HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Florida – Tampa Bay’s largest workforce chief is under fire again following a series of reports detailing both his inflated pay and inflated job-placement numbers. And the School District of Hillsborough County has unwillingly contributed to the misleading numbers.

Ed Peachey and the organizations he is CEO of, CareerSource Tampa Bay (Hillsborough) and CareerSource Pinellas, are under investigation by the state’s inspector general following a series of Tampa Bay Times stories detailing what appears to be misleading claims and possible mismanagement of funds.

Tasked with putting Tampa Bay residents back to work and training others so they can advance in their careers, the two jobs 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: all the way to $464,000 in 2016, according to the Times.

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.

The Hillsborough County School District is the county’s largest employer and told 10Investigates via email Wednesday, “It does appear there are some names on the list that should not be on the list but we have not set out to audit the entire list. We understand Career Source is credited when they place candidates with employers and those candidates are then hired. We did not know to the extent they were taking credit for candidates hired.”

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office severed ties with CareerSource Pinellas earlier this week over inflated job-placement claims.

Find 10Investigates' Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Send your story tips confidentially to npransky@wtsp.com.

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