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12-099 Three Deputies And One Sergeant Fired Based On Sustained Charges Of Excessive Loafing and Idling

Deputy Kenneth L. Burroughs
Hired: 10/1/96
Age: 42
Idling and loafing during July 1 – December 31 amounted to 172 instances, for a total of 285 hours, or 35/8-hour work days of inactivity. At his base pay rate – $27.3934 per hour – that amounts to $7,807.11 the taxpayers lost.

Deputy Robert G. Harmer
Hired: 6/10/90
Age: 42
Idling and loafing time totaled 180 instances, amounting to over 251 hours, or 31/8-hour work days of inactivity on the job. The taxpayers lost $7,853.48, based on the base pay of $31.2888 per hour.

Deputy Samuel Mitchem
Hired: 5/2/94
Age: 42
Idling and loafing time totaled 212 instances, amounting to over 314 hours, or 39/8 hour work days. The taxpayers lost $9, 002.34 based on his base pay of $28.6699 per hour.

Sergeant Christopher W. Metro
Hire: 1/13/91
Age: 43
Failure to supervise squad members (including Burroughs and Mitchem), neglecting supervisory responsibilities, failure to use available technology and other tools to monitor staff activities, leaving his area of assignment and idling, going to personal residence, 10 instances in all of idling of at least one hour each, having knowledge of the deputies’ idling and failure to act. Admitted to watching a movie while on duty.

Deputy Brian T. Clark
Hired:  4/27/98
Age: 40
Suspended for 1 day for lack of self initiated activity, about 4 instances of idling.

Robert J. Wojciechowski
Hired: 12/1/86
Age: 46
2 day suspension – Lack of self initiated activity, failure to have GPS repaired, about 4 instances of idling.

Deputy Gregory C. Burnham
Hired: 9/7/04
Age: 41
Allegations against Deputy Burnham were unsubstantiated.

What:  Today Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has announced the termination of three law enforcement deputies and one law enforcement Sergeant for failure to work during their assigned shifts, a violation of the agency’s General Orders and policy.

The excessive inactivity was documented when it occurred for more than one hour.

The Sheriff says the deputies intentionally concealed their cruisers, they disconnected their agency required GPS, and left their assigned areas in order to go home, visit family, or idle in other locations. They responded to calls if dispatched, but did not initiate any law enforcement action for hours at a time. One even watched a movie while working.

According to Sheriff Gualtieri – “These deputies by their intentional actions essentially cheated the taxpayers out of well over $24,600 during the time of the investigation – which was from July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. We believe our findings are a snapshot of what was going on for a longer period of time. This is behavior that will not be tolerated, and they are being held accountable.”

Two other deputies received suspensions.

A seventh deputy was named in the original investigation, but the charges against him were unsubstantiated.

Where:  The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

When:  The terminations and disciplines occurred today, May 1, 2012


In an excerpt from a message to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office members today about the terminations, Sheriff Gualtieri said:

“Although public safety is always our first consideration, the taxpayers of Pinellas County deserve to know that their tax dollars, which are our salaries, are earned by each of us every day through the provision of effective law enforcement services.

Through this adversity, I remain proud of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and it members and recognize that the misconduct by these deputies is inconsistent with the fine work performed daily by the majority of the 2,800 members of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.”                         



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