Saturday, February 19, 2000

Sheriff’s lieutenant fired after ‘blacklist’ inquiry

JIM BROOKS
ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

A Pulaski County sheriff’s lieutenant was fired Wednesday after an internal investigation into allegations that he compiled a “blacklist” of deputies who worked off-duty jobs for less than the office’s recommended minimum pay rate.
   Sheriff Randy Johnson fired Lt. Jay Campbell, who worked in the department’s judicial division, after a professional standards hearing into allegations that Campbell violated four office policies.
   Campbell, a 17-year veteran, allegedly intimidated deputies who accepted off-duty jobs that paid less than $25 an hour, Deputy Chief Danny Bradley wrote in Campbell’s termination letter.
   The internal affairs investigation originally focused on three employees: Campbell, Lt. Stephen Cullum, and Capt. John Hale. Hale retired during the investigation, and Cullum was disciplined but not fired for his role.
   Bradley, who heads the department’s professional standards unit, said the investigation raised other issues, and the complete file could not be released until those are resolved.
   But, he did release a copy of Campbell’s termination letter, signed by Johnson.
   “In the latter part of July 1999, you met with other ranking deputies of the Sheriff’s Office to discuss minimum hourly rates of pay for off-duty employment. These rates were to be quoted when requests were made to the department by groups and businesses wishing to hire off-duty deputies,” the letter began.
   “In concert with Captain John Hale, you attempted to enforce these minimum pay rates on deputies who were working or sought to work at jobs paying less than the quoted minimum rates through intimidation and the use of your authority by virtue of your rank,” it continued.
   Campbell, Cullum and Hale could not be reached for comment Friday.
   The letter outlined Campbell’s alleged role in creating a “blacklist” of deputies who took off-duty jobs paying less than the $25 minimum.
   In November, Campbell called a deputy who worked off-duty at a local business and asked him what the job paid and who else worked there, the letter said.
   “That same day you published a memo directed to all Captains and Lieutenants notifying them that [the listed deputies] were working jobs paying less than $25 per hour,” Campbell’s termination letter said. “This list became known as the ‘blackball’ list.
   “Your activities in the enforcement of the hourly pay rates is further evidenced by the fact that [another deputy] contacted you over his concern about being ‘blackballed’ from other employment if he chose to remain employed at the Dillard’s store at Park Plaza and not participate in the walkout being organized by Captain John Hale,” the letter continued.
   The letter also noted that at the same time Campbell published the blacklist, he was working off-duty at the Little Rock Convention Center for less than $25 an hour.
   Campbell was also investigated for his approval of off-duty employment for four deputies at the Planet Earth nightclub.

Department policy forbids deputies from working off-duty at bars or any business that makes most of its livelihood from the sale of alcohol.
   “The off-duty employment request indicated that the establishment was a restaurant,” the letter said.
   But Planet Earth is open only late Friday and Saturday, and patrons are assessed a $5 cover charge, the letter said. When Campbell’s supervisor went to the business, it was “clearly marked on the outside as a nightclub” the letter said.
   The sheriff’s office changed its policy on off-duty employment at bars after a a deputy was disciplined in 1996 when he was discovered to be working off-duty at a illegal house in Jacksonville.
   Campbell was also alleged to have violated the agency’s policies against insubordination.
   Last year, a federal jury awarded Campbell and another Pulaski County sheriff’s deputy almost $600,000 after finding that a California filmmaker defamed them in a film about the deaths of two Saline County boys in 1987.
   Campbell can appeal his termination to Pulaski County Circuit Court.

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