• Starke officers accused of receiving police pay while working security

    By: Russell Colburn , Action News Jax


    The city of Starke is investigating claims of officers double-dipping by billing taxpayers while off-duty at a second job.

    The contract between the Vystar Credit Union and the Starke Police Department states officers are paid $25 per hour for security, and are "performing off-duty secondary employment."

    It says if the officers are pulled away for a call they "will not be compensated by Vystar," providing a clear distinction between on and off-duty status.

    A time card entry for police Chief Jeff Johnson, who's running for re-election next week, shows on October 18, 2016, he clocked in at Vystar before 9 a.m., and he would clock out after 5 p.m.

    But a duplicate entry for Johnson’s time sheet with the city states he was on duty from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. that same day.

    Records obtained by Action News Jax show Johnson allegedly did this four more times from October to December of last year.

    Monday, Johnson's office said he was out of town. Because this is an open investigation, they referred us to Bob Milner, the city manager.

    “My recommendation is going to be to the city commission that we give it to an outside, out-of-county auditing firm that currently has nothing to do with the city of Starke, and we'll let them conduct a thorough and independent investigation,” Milner said.

    Milner could not say how many officers are allegedly involved, but said that the CPA recommendation will come next week.

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