Gas theft accusation is unfounded

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By Jeff M. Hardison

An allegation from Chiefland Mayor M. Teal Pomeroy that a city employee, possibly a police officer, was stealing gasoline from the city has proved to be absolutely unfounded, according to an investigation by the Levy County Sheriff's Office.

The mayor is keeping mum on the source that led him to make the allegation.

LCSO Lt. Evan Sullivan investigated whether gasoline was taken by any city employee when Pomeroy told Chiefland Police Chief Robert Douglas about this alleged theft.

"A citizen" allegedly told Pomeroy that the theft was occurring, Sullivan said. When asked who made the unfounded allegation to the him, Pomeroy said, "No comment."

Sullivan's investigation of the allegation was very thorough.

"I went back three months and checked every day," Sullivan said. "I checked every single employees. There was no discrepancy in gas consumption."

Sullivan spoke with City Manager Grady Hartzog Sr., who conducted an independent review as well. They concurred there was no gasoline stolen.

"The city of Chiefland's computerized system for gasoline is extremely secure," Sullivan said. "I found lots of checks and balances. Gas consumption by each employee is printed daily. If there is an incorrect odometer number entered, the employee cannot get gas. If the odometer reading is over on mileage, the vehicle has to get maintenance before it can get gas."

Sullivan said the accusation from Pomeroy was vague, with no date or amount of gasoline, and no specific employee was named, although there had been mention of it possibly being a police officer. Since Douglas is among the people who are in the Chiefland Police Department, Sullivan said he felt it was wise of the chief to turn the investigation over to the LCSO.

When Pomeroy was asked why he would not name the person who made the allegation, which has been proved to be false, the mayor again said, "No comment."