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Brooksville police chief to retire at end of this year

Despite a consultant's scathing report, the city lacks enough evidence to pursue charges against him.

By BARBARA BEHRENDT
Published April 5, 2007


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BROOKSVILLE - Brooksville will not take action against longtime police Chief Ed Tincher, but will allow him instead to retire at the end of this year.

On leave from the city since February while a consultant looked into a host of alleged misdeeds within his department, Tincher will remain on unpaid leave until his retirement, according to a settlement reached this week with acting City Manager Steve Baumgartner.

Although the consultant produced a scathing report about operations within the agency, the city has agreed to set those findings aside. Instead, there will be a memo placed in Tincher's file stating that he was an asset to Brooksville.

The memo states that there was a lack of evidence to pursue charges against Tincher, according to Tincher's attorney, Ronald Freeman.

Tincher was placed on paid leave in February and on unpaid leave several weeks later. Consultant Jim Farley's 27-page report, released in late March, blasted the chief, saying, "You have been incompetent and inefficient."

The report includes accusations that Tincher mishandled evidence, led his department by threats and intimidation, and discriminated against women, all charges that Tincher has vigorously denied.

The city agrees not to place Farley's report into Tincher's personnel file. The report will be filed elsewhere in City Hall but in any future inquires into Tincher, "the city will provide copies of records in the personnel file but no other comments or evaluation."

The chief was placed on administrative leave for the rest of the year "as a consequence of his medical condition," Freeman said. Tincher's doctor has stated that he cannot return to work in the foreseeable future.

"Chief Tincher has given over 20 years of his life to the city of Brooksville," Freeman said. "He has been a great asset."

During the time Tincher is on leave, he will have no authority to act in any manner on behalf of the city or the Police Department.

Tincher, 56, will also receive a payment of $28,000, which will not be considered as wages lost or wages earned and will not have any effect on any workers' compensation claims he might file.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement previously announced that no charges against Tincher would be investigated by its agency.

"These charges were unfounded," Freeman said. "They were brought as a result of the City Council not wanting him to do his job."

Mayor David Pugh could not be reached for comment on the settlement.

Council member Lara Bradburn said she had not seen the details of the agreement but she did know that it had been signed. "I'm happy that we've come to a resolution," she said.

Council member Richard Lewis said he could not comment on the settlement because he had not yet seen it or gotten notice that it had been finalized.

Lewis, who did not support the investigation or the move to place Tincher on administrative leave, said he called Baumgartner to find out why he did not yet have the report.

"This is not the first time I've been kept out of the loop on something," he said.

Baumgartner said late Wednesday that he faced scheduling issues during the day and was sorry he had not gotten copies of the agreement to all council members earlier.

When he reached Lewis, he said, he apologized to him over the situation.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or 754-6117.

[Last modified April 4, 2007, 21:30:51]


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