Three Lee County code enforcement officers caught talking on the clock Thursday by a TV news crew were suspended without pay while the county investigates.
Roughly an hour before their shifts ended, the officers were out of their assigned territories and had parked their county-owned vehicles in a vacant lot off Fowler Street, an alleged effort to obscure them from view. All have been with the county for several years, officials said.
After the news crew approached, the three returned to the county office and informed their supervisor of the situation.
“The question is, ‘Why were they out of their assigned territories?’” community development spokeswoman Joan LaGuardia said. “They aren’t supposed to be just chatting on the side of the road.”
LaGuardia said human resources and the code enforcement department are looking into the situation, as well as any previous disciplinary problems. Their aim is to determine any additional factors in the situation, as well as whether the behavior is a long-standing issue.
The officers could face a range of actions, including time without pay and termination, she said. The decisions could come today or tomorrow.
Code enforcement officers are assigned regions in the county to look for code violations, such as overgrown lawns, or respond to citizen complaints.