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Ex-deputy loses civil service appeal

Board upholds agency’s decision

POSTED: August 31, 2013 12:28 a.m.
 

A former Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office deputy won’t be returning to work following the decision of the civil service board released Thursday.

The panel unanimously denied the appeal for Walter Skowronski, who was fired from the sheriff’s office in April for violation of four policies.

The three-member body found that the evidence presented in the hearing earlier this month supported the four charges of the sheriff’s office: conduct unbecoming; neglect of duty; failure to read/understand and comply with orders; and violation of law for criminal attempt to commit theft and false statements and writings.

Skowronski, who was not present at the Thursday meeting, received the charges in connection with turning in an incorrect timesheet for his off-duty security job at The Avenue Forsyth, now called The Collection at Forsyth.

He reported that he worked a four-hour shift on March 15 when testimony showed he in fact was on the property for only 30 minutes to an hour and didn’t perform the duties of the job, according to the board’s written decision.

Skowronski said he arrived late due to preoccupation with a felony arrest that day and made a mistake by not finding someone to cover him, the decision states.

“However, there was no evidence that you attempted to contact anyone at The Avenues to state that you were running late or to explain your absence,” the decision states. “You also admitted violating policy of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office by not calling out on the radio or logging in to report your arrival at The Avenues, which you also characterized as a mistake.

“Of more import, during the time you were there, you did not patrol the area or make any rounds or do the job that was required of you, but instead sat parked in your patrol car … and completed paperwork relating to your day shift.”

He was paid for four hours at the rate of $35 per hour based on the timesheet he signed and submitted.

Skowronski testified that he mistakenly handed in a pre-filled timesheet he had completed earlier that day, which he unknowingly grabbed with another form he had to turn in to the mall management, the board’s decision states.

The civil service board noted Skowronski said prefilling his timesheet was a common practice and he didn’t intend any “wrongdoing,” but the panel ultimately found his admission to signing, filling out and turning in his incorrect timesheet supported the charge of violation of law.

Skowronski had worked for the sheriff’s office since 2008.

The board also heard testimony of four previous violations and disciplinary actions taken against the former deputy, which were presented by the sheriff’s office as factoring into the termination.

The most recent incident involved Skowronski leaving drug evidence in his patrol car for nine days in violation of recovered property policy.

“The evidence presented was that you forgot the marijuana was in your trunk, that you delivered it to the precinct upon it being brought to your attention and further it was confirmed by an evidence tech that no tampering had occurred,” the board’s decision states.

Though the incident was not the basis for Skowronski’s termination, the board mentioned the case to suggest that the sheriff’s office adopt “more stringent policies of accountability of seized controlled substances be put in place and a policy of dual control be implemented.”

 

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