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Dispatcher may be in hot water for the last time

By ANNE LINDBERG
Published May 26, 2007


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PINELLAS PARK - A police dispatcher accused of insulting co-workers has been suspended without pay and could lose her job.

Phyllis Melton, 43, of Pinellas Park was earning about $31, 485 a year when she was suspended May 17 for five working days without pay. A hearing to decide if she will be fired is scheduled for this month.

City records show that police officials are asking that Melton be fired for her comments and for having multiple offenses within 18 months.

Melton was accused this month of "antagonizing" a fellow dispatcher during a verbal altercation. City records indicate that Melton told the co-worker "that she ... had a bad attitude and she needed a drink and she was jealous and that she looked like the cat s--- in her cat box at home." Another city employee overheard the comments. Melton admitted she made the remarks about cat excrement and jealousy.

Melton did not return a phone message asking for comment.

Melton has been in trouble several times since beginning work with the Pinellas Park Police Department in January 2003.

City records show that in October 2004, Melton was verbally reprimanded for substandard work and attendance issues. The city said she went home without permission before her shift ended. Melton also allegedly failed to record that an officer had checked out.

In a memo responding to those allegations, Melton said co-workers were talking loudly, which impeded her ability to hear the radio. She also reported that a co-worker had used vulgar language to describe someone during that conversation.

Melton was given a written reprimand and was suspended for one day without pay in November 2005 after she allegedly "yelled" at a co-worker in "a demeaning and condescending manner" for taking a break and making an emergency phone call. She also allegedly berated a police officer at the same time.

Melton said then that she was unaware of the reason the co-worker took a break and did not "yell, " but "only spoke loud enough for (her) to hear me."

Melton was given another written reprimand and suspended for seven days without pay in March 2006 after she was "discourteous and insulting to the extent that the behavior interfered with the efficient operation of the Police Communications Center, " according to city records.

She allegedly had a tiff with a police officer and called him "derogatory names."

The next day she was accused of verbally abusing a co-worker for several minutes while the woman was "conducting radio operations to assist multiple officers with multiple in-progress investigations." Details about these incidents were not available.

City records indicate that she also received verbal reprimands on June 27, 2005, and Jan. 23, 2006, but information about the cause of those was not available.

[Last modified May 25, 2007, 23:33:58]


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