Little accused of cheating on pay Time-card scheme linked to firing

March 12, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Recreation and Parks Department Director John P. Little was dismissed Monday because he cheated on his time cards during the last two years, individuals close to the situation said yesterday.

Mr. Little marked on his time cards that he worked 7 1/2 hours a day, but some days he worked fewer hours and other days he didn't work at all, the individuals said.

He had been cheating on his timecard for a number of years, but the practice had worsened in the last two years, said the individuals, who asked not to be identified.

As a result of Mr. Little's actions, department employees' morale BTC deteriorated so much that they asked to be transferred to other departments, the individuals said.

The county commissioners' decision to dismiss Mr. Little, who worked for the county for 18 years and had been a department director since 1980, was not unanimous.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said yesterday that she wanted to reprimand Mr. Little and give him three to six months to change his behavior. If the situation did not improve by then, he would have been dismissed, she said.

Mrs. Gouge also said she didn't like the way Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Elmer C. Lippy told the press about Mr. Little's dismissal.

Late Monday afternoon, reporters received tips that Mr. Little had been fired. When the reporters talked to the three commissioners after a budget meeting, the commissioners confirmed that Mr. Little had been discharged.

Mr. Dell and Mr. Lippy answered most of the reporters' questions; Mrs. Gouge stayed in the room but did not say much.

She said yesterday that Mr. Dell and Mr. Lippy should have said "no comment" to reporters' inquiries because the commissioners had not reached an agreement with Mr. Little by the time they confirmed his departure.

The commissioners told Mr. Little he had until Tuesday to decide how to handle the situation, she said.

Mr. Lippy said the commissioners gave Mr. Little the chance to resign.

On Monday, Mr. Dell said Mr. Little "is not an employee anymore."

But the commissioners refused to say why they had dismissed him.

Yesterday, Mr. Little said, "I resigned." He said his attorney, Jeff Griffith of Westminster, had advised him not to say more about the situation.

Mrs. Gouge said she and Mr. Lippy approved a statement yesterday about Mr. Little's dismissal.

Micki Smith, the county's Deputy Director of Administrative Services, said the statement would not be released until today.

The commissioners named Assistant Recreation and Parks Director Richard J. Soisson acting department director.

Recreation and Parks Board member Robin Farinholt said Mr. Dell, County Attorney Charles W. "Chuck" Thompson Jr. and department staff met with board members at the County Office Building Wednesday night to discuss the matter.

They talked about why Mr. Little was dismissed, but Mr. Dell asked for the information to be kept confidential, she said.

She said Mr. Little's dismissal should not affect county recreation programs.

The department works with 21 volunteer recreation councils and eight sports leagues. It oversees the Carroll County Sports Complex, Hashawha Environmental Appreciation Center and Piney Run Park, among other parks.

Mr. Little earned $51,119 a year in the job. He was responsible for five full-time employees and an annual budget of $1.9 million.

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