It's not known if the power switch had anything to do with plans by Martinez de Castro to file a lawsuit against the city.

According to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald, Martinez de Castro alleged that city Commissioner Bob Welsh violated and invaded his right to privacy by publically disclosing private information.

According to the Herald, the complaint stems from a January City Commission meeting in which Welsh asked City Attorney Thomas Pepe if the commission had to approve loans to employees greater than $5,000. Pepe replied that he did not know of a case where the city had loaned money to employees, and asked what the commissioner was referring to. Welsh said "the bariatric surgery of the police chief."

In addition to invasion of privacy, the complaint also says that the city, because it loaned the chief money for the surgery, became like a healthcare provider or insurer, and therefore owed him a duty to keep his medical information private.

The Herald reported Martinez de Castro borrowed about $10,000 in 2012 from the city to cover part of the cost of the surgery, which he has been paying the city back in installments.

Under the city's personnel rules and regulations, city employees can qualify for a loan for bariatric surgery if they meet certain conditions. Repayment of the loan is made through a payroll deduction over a maximum of four years, though the remaining balance is due when employment ends.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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