The Mayor's Response
The Rhode Island State Police has determined there is not enough evidence to criminally charge Pawtucket Police Major Bruce Moreau - despite our four-month investigation showing him on area golf courses and at home on days when city records say he was paid to be at work. We’ve learned the case isn’t over - as now it moves to an internal investigation. But Mayor Donald Grebien says state law prohibits him from even confirming there is an administrative case. Jim Hummel asks the mayor about it anyway.
Click here to view our original report on Major Moreau.
Click here to see the Rhode Island Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights.
The Rhode Island State Police has concluded there was not enough evidence to charge Pawtucket Police Major Bruce Moreau with a crime, despite a four-month Hummel Report investigation showing the 30-year veteran on area golf courses, at his father’s home or his own home when his time sheet said he was working.
Grebien: ``As far as I’m concerned if verified, this is clearly stealing…’’
That was Mayor Donald Grebien, reacting in November to what we had found over the course of the summer and early fall. And he vowed at the time to take action. That was then….
Grebien: ``Bill of Rights kicks in, which controls everything we do from this point on.’’
And this was Mayor Grebien on Tuesday - saying he now cannot even confirm whether the city is going ahead with an internal investigation into the major -under a process called The Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights - he calls it LEOBOR for short.
Hummel: ``Do the state police have any role going forward?’’
Grebien: ``This is the hardest part, I can’t even under LEOBOR can’t even comment if there is an investigation, Jim, that’s how restrictive it is and what the next steps are. That’s why we have to refer everything to legal because anything I say could be used against us in that.’’
Our investigation showed Moreau at home for three consecutive days over the summer and he was paid straight time for all of them. We don’t know whether he paid the city back or had it subtracted from his sick or vacation bank - a portion of which he’ll be able to cash in when he retires.
City records show that through the third week of January the major has accrued 2,669 hours of sick time - that’s 333 days and he has 468 hours of vacation time - which translates to 58 days.
Hummel: ``You can’t even say whether there’s an investigation? What’s wrong with that picture?’’
Grebien: ``There’s a lot wrong with that, and I’m very hopeful- ’’
Hummel: ``You can’t even say, okay taxpayers, we’ve gone from non-criminal now we’re going to go to internal.”
Grebien: No and you look at this and you’re prohibited by LEOBOR. I wish I was making it up because that’s not my style, that’s why I said at the beginning of it, it’s totally against my grain:’’
Despite that, The Hummel Report learned the city has asked the state police to conduct an internal investigation that could lead to a bill of rights hearing for Moreau. The mayor did confirm that detectives interviewed him and top city administrators as well as officers in the department - as part of the criminal probe.
Grebien has learned the hard way about the bill of rights, legislation bill passed in the early 1970s that is highly protective of police officers. The city has been in a years-long bill of rights battle with Patrolman Nicholas Laprade, who was accused of exposing himself to two women while off-duty.
Grebien: ``It really restricts me from commenting, because I have a public comment clause in the bill of rights, that part of it is totally against my grain. I want the people to know we’re dealing with, if there are issues, that we’re dealing with them in a transparent way. So the bill of rights really prohibits that and makes it very challenging.’’
It doesn’t look like taxpayers are going to be getting answers any time soon. Moreau has remained on the job with no discipline since our story ran December 4th.
Moreau: ``I haven’t been on the golf course during my work day.’’
Hummel: ``You sure about that?’’
Moreau: ``Yes I am.’’
In our story Moreau denied he had played golf on city time and dodged our question about spending time at his parents’ house.
A subsequent records request by The Hummel Report shows Moreau is the second-highest paid officer in the department, at more than $118,000 last year. That included $20,000 of overtime, and specifically $13,500 of something called workload overtime.
Hummel: ``Have you been able to pinpoint what this workload overtime is?’’
Grebien: ``What happens and this is the contract. As wrong as this sounds, and there’s a lousy perception that goes with this, the contract has hours from morning until 4 or 4:30 rather. Anything above and beyond that any of the majors come back for, they’re treated, because they are part of the union they are part of the contract, so if the major comes back in this particular case to check on his second-shift patrols, that’s an overtime. If he comes back to do some paperwork, that’s overtime.’’
Hummel: ``But it’s built in, every single week. It’s not that…and so who’s keeping account to say okay he did come in the door to do that?’’
Grebien: ``That is going to the chief and the chief has some of that documented and it should be all of it.’’
Hummel: ``The chief can look you in the eye and say I absolutely believe that he worked all $21,000 of overtime last year?”’
Grebien: ``He has looked the public safety director and myself in the eye, saying yes.’’
Grebien said the chief’s job is safe for now.
Hummel: ``So all of those people who have been emailing me and saying you know this is just going to get swept under the run and we’re never going to hear anything again. What do you say to them?’’
Grebien: ``I say I can tell you that’s not the case and there are things we have to do internally to put controls in. But, you know what? They’re technically right, not that it’s getting swept under - we can never talk about it.’’
Hummel ``What do you say to the men and women who are out there every day, working really hard in the trenches and who are very demoralized by this whole case and how it’s gone down? What do you say to them?’’
Grebien: ``I’ve had some of these private conversations with them. I asked them to be patient and to really look at our past practices. None of us are perfect, there are challenges.’’
The mayor says the city is hiring a consultant and plans to implement new technology this spring that will better track employees coming and going.
One thing has not changed:
Hummel: ``The bottom line is, since our story ran, Major Moreau hasn’t skipped a beat.’’
Grebien: ``Right, right, right.’’
In Pawtucket, Jim Hummel for The Hummel Report.