CareerSource CEO suspended in Hillsborough Co.

- He takes home nearly $300,000 of taxpayer money each year to run CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. 

But CEO Ed Peachey is accused of cooking the books and inflating the numbers of people placed in jobs by the agencies. 

More lawmakers are calling for an investigation to find out if the job placement numbers were properly reported under Peachey's watch, and Friday, leaders in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties took action, suspending him on one side of the bay.

"I would like to make a motion to suspend the CEO, Executive Director while the investigation is going on, and not have contact with employees"

In a unanimous decision, the Hillsborough County Commissioners recommended CareerSource Tampa Bay President and CEO, Ed Peachey, be suspended without pay.  A move that allows CareerSource Executive Board member, Sandy Murman to push for his removal at their Friday meeting.

"These are serious, serious issues,” Murman said.  “They cannot be taken lightly as clerical, they have to be investigated and found out."

Peachey is under fire for possibly boosting job placement numbers at both the Pinellas and Tampa Bay branches he runs.

The taxpayer-funded agency is now at the center of local, state and federal investigations.          

Peachey is accused of taking credit for landing people work that CareerSource actually had nothing to do with, including more than 600 positions at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.  Last week, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri weighed in on the claims.

"I think it's a scam," he said.

Peachey spoke out for the first time Wednesday at an emergency meeting for the CareerSource Pinellas Board of Directors, saying his reporting is by the books and he has no intention of stepping down.

"People are working enormous amounts of hours and burdened with a lot of stress, and for me to not be there, to not help them would be a major disappointment," said Peachey.

The Pinellas Board decided to form a committee to look into the allegations of wrong-doing.  But then Thursday afternoon, the board chair sent a letter to county officials saying Peachey is suspended with pay while the investigation is completed.

“At least there’s consensus between the two governing bodies, that’s a good thing,” said Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard.  “You know I think we understand our responsibility to the public, I’m not so sure these boards do.”

"We want to see change, we want to make sure that this agency has the confidence of people that are going in there getting jobs, and that this agency operates with integrity and honesty and transparency," Murman said.

The CareerSource Executive Board for Hillsborough County meets Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Those board members hold the power to remove leaders, not the County Commissioners.  However, Federal law does make the county liable for any misspent taxpayer dollars.

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