Tampa Bay Times by Mark Puente and Zachary T. Sampson
May 16, 2018
Two Tampa Bay jobs centers have paid $3.1 million in incentives and bonuses in recent years to employees who helped them record more hirings than any workforce board in Florida.
The payout total for CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay includes $1.2 million in annual bonuses, with $40,000 going to former president and CEO Edward Peachey, and another $1.9 million to employees who helped the agencies boost their placement numbers since 2014.
For months, board members and elected officials have asked if any CareerSource employee benefitted financially from logging more placements. Administrators batted away the concerns, saying the incentive program was complicated and nobody made significant money from higher jobs numbers.
But detailed payroll records obtained by the Tampa Bay Times after repeated requests over several weeks show those statements were misleading. Several dozen employees earned thousands more each year if they hit placement benchmarks approved by Peachey, who then touted the figures to state and local officials.
The payments raise more questions as the U.S. Department of Labor and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity try to determine whether the centers inflated hiring reports to the state.
“I couldn’t believe that there were exorbitant amounts of money,” said Hillsborough County Commissioner and CareerSource Tampa Bay board member Sandy Murman. “What did we get for those incentive dollars? Is it the thousands of jobs that were misreported?”
During a public meeting earlier this year, Peachey told reporters he created the incentive structure but did not know if Florida’s other workforce boards had similar programs.