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The latest happenings in your city government.


Fire Chief Gary Ballard selected as the Second Vice President for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association (FFCA)


Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard has given the City of Lakeland one more reason to be proud. On July 24 Chief Ballard was selected as the Second Vice President for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association (FFCA). Having served as the West Central Regional Director for the FFCA in years past, Chief Ballard will now be able to share his 36+ years of experience in an expanded capacity with fire service leaders from all over Florida as Vice President.

This professional platform will allow Chief Ballard to showcase the excellent emergency services that the Lakeland Fire Department offers the people of Lakeland, as well as create additional networking opportunities that will add to the quality of the fire department’s services. 

The FFCA is made up of fire and emergency professionals from all ranks representing all regions of Florida. The association’s mission is to promote and support excellence in fire & emergency services. The association does so by recognizing the fields best and brightest, offering scholarships, fundraising for charity, and providing professional development. With Chief Ballard in this new leadership position, he will undoubtedly continue to expand those efforts.

Congratulations to Chief Ballard and sincere thanks for increasing the City of Lakeland’s presence throughout the state.


Notice of Disciplinary Action

On August 15, 2013, Lakeland Police finalized disciplinary action on Detective Ricky J. Gries. 

Detective Gries submitted a letter of resignation today. The resignation was in lieu of recommended termination. Chief Womack completed her review of all the relevant facts and evidence presented in the administrative investigation, including statements Detective Gries made under oath in conjunction with the State Attorney’s related investigation. The sustained violations are: 

Ricky J. Gries, 42, employed since 1/13/03. (Resigned) 

a. Conduct Unbecoming 
b. Member’s Duty to Report Misconduct 
c. Neglect of Duty 
d. Untruthfulness 

We are unable to provide any further information due to the ongoing internal investigation. 

 


CITY OF LAKELAND GENERAL EMPLOYEES DISCIPLINED FOR MISCONDUCT

CITY OF LAKELAND GENERAL EMPLOYEES DISCIPLINED FOR MISCONDUCT


view report / investigations of allegations by Sue Eberle 

 

LAKELAND, FL (August 15, 2013) – City Manager Doug Thomas announced today that the City of Lakeland has concluded an investigation of sexual misconduct allegations made by Sue Eberle that named six current non-sworn general employees. Based upon the results of the investigation, there is conclusive evidence that two of the six employees violated City of Lakeland policy and will receive recommended three-day suspensions without pay. 

 

On May 2, 2013, Thomas directed staff to have Lakeland Police Department (LPD) Office of Professional Standards take the lead on investigations involving all LPD sworn and civilian employees, including any Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) employees that may be subject to the Firefighter Bill of Rights, but all other General Employees would be reviewed by investigators from the Human Resources Department.  The Human Resources Investigators reported directly to the City Manager’s Office.  None of the employees named in the investigation supervised Eberle and none of them worked directly with her in the same Department at the time of the allegations.

 

Bryan Fluke, employed since January 1988 and currently a Maintenance Coordinator for Lakeland Electric, admitted to having a consensual relationship with Eberle while employed by the City.  This is substantiated by Eberle’s testimony which would indicate that the relationship commenced in the mid-1990.  Based on Fluke’s testimony, no inappropriate behavior took place at work or on City property.  However, Fluke did violate City email policy and he was untruthful in the investigation which is a policy violation for which he will receive a three-day suspension without pay.  Fluke’s only other disciplinary action involved a 1993 oral warning regarding a verbal dispute he had with another employee. 

 

Jose Diez, employed since February 2008 and currently an Information Technology Support Analyst III, admitted to more recent inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature with former LPD Crime Analyst Tiffany Dwyer outside a break room at the Lakeland Police Department.  Dwyer previously resigned on May 14, 2013 while under investigation.  Both Diez and Dwyer maintain that the conduct was consensual.  However, the conduct was inappropriate and it was a violation of City policy for which he will receive a three-day suspension without pay.  Diaz has no prior disciplinary actions.

