TAMPA — Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean announced the suspensions Thursday of three employees suspected of selling parts from firefighting vehicles for scrap and pocketing the money.
The three, who will be paid during their indefinite suspensions, include a supervisor who is a 22-year employee of the county. Each worked in the county Fire-Rescue fleet maintenance shop on 78th Street in Tampa.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed to say we have that sort of thing going on," Bean said.
Bean said the allegations were raised by a whistle-blower she left unnamed. She said assistant chief of administration Ron Rogers was placed over the shop last year and also found irregularities.
Chief Bill Nesmith said Rogers noticed that there didn't appear to be a proper accounting system for parts that come in and out of the shop. Investigators with Bean's professional responsibility section started looking into the matter in April, and now the Sheriff's Office is also involved.
Bean said during a Thursday news conference that the investigations are ongoing, but she had heard enough to believe the employees needed to be removed. None of the alleged actions by the employees is believed to have posed a safety concern.
The employees in question are senior equipment repair supervisor Jack Holley, who makes $66,227; mechanic Bob Hall, who makes $39,249 and who has worked for the county for two years; and trades helper Tim Cohee, who makes $20,592 and has been on the job a little more than a year.
Attempts to reach each of them Thursday were not successful.
Bill Varian can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3387.