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Relationship leads to job change for official

Capt. John Bolle, commander of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in Dunedin, has acknowledged having a personal relationship with the city employee responsible for monitoring the sheriff's services in the city.

As a result of the relationship and a planned reorganization of her department, Dunedin human resources director Sue Davis has been relieved of her job as monitor of the sheriff's contract with the city.

Davis' supervisor, City Administrator Maureen Freaney, is now the contract liaison.

Davis monitored sheriff's operations in Dunedin the past two years. Part of that work was to ensure the city got the contract services it paid for. She asked about a month ago to be relieved of the responsibility, Freaney said.

Bolle, 51, said Davis, 37, asked for the change because she and he are involved in what he called a personal relationship.

"Sue Davis and I, well . . . have not, did not have an affair," Bolle said. "We have had a professional relationship that has turned into a personal relationship."

Davis did not return calls for comment. Bolle refused to discuss when the personal relationship began and insisted it did not affect his or Davis' job.

"There never has been any compromising," Bolle said. "We have never confused our personal relationship with our professional duties. At the point we felt there would be a conflict, she asked to be relieved of her duties. She did it freely and voluntarily to eliminate any perception of conflict."

Dunedin City Manager John Lawrence said he saw no conflict in the relationship.

"It's strictly a personal thing," Lawrence said. "As long as it doesn't affect our relationship with the Sheriff's Office, I see no problem."

Dunedin contracted with the Sheriff's Office for police protection in 1995. Sheriff Everett Rice assigned Bolle, a 24-year veteran, to command operations in Dunedin and North Pinellas.

Rice said he became aware of Bolle's relationship with Davis after she gave up her contract liaison duties. Rice said that any potential conflict was resolved by her action.

"I have no reason to believe there was a conflict," he said. "Certainly it was avoided by asking the city for a change. They took care of it. They are both very professional people in my mind."

An issue that is not resolved is an Internal Affairs investigation into a reported domestic dispute involving Bolle and his wife.

"When our relationship got serious, Sue Davis and I went to our spouses," Bolle said. "We left our spouses. There was no adulterous relationship."

Bolle was moving items from his house April 9 when an argument developed between him and his wife of 14 years, Patricia Bolle.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha said officials are investigating the circumstances of that incident and whether or not a deputy who works for Bolle filed a report as required. Bolle refused to discuss the incident because of the investigation.

"My husband is a good man and has worked very hard for the Sheriff's Office," Mrs. Bolle said Wednesday, declining further comment citing concern for her family.

Mrs. Bolle filed a divorce petition April 13, saying she and her husband separated April 9 and alleging he "has been involved in an adulterous affair," court records show. In his counter petition, Bolle denied having an affair.