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Sheriff Fires Roster for “Job Abandonment,” Capping 14 Months of Turmoil for Deputy

| October 1, 2013

Jamie Roster had become a K-9 specialist and a member of the SWAT team in his 12-year tenure with the Sheriff's Office, before being demoted this year to road deputy.

Jamie Roster had become a K-9 specialist and a member of the SWAT team in his 12-year tenure with the Sheriff’s Office, before being demoted this year to road deputy.

One way or another, and even before he was elected sheriff in November, Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre wanted Jamie Roster out of his agency. On Sept. 23, Manfre got his way, firing Roster for “job abandonment.”

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Roster, who joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2001, rose to the rank of Sergeant and was the agency’s 2010 officer of the year, was the subject of an internal affairs investigation triggered by men in his own squad last year. Deputies claimed Roster falsified time sheets and often would not show up for work while on the clock, at a time when he’d started his own landscaping business. The seven-week investigation found that Roster had logged—and been paid for—265 hours of regular, overtime and holiday pay, for which he did not work, totaling $8,400.

Then-Sheriff Don Fleming demoted him to deputy and returned him to road patrol. Roster, who never lost his $52,000-a-year salary, appealed the decision through his union. In the closing days of his administration, Fleming restored Roster to his sergeant’s rank, ending the matter with one day’s suspension and giving him $1,000 in back pay, essentially negating even the small financial penalty he ended up facing. The outcome divided the agency between Roster supporters and opponents and tarnished Fleming’s reputation, which had already been shaken by then because of several other ethical lapses as sheriff. He lost narrowly to Manfre in November.

Roster’s tenure at the agency was mostly positive, with rare exceptions until last year. In 2008, Darin Sliker, a deputy at the time, sought to have a conspiracy charge brought against Roster and other deputies after Sliker was arrested for allegedly head-butting his girlfriend. The charge against Sliker was eventually dropped, and the State Attorney’s office declined to pursue the conspiracy charge.

Manfre himself had vowed to re-open the Roster investigation the moment he became sheriff. The first thing he did, however, was demote Roster again as part of Manfre’s first-day reorganization of the agency, which also included several firings—the first of many: a few weeks later, Manfre forced the retirement of David O’Brien, the former chief deputy who, under Fleming, had overseen the Roster investigation—and refused to sign off on Roster’s clearance.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did investigate Roster last spring, but the State Attorney’s office found insufficient evidence to pursue charges.

Several weeks ago Roster went on medical leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. On September 19, according to the firing letter written him by Ken McClinton, the agency’s human resources director, and by Manfre, Roster was due to bring in a doctor’s note allowing him to return to work: Roster had told the agency he would do so. The next day, he did not, nor did he the following two days, which happened to be Saturday and Sunday.

Department policy grants it the authority to discipline or fire an employee for failing to return to work, with “separation from employment without notice” possible if the employee skips three unexcused days in a row.

“Because you have failed to return to work according to the policies set forth by this agency, your actions have deemed your employment as a resignation without notice,” the letter to Roster stated.

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27 Responses for “Sheriff Fires Roster for “Job Abandonment,” Capping 14 Months of Turmoil for Deputy”

  1. Nancy N. says:

    “Roster was due to bring in a doctor’s note allowing him to return to work: Roster had told the agency he would do so.” Says who? Failing to properly notify employees of their paperwork obligations under FMLA and then claiming that they failed to meet those obligations is a sneaky HR way of getting rid of someone without having to take responsibility for firing them, and without having to take the hit for having them draw unemployment against your unemployment insurance.

    • resident says:

      You got that right! Typical Manfre style……oh, you said ‘sneaky’, not ‘snakey’……no difference.
      HHHMMMMMM…..doesnt appear to say if the doctor