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State investigating CareerSource Tampa Bay and Pinellas

Posted at 7:43 PM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 19:43:18-05

Florida's House Judiciary Chair, Chris Sprowls, called for a state investigation into CareerSource Tampa Bay and CareerSource Pinellas.

The agencies are supposed to help displaced workers get training and local jobs.

"We are going to be asking the questions. We are going to be seeking the documents," Sprowls says.

Edward Peachey, the president and CEO of both agencies, is accused of cooking the books, inflating the number of people they help get jobs; all in order to get tens of millions of your taxpayer money.

Sprowls and other legislators began voicing concerns following questions raised by a story in the Tampa Bay Times.

"I think what you're seeing is they made requests of these employers to give them the information of the new hires and then they took that information and took credit for it."

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has no record of CareerSource Pinellas sending his agency any potential job candidates for his review.

But that didn't stop the agency from reporting to the state that CarrerSource placed more than 600 sheriff's employees since 2014.

Sprowls spoke with the sheriff about his concerns.  "Some of those candidates, Jarrod, not only were not recruited by CareerSource Pinellas, but were recruited by the sheriff directly himself! So it's pretty disturbing."

The sheriff was unavailable for an interview but says in a statement:

"We recently identified what appear to be improprieties by career source and we immediately terminated our contract with that organization. We will now consider next steps including whether to refund monies paid to us for erroneous placements and whether any criminal laws have been violated."

Sprowls says the agencies received more than $30 million in taxpayer money.

"And if they're getting some of that money for taking credit for work they didn't even do, that's problematic and we need to address it immediately."

Sprowls believes Peachey should consider resigning. “If I were him, I would be considering that option,”

Peachey makes $440,000 per year running both agencies.

Now the state's House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee is investigating.

A request for Peachey's contract and documents has already been sent out.

See Speaker Richard Corcoran's letter here.