Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Suisun police investigated for alleged misuse of funds

From Daily Republic // Oct. 4, 2005
By Ian Thompson

FAIRFIELD - Suisun City is investigating allegations that state grant money was used to pay officers for painting two rooms in the Suisun City Police Department - not for what the money was intended.

Neither Police Chief Ron Forsythe nor City Hall would discuss the specifics of the allegations, which were made to the California Department of Boating and Waterways a month ago.

"I have been directed not to discuss it," Forsythe said.

Suisun City Manager Suzanne Bragdon said only that "we are looking into it at this time."

The grant money in question was supposed to be used to pay officers for patrolling the waterways in and around Suisun City as well to purchase equipment.

The alleged misuse in late 2004 and early 2005 involves two officers - who were assigned to boating enforcement patrol - being told to paint two rooms at the police station and being paid for their time with grant funds.

Forsythe earlier denied misusing the state funds and said he only found out after the fact that the officers painted the room while on city time and while receiving overtime compensation from grant money from the Department of Boating and Waterways.

He said the two officers volunteered to paint the rooms to raise morale after it was determined the rooms looked bad because of paint peeling from the walls.

The police chief also earlier said when he found out about what happened, he directed the time spent painting be charged to their regular salaries.

Forsythe is sure he will survive the audit and the city investigation.

"I look forward to the city completing its investigation and I am confident that it won't show any misconduct," he said.

The Department of Boating and Waterways representatives visited the department last week and conducted an audit, the results of which have not been released.

A spokeswoman for the state department is still waiting to get the findings from a consultant who handled the audit and said the state can't comment on the allegations until they see the audit's findings.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at ithompson@dailyrepublic.net.

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