CareerSource Tampa Bay, Pinellas CEO fired

- A damaged reputation and loss of community trust.  Those are just some of the reasons the embattled CEO of CareerSource Tampa Bay, Ed Peachey, was fired Monday.

Since last month, Peachey has been at the center of federal, state and local investigations.  The head of CareerSource Tampa Bay and CareerSource Pinellas is accused of cooking the books, inflating the number of people the agency has helped get jobs.

Monday, it was his job that was on the line.

"Nobody has alleged that anybody lined their pockets, that anybody misspent any money whatsoever,” said Marion Hale, Peachey’s Attorney.  “And yet this man stands waiting to be stripped of his livelihood and his career."

So far, there's no proof that Peachey broke any laws.  However, Monday the Department of Economic Opportunity sent a letter saying there is "reasonable suspicion of potential criminal activity."

Something Hillsborough County Commissioner, Sandy Murman says is very serious.

"There's a couple of words in there that stick out if you read it, criminal activity, fraudulent activity, different things," she said.

Just last week, CareerSource fired their Tampa Bay Business Manager after receiving anonymous allegations the she was romantically involved with Peachey, he had hired several of her relatives, and Peachey signed off on raises for the top administrator.

The CareerSource Tampa Bay Executive Committee called Monday’s emergency meeting to discuss terms of Peachey’s departure.  In the end, board members agreed Peachey had to go for the sake of the organization, regardless if they think the allegations are true or not.

"I think that it's clear for everybody in this room that Mr. Peachey needs to be terminated because he was the CEO,” Betsy Irizarry said.  “There is a perception and we need to move forward."

After two failed motions, the board voted 6-1 to fire Peachey.  He will also receive back-pay for the time he's been suspended without a paycheck, and will get five-months of severance pay.

Murman was the only member to vote against firing Peachey, because she had concerns about paying him severance.

"Just want ya'll to know how serious this action is to give severance before we know finally what the outcomes of the investigations are," the Executive Committee Vice Chair said.

Peachey also faces losing his position as President and CEO of the Pinellas CareerSource location.  Board members are set to make a decision at their meeting on Wednesday.

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