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City of Tallahassee Used Police Department For “Work Up” On City Employee

Posted on January 5, 2016

City of Tallahassee Used Police Department For “Work Up” On City Employee

On May 8, 2013, then Assistant City Manager Tom Coe requested that Jessica Dunk-Miller of the TPD Criminal Intelligence Unit complete a “work up” on TFD engineer Mark DeCarlo.

Ms. Dunk-Miller wrote in an email to a colleague:

“I received a request a few minutes ago from DC John Gatlin on behalf of Tom Coe requesting a work up on TFD Engineer Mark DeCarlo. DeCarlo was sent home this morning for insubordination after refusing to attend a meeting. I’m working on the request now and will CC you when it’s complete.”

TR has learned that a “work-up” is a background check that can include the use of state and federal law enforcement databases. TR was told by law enforcement officials that the misuse of access to this information can result in dismissal and possible criminal prosecution.

On May 9, 2013, then Police Chief Dennis Jones requested a hold on the “work up” through City employee Lewis Johnson.

When informed by Lt. Steven Slade that the “work up” had already been completed, Mr. Johnson replied via email that “this has stirred up quite a hornets nest upstairs.”

Mr. DeCarlo was officially dismissed after July 8th, 2013 and is currently suing the City of Tallahassee in federal court. See our previous report here.

One of DeCarlo’s claims is that City management tried to intimidate him because he was revealing problems within the Tallahassee Fire Department.

Why the Work Up?

On April 29th, 2013, Mr. DeCarlo sent an email to all City Commissioners and City Manager Anita Favors-Thompson. The email documented inventory and equipment issues within the Tallahassee Fire Department.

Emails show Mr. DeCarlo’s communication with the City Commissioners did not sit well with Fire Chief Cindy Dick. She wrote in an email to Assistant City Manager Tom Coe on April 30th, 2013:

“The accusations are vague, non-specific and repetitive. I take great exception to this and certainly hope that the city policies and procedures will serve to protect those impacted by these negative and false allegations.”

After the above email, Tom Coe met with Cassandra Jackson in the City Attorney’s office to discuss Mr. DeCarlo’s communications with the City Commissioners.

After the meeting, on May 2, 2013,  Ms. Jackson in an email to Lew Shelly, the City Attorney, wrote  “I do not think the CAO (City Attorney’s Office) should recommend action toward Mr. DeCarlo in any way beyond telling him to submit his requests to the City Manager…”

The “work up” was requested by Mr. Coe four business days later.

Mr. DeCarlo claims that the City broke the law by searching state and federal databases for information without a  legal basis. In fact, DeCarlo claims the City was fishing for information to use against him.

The federal trial is scheduled to begin February 22, 2016.

14 Responses to City of Tallahassee Used Police Department For “Work Up” On City Employee

  1. Vic Aderhold

    Vic Aderhold Reply

    January 6, 2016 at 8:06 am

    How many millions of dollars has our City paid out in law suits because someone did something stupid.

    • BEC Reply

      January 6, 2016 at 9:37 am

      It’s no problem for the city. They are just going to use the “millions” they overcharge us every year.

      But at least Nancy Miller will be able to continue to pay her Comcast bill!

  2. Hope & Change Reply

    January 6, 2016 at 8:37 am

    At least they did not hire a “Private Investigator”!

  3. No Hope Reply

    January 6, 2016 at 9:43 am

    FYI…Ms. Dunk is Chief Deleo’s current girlfriend.

    • Hope Reply

      January 7, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      …and this has what to do with the price of rice…???

  4. Franklin Thompson Reply

    January 7, 2016 at 9:14 am

    How soon after this ‘dust up’ did Cindy Dick retire…???

  5. Mike Reply

    January 7, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Let’s hope that the criminal prosecution penalties for misuse of the databases will be applied to city personnel in this case.
    Look for the higher-ups to try to throw a subordinate under the bus so none of them get tagged for this.
    If I was a subordinate city employee involved in this, I’d keep a very meticulous digital and paper record of who exactly ordered me to do something and when – your upper-level bosses will certainly be happy to see one of you take the fall for them. Hope you city employees are reading this, for your own sake. There is no obfuscation or anonymity available on a courtroom stand.

  6. brad Reply

    January 7, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    This is common practice for the city to use their resources to have people fired or politically pushed out in both the private sector as well as government positions! Believe me I know and oh yeah Leon County has done the same. It is just the liberal democrat way of our city if you challenge or disagree we will ruin you or try anyway.

    • News Maven Reply

      January 10, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      It used to work exactly like that at the local rag too, Brad. Under the destructive decision-making of judge, jury and executioner Bob Gabordick, the paper lost over 80% of its full-time newsroom employees.

  7. Frank Reply

    January 7, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Considering the representatives of the city of Tallahassee that are involved here it does not surprise me that this type of illegal investigation has taken place. I am sure that upon further review by a competent outside investigator/ agency would find that City Managers have used this course of action before. Like most other crimes committed by members of city hall this will be swept under the proverbial rug.

  8. Karen Reply

    January 14, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    I’m a Liberal Democrat & I was bullied as a City Employee — there is no anti-intimidation policy at the City of Tallahassee — they only enforce violations of federal labor laws. I have colleagues who are both Liberal Democrats AND victims of *truly outrageous* behavior by COT management — med- and high-level. I’m not entirely sure “Liberal Democrat” has anything to do with it.

  9. Mark DeCarlo Reply

    January 22, 2016 at 12:00 am

    The Federal trial against the City of Tallahassee
    is scheduled to start on 22 February, 2016. The
    first day will start with jury selection and will then proceed to questioning witnesses if there is
    any time left that day. The trial will be held in
    the Federal Court building down town. You can show
    your support for a firefighter/Iraq & Afghanistan Vet looking out for public safety and your tax dollars by attending the trial and getting
    as many others to attend as possible. The lawsuit is Mark DeCarlo Vs City of Tallahassee.
    THANKS

  10. Mark Reply

    February 9, 2016 at 3:54 am

    I hope TALLAHASSEE REPORTS keeps up their long
    tradition of printing the facts while other local media groups have become nothing more than cheerleaders.
    The trial of Mark DeCarlo vs City of Tallahassee
    may be delayed due actions by the City Defense Attorney.
    If you were planning to attend, call the FEDERAL CLERK OF COURT FIRST.
    Your support is appreciated. You may be VERY surprised of how the City government has been run
    for years. This IS a case of David vs Goliath!

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