Sheriff accuses CareerSource of forging his signature for incentive pay

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri believes someone at CareerSource forged his signature. Now we’re learning the culprit may have been incentivized to do so.

“They forged my signature and they forged Evelyn Jones’ signature on those forms so that they could get credit, I guess for placing these people,” the sheriff said.

CareerSource has come under fire in recent months after they allegedly inflated their job placement numbers under CEO Ed Peachy. The embattled CEO attended a meeting Friday with board members who may decide his future. We caught up with Peachy as he as leaving the meeting. When we asked about the sheriff’s latest allegation, he said, “I’m not going to make any comments while the investigation is going on.”

The state is investigating after questions were raised about the job placement numbers the agency boasted.

A committee made up of board members of CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay is also looking into this.

“We’ve gone from a possible clerical error to a major, well this is a felony,” committee member Dick Peck said to the board at its meeting in Clearwater today.

The Ad hoc committee learned Mr. Peachey created a program where as many as 30 CareerSource employees receive an incentive payment for job placements.

CareerSource Pinellas claims they found Kina McPherson a job at the sheriff’s office.

According to Ms. McPherson, a detention deputy, she filled out paperwork at CareerSource, but the agency had nothing to do with her hiring.

According to Sheriff Gualtieri, McPherson is one of ten employees the company has falsely taken credit for placing at his agency.

“These were people that didn’t go through CareerSource, they came to us,” said the sheriff. “And this is the backward system.”

Mr. Peachey claims the signatures from the sheriff’s office were already on their contracts when he signed the “Training Outlines.”

“I assumed those were the signatures from the sheriff’s department. The sheriff’s department invoiced us based on those contracts, we made payments based on those contracts, so I don’t understand where the disconnect is on this,” said Mr. Peachey.

So, does incentive pay for job placements lead to exaggerated numbers? Members of the Ad hoc committee looking at CareerSource hope the Inspector General of the Office of Employment Opportunity will make that determination.

In the meantime, Mr. Peachy has yet to be suspended.

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