TAMPA, Florida – The Hillsborough County Commission has called for the permanent removal of the region’s top jobs chief, CareerSource Tampa Bay CEO Ed Peachey. And if he isn’t removed at the agency’s next meeting on Mar. 8, the county may move to remove board members or even funding from the agency.
10Investigates has reported since 2012 on squandered tax funds and agency mismanagement and at both CareerSource Tampa Bay and CareerSource Pinellas under Peachey’s watch. But additional reporting by the Tampa Bay Times regarding inflated job-claim numbers has led to a federal investigation and Peachey’s suspension from both agencies he oversees.
On Wednesday, Hillsborough County Commission Chair and CareerSource board member Sandy Murman told her fellow commissioners the agency’s records have been subpoenaed by federal investigators and “its time to get this thing back on-course.”
By a 6-0 vote, commissioners agreed to send a letter to the CareerSource Tampa Bay board, demanding Peachey’s resignation or firing. And Murman said if he is not removed promptly, Hillsborough may seek options to separate from its agreement with Pinellas.
Tasked with putting Tampa Bay residents back to work and training others so they can advance in their careers, the two CareerSource agencies receive both county and federal tax dollars. But after Peachey was named CEO of both, in an effort to save money and consolidate following agency spending scandals, he started recommending significant salary increases for himself.
10Investigates also identified problems in 2012 and 2013 with the agency turning over public records as well as awarding lucrative training contracts to a well-connected company that lacked the proper credentials and accreditation.
But when the issues were brought to the elected and business leaders tasked with oversight of the agency, few seemed to care and Peachey’s pay continued to soar.
10Investigates also brought concerns to the School District of Hillsborough County about CareerSource taking credit for job placements they had nothing to do with in 2013, but the district did not investigate. When contacted by reporters, most recently-hired teachers said they had never heard of CareerSource, even though the agency claimed they helped the teachers land their jobs with the district.
The job-placement numbers are important because the state’s job agencies are graded and ranked by the governor’s office, and funding can be influenced by the number of individuals the agencies help.