COJ Worker Investigated for Second Job | News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Some days it started early. At 9:11 a.m., there was a scan.
At 10:20 a.m., there was an email. Other emails followed at 10:32, 10:36, 11:22 and 11:28 a.m.
In all, at least ten emails were sent just on October 27, 2011, alone.
On the surface, it doesn't appear to be a big deal, except the emails are from a city of Jacksonville worker, on the clock for our city, but also being paid to do work for another county.
"I found out from the letter," said Howard Maltz, General Counsel for the city of Jacksonville.
Maltz said he found out about the employee's second job and ended it when he got a letter from an Orlando attorney wondering why a Jacksonville worker's compensation adjuster, by the name of Mike Martin, was concerned about a Volusia county worker's comp case.
"How is Mike Martin being involved in Volusia County cases when he supposed to be handling city of Jacksonville cases. When is he doing this? And from what I can tell from the emails is he's doing this during the time he should be handling the COJ cases," said James Spears.
Spears is the Orlando attorney who tipped off Jacksonville to the problem.
Spears said he found out Martin was working on Volusia cases by accident, when an email between the Volusia County attorney and Martin was inadvertently sent to him.
"In my opinion, it would seem the people of Jacksonville are not getting taken care of appropriately because too much time is being spent on handling Volusia County cases," said Spears.
Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron confirms Mike Martin was hired by Volusia as a consultant in September 2011.
His last day was Dec. 7, 2011, after the city of Jacksonville told Martin to stop the work.
"It might potentially raise an issue under the Florida constitution, working for two state entities," said Maltz.
Martin worked for Volusia for about three months. Volusia County records show he sent 741 emails in that time.
He turned in 277 invoices for work and was paid more than $10,000.
First Coast News requested the emails and invoices.
Volusia County turned over all of the invoices and some of the emails. We are still waiting on the rest.
The emails we do have show Martin emailed Volusia on at least 46 work days in three months, while also being on the clock for the city of Jacksonville.
Invoices show Martin billed Volusia for 46 days of work. Twenty-nine of those days, Martin's time cards show he was at work for either most or all of the day.
When asked if Martin's city duties were affected by the second job, Maltz answered, "I don't think they were affected. I think there was the potential."
Maltz was the acting Risk Manager and Martin's boss at the time he was working for Volusia.
We showed Maltz how on a number of days, Martin was at work in Jacksonville all day, but emailing Volusia and getting paid by both governments.
On October 7, 2011, the records we do have, show Martin worked on four Volusia cases. On November 15, 2011, he worked on 13 cases. And on November 21, 2011, he worked on another 10 cases.
"I don't know whether or not he used COJ computers," said Maltz.
The email records show a handful of emails from his city account. Most are from a gmail address.
The documents also show that on at least seven different days, from September to December, Martin used a city of Jacksonville scanner and then sent the scan via his city email to his gmail account, which was then forwarded on to Volusia.
Maltz said there is a need for an investigation. "I'd like to see what you have and ask that somebody follow up with it."
While Maltz and Volusia say Martin was just a consultant for cases, one Volusia employee, in an email, stated he is her supervisor.
"I'm less concerned about exactly what he's doing as opposed to the fact it may be happening during city time, using city resources and that's something, if you have that material, we would like to see," said Maltz.
Volusia County's risk manager did not respond to our requests for an interview. He is Charles Spencer, the former risk manager for the city of Jacksonville.
Spencer's wife told us she would pass along a message to him that we were trying to reach him. He didn't get back with us.
Volusia County's spokesman did. He told us Spencer would not be talking.
So, the question is did Jacksonville taxpayers get what they paid for? "There's absolutely nothing that we saw that cases were being delayed," said Maltz.
Maltz said there's no need to review Jacksonville cases to make sure work was completed because Maltz said the city has a series of checks and balances in place.
"If I use city equipment to do another job, I get in trouble for it. In fact, if I do anything with city equipment, and I don't report it to secondary employment, I can be terminated or suspended," said a JSO officer who would only speak on condition of anonymity.
The officer is worried he will be fired if anyone finds out who he is. He has high blood pressure, which he said is due to his stressful job. But he's having trouble getting the medical bills paid for by the city. His worker's comp claim was also handled by Mike Martin.
"Maybe I wouldn't have all the problems I do if he was focused more on mine and other city employees stuff," said the officer.
The Volusia records raise another question: if Martin was ordered to end his relationship with Volusia on Dec. 8, then why do invoice records note he was paid for work done on Dec. 13 and 16?
"That is troubling to me, and I would like to see that information," said Maltz.
As for whether the case work for Volusia was actually done on city time, we don't know for sure. Martin declined our interview request.
But it is something city hall is now looking into. "When the city employees come here and are being paid for eight hours of work, we expect eight hours of work. And if that is not happening, that's a concern and that's something we would address," said Maltz.
Coming up Tuesday at 11 p.m. on First Coast News, the letter that started our investigation sparks the possibility of other investigations, including insurance fraud. We will show you what is in the letter that has some upset.