I-Team: Officials want to know who told FHP that their patrol's hurricane aid wasn't needed

Hernando County officials will conduct a probe
Posted at 7:10 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 19:10:54-04

They were all lined up to help. A special Hurricane Irma response team, including Florida Highway Patrol troopers, were waiting earlier this week to go into Hernando County.

There was just one problem. Troopers say a county public works employee refused their assistance.

The reason, according to the troopers, was the help would cut into the overtime pay that county workers were hoping to rack up.

Craig Giera, a Hernando resident and retired firefighter, couldn't believe it.

"You kidding me? Who would do something like that?" Giera told the ABC Action News I-Team. "I think whoever said that needs to be disciplined." 

The county still has thousands without power, with trees and wires down.

An FHP trooper posted this on Facebook:

"I have been involved in many duties and my assistance has never been refused anywhere."

The trooper added that there were 40 of his FHP colleagues, armed with chainsaws and heavy equipment, ready to help. "Sad,” the trooper wrote.

The patrol confirms everything in the post was true.

A concerned Hernando County Administrator Leonard Sossamon says he is launching an internal investigation.

"We’re gonna have to find out who the individual was," Sossamon said.

Possible discipline could include termination, he added.

The administrator says whoever declined the FHP's offer wasn't acting in an official capacity.

Sossamon says he has cleared up things with the patrol.


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