CareerSource Tampa Bay CEO Ed Peachey suspended without pay

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — CareerSource Tampa Bay suspended CEO Ed Peachey Friday without pay.

Peachey said he’s not ready to resign.

“Until something comes back with some kind of solid findings I’ve done things wrong, I don’t feel it would appropriate for me to resign and I don’t feel I’ve done anything wrong,” Peachey said.

The controversy over Peachey’s leadership of CareerSource Pinellas and Hillsborough job agencies has been building all week.

Thursday, the job agency he runs in Pinellas suspended him with pay and Friday, Hillsborough forced him to step down without pay until investigations conclude.

“These are very very serious allegations, especially the potential misuse of federal dollars and we need to take the most serious action,” said board member and Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman.

So why all the fuss?

It turns out that for a number of years both job agencies under Peachey’s leadership have been claiming credit for job placements they had nothing to do with placing. Peachey insists he’s simply following the state’s rule book, but state leaders from the governor on down aren’t so sure.

Friday, the U.S. Secretary of Labor, H. Alexander Acosta, announced he’s calling for an Inspector General’s investigation and left open the possibility of a referral to the Dept. of Justice.

“We’re going to have to see how that works out,” Peachey said. “But there’s no criminal acts going on here.”

The Inspector General of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity launched an investigation two weeks ago that is still underway and a state House committee is also digging around.

Tiffany Vause, the Director of Communications and External Affairs at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, released the following statement:

“The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity welcomes the opportunity to coordinate with the US Department of Labor and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as a part of the investigation of CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay.  Protecting the taxpayers’ dollars and ensuring transparency and accountability in the workforce system is our highest priority.”

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is fuming over CareerSource Pinellas’ claim of placing more than 600 workers in his agency.  Gualtieri says the real number of job placements is zero and he’s called the CareerSource job claims a “scam.”

The FDLE is reviewing the matter and so is Pinellas State Attorney Bernie McCabe.

Peachey says after years of success, his sudden downfall in the public eye is starting to take a toll on him.

“I don’t sleep. I don’t eat. It’s like it would affect anyone else. I take it personal,” he said.

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