 

Thomas stated “The City of Lakeland is clearly disappointed in the actions of Mr. Fluke and Mr. Diez that have been verified as violations of our Personnel Policies.  Their actions were clearly inappropriate and fall short of our organizational values that each and every employee is expected to reflect in their performance of their job responsibilities.”  

 

Other employees named within the investigation include:

 

Gary Gonyer, employed since September 1997 and currently a Traffic Control Foreman, admitted that he and Eberle had a consensual sexual relationship, but not on City time or on City property.  This information was substantiated by Eberle who stated that they had met offsite which is not a violation of City Policy.

 

Jerry Doss, employed since October 1980 is currently a Multicraft Operator, denied the allegations and there is not sufficient evidence to substantiate Eberle’s claims.

 

Shawn Maguire, employed since October 1988 and currently an Industrial Coatings Specialist, denied the allegation against him by Eberle and claimed he was physically incapable of performing the alleged act due to his recovery from  a serious work-related incident that left him in a full body cast and months of recovery as substantiated by workers compensation and medical records.

 

Dennis Herbert has been employed since July 2001 and he is currently a Safety Coordinator.  Eberle alleged that Hebert wanted to be more than co-workers which he denies.  The investigation failed to identify sufficient evidence to substantiate Eberle’s claim.

 

The investigation into the non-sworn general employees included two rounds of interviews with the named employees, a review of email records and  interviews with 15 current employees identified as co-workers and/or supervisors (who were possible witnesses of alleged inappropriate behavior) of the six named employees.  None of the 15 witness employees could substantiate Eberle’s specific allegations.  Also, the length of time that has lapsed between the conduct alleged and the interviews of the six named non-sworn employees affected their recall of the events as well as the ability to probe further given that some of the allegations date back to 1993.

 

-END-

 

 


Honoring Heroes Dinner and Silent Auction to Support LPD K-9 Team and Scholarship Fund

CONTACT:

 Michael Matlick

  Lakeland Citizens Police Academy

Alumni Association

 863.934.0710

Dinner and Silent Auction to Honor Heroes

 Proceeds Raised will benefit the Lakeland Police K-9 Unit and

 the LCPAAA Scholarship Fund

View Poster

 

LAKELAND, FL (August 13, 2013) – The Lakeland Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association (LCPAAA) in conjunction with the City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Department is hosting the “5th Annual Honoring Heroes BBQ Dinner and Silent Auction” at the Lake Mirror Complex on Saturday, September 7, 2013. The event, which is open to the public, will begin at 6:00 pm with the auction closing at 8:00 pm.  Tickets for the event are $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the upcoming First Friday Event or by calling (863) 934-0710.

While at the event, guests will enjoy a delicious barbecue dinner and have fun bidding on their favorite items in the silent auction. On the auction table will be something for everyone’s budget with items ranging from gift cards to local restaurants to vacation getaways. There will be opportunities to meet the K9 officers and their loyal partners. A photo booth will be available where guests can have their photo taken with a K9 and take home a free souvenir photo.

Thank you to our event sponsors:  My Pets Animal Hospital, Publix Charities, Mayor Gow Fields, Commissioner Howard Wiggs, Commissioner Justin Troller, SPHR Commissioner Don Selvage, Knights of Columbus Assembly 154, Hickory Hills Manor, Talbot House, Magnify Credit Union, GEICO, Richard Derk, CPA and Charlie Burdett. 

Donations Needed

Donation items are being sought for the silent auction. Those who would like to make a donation will have their name displayed at the silent auction as a donor and posted on the LCPAAA website. Once the auction has ended, donors will be notified by mail how much their item sold for so that information can be used for tax purposes. Limited table sponsorships are also available. 100% of the net proceeds will be donated to the Lakeland Police Department's K-9 unit and the LCPAAA scholarship fund.

LCPAAA is a volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which focuses on creating a better understanding and cooperation between local law enforcement and the community. If you have any questions or want to find out more about LCPAAA, call (86)398-1074 or visit us online at www.lcpaaahome.org