Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says he fired his supervisor of patrol operations Thursday morning after learning the man had been having an affair with the wife of a sergeant who worked under his command.
Gualtieri said he fired Maj. Tim Pelella about 10 a.m., less than two hours after he was informed of the situation.
"Having sexual relations with another cop's wife is egregious. ... I think it's ethically bankrupt," Gualtieri said in an interview. It's especially wrong because Pelella supervised the husband of the woman he was having an affair with, Gualtieri said. The woman also is a sheriff's employee, a civilian.
To make matters worse, Gualtieri said Pelella had lied about the relationship. He said rumors surfaced late last year, and he confronted Pelella about them. But Pelella denied the relationship.
Overall, Gualtieri said he was "disgusted" by the situation. "I think he's let me down and let the agency down."
Gualtieri was equally blunt in an email he sent to employees.
"I have not and will not tolerate such reprehensible conduct by any agency members, especially a Major and member of the command Staff." But he urged his staff to "move on and concentrate on the important business matters of our agency."
Pelella had worked for the Sheriff's Office for more than 25 years, and served in an important role, over the patrol deputies. Gualtieri said he was in "a crucial position. He oversees the entire patrol operations bureau."
Pelella could not be reached for comment.
Capt. Glenn Luben was appointed as acting commander of patrol operations.