Our four-month undercover investigation finds a Pawtucket Police major spending work days on the golf course or at home, and collecting thousands of dollars in overtime he assigned to himself. See what the officer tells Jim Hummel, while Pawtucket’s mayor says the city has already begun its own investigation based on our findings.
Click here to see a copy of the 2002 lawsuit Jim referenced in the report.
With cold weather just around the corner, Bruce Moreau decided to take advantage of an unusually warm day in early October to hit the links at the Lincoln Country Club. Moreau spent the morning at his house just down the road before leaving at 1:30 and teeing off an hour later.
By 6:15 he was ready to call it a day and head home.
Moreau, a major with nearly 30 years on the Pawtucket Police Department, was paid that day a total of $316.47. Not vacation time or a personal day: Instead Moreau was listed on the department roster as working and paid by the taxpayers for eight hours of regular time.
A four-month investigation by The Hummel Report found that Moreau, who oversees the patrol division, spent days at his house, his parents’ house in Pawtucket, or playing golf on various courses miles from headquarters - when he was supposed to be working.
On Friday October 3rd, the major - who assigns himself to overtime details - was paid a total of nine hours of overtime after spending a good chunk of the day at Crestwood Country Club in Rehoboth with his father.
On the last Monday and Tuesday of October, Moreau left the station in the early afternoon and spent the rest of the day at his parents’ house, 10 minutes from headquarters.
Hummel: ``You seem to…have an unusual work schedule, when you come in. Does anybody keep track of your hours?’’
Moreau: ``Chief of Police.’’
Hummel: ``Okay, ‘cause sometimes you roll in now, sometimes you’re a little bit later…’’
Moreau: ``Yeah, I’m in charge of three shifts, I have an alternate work schedule.’’
Hummel: ``Okay. So sometimes you leave early in the afternoon?’’
Moreau: ``Sometimes I leave early, sometimes I come in late. Yes.’’
Hummel: ``And so you’re responsible for your own hours?’’
Moreau: ``Well, I report to the chief of police.’’
Hummel: ``Does he know you’ve been out on the golf course during your work day?’’
Moreau: ``I haven’t been on the golf course during my work day.’’
Hummel: ``You sure about that?’’
Moreau: ``Yes I am.’’
Hummel: ``On hours you say that you’ve worked that you’ve been out on the golf course.’’
Moreau: ``No I haven’t been on the golf course on my work day.’’
Moreau: ``I haven’t been on the golf course during my work day.’’
Hummel: ``But you’ve been on the golf course?’’
Moreau: ``Yes, I play golf that’s one of my hobbies.’’
Hummel: ``And what about going over to your parents’ house and just hanging out like you did last week. You had two days where you left at 1:30 and you just spent the afternoon - ‘’
Moreau: ``Okay, that’s the end of this thing. You can talk to the chief of police if you have any questions.’’
Hummel: ``Well we’re talking to you. You’re the one…’’
Moreau: ``Okay. Thank you.’’
Our investigation shows Moreau coming and going as he pleases, with no apparent accountability. He would often leave his house at 9:30 or 10 and sometimes be gone for the day by mid-afternoon. Or not go in at all.
On Monday June 30th, Tuesday July 1st and Wednesday July 2nd his city-issued 2011 Ford Edge was parked at his house in Lincoln and the major did not go into work. Payroll records provided by the city indicate he took neither vacation nor personal days and was paid a total of nearly a thousand dollars of regular time for those days.
Grebien: ``Clearly it appears that there’s a violation.’’
Last week we showed our findings to Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, including video of Moreau on the golf course during the work day. The major says the city has already begun its own investigation based on our findings.
Grebien: ``You’re telling me that he’s been on the clock, which is wrong. There’s no excuse. One day you’d say okay, maybe there’s an error, you forget to mark it, it’s not perfect, it’s an old system. I always try to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, but at the end of the day you’ve got multiple days, clearly there’s a pattern here we need to look at and clearly it’s not going to be acceptable.’’
On Friday October 3rd Moreau picked his father up at 9 o’clock and by 9:30 his city car was in the parking lot at Crestwood Country Club - 10 miles from the police station. At 1:30 they went to this restaurant on Route 44 in Seekonk - they finished lunch at 2:15 and were back at his father’s house at 2:30.
Moreau went back to the station at 4 p.m and at 5:15 took another person out with him to do underage checks at several city liquor stores before going home at 6:15. For that hour’s work he was paid a full day’s regular pay and nine hours of overtime from two separate accounts.
Grebien: ``I can’t explain to you why he got the other overtime on that day, I’ll have to look at that. Because clearly from where we’re looking at it, doesn’t make any sense.’’
In fact city records show that Moreau has already earned nearly $20,000 in overtime in 2014, on top of his $82,000 annual salary.
On Friday October 17th, the major left headquarters at 12:20, spending 30 minutes at the substation on Armistice Boulevard before driving five miles and picking up a friend on Sand Trap Way in Seekonk; then driving another 10 miles to a house in the Hampden Meadows Section of Barrington, where he stayed until late afternoon. The major dropped the friend off back in Seekonk, went to his parents house, then back to the station around 8:40.
Moreau was paid for five hours of overtime at $62 an hour, in addition to his regular pay.
Hummel: ``What about that day you went over to Barrington and hung out all day.’’
Moreau: ``Excuse me. Thank you.’’
Hummel: ``Major - so major you’re telling me you’re sure you didn’t play golf?’’
Moreau: ``I have no other comment.’’
Hummel: ``You’re sure you didn’t play golf on company time. And what about using the company car to go over.. Is it fair to the taxpayers to go to Crestwood with the company vehicle?’’
Moreau: ``Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you…’’
A city ordinance that took effect in 2009 prohibits personal use of city vehicles.
Hummel: ``Does the policy speak to, if you have the day off and he’s going to Crestwood, or he’s going Pawtucket Country Club, or he’s going to the beach or whatever. Is there leeway, should the taxpayers be picking that up or should he be taking his own vehicle?’’
Grebien: ``From a perception standpoint, the honest answer is, no, you would hope that, hey if I’m going out with the family, then I’m using my own private vehicle.’’
Hummel: A lot of times people watch these stories and you see the guy kind of quietly retire and go away. And I’ve had some people say to me: `You know what? If he’s filing for overtime, maybe double overtime and he’s not going to work, does that rise to the level of a crime?’ And would you refer it to your police department.’’
Grebien: ``This here, as far as I’m concerned, if verified, this is clearly stealing, depending on the dollar amounts will determine if it’s a felony or a misdemeanor, will determine how we go aggressive; but let me assure you if we prove all of this, you know verify all of this and there’s documentation to support it, we’re going to take it to the end.’’
Moreau was a prominent figure in a highly-publicized 2002 lawsuit that Patrolwoman Mary Gendreau filed against the city. In it she says Moreau, then a captain and Gendreau’s supervisor, pressured her into having sex with him ``on a number of occasions.’’ It was part of a larger claim Gendreau made against the city of widespread sexual harassment.
The city wound up settling the lawsuit and, to date, it has cost taxpayers close to three quarters of a million dollars. Several years after Gendreau left the department Moreau was promoted to major.
Some officers told The Hummel Report they were outraged that the week we confronted Moreau he was helping lead in-service training at the substation, talking about the statutes regarding domestic violence.
Despite our findings the mayor says he still has confidence in Chief Paul King.
Hummel: ``This isn’t a long lunch for a couple of hours, this is three days in a row he’s marked as working, he’s clearly not in his office and the chief walks down the hall and again I don’t know how the police department works, but it’s like `Hey, where’s Moreau today? Where is he?’”
Hummel: ``He’s at his house.’’
Grebien: ``Absolutely and that’s wrong and that’s something I have to address with him. We work so hard, there are so many good people, men and women that work hard on the city’s behalf; we’re not perfect, we’re all human, but we need to understand the perception and most people do. Because it is, it’s a stigma you don’t want to deal with. As much as I like you Jim, I don’t want to be sitting here answering these types of questions because it’s embarrassing. It’s a reflection on the city that I work so hard for to change that image.’’
In Pawtucket, Jim Hummel for The Hummel Report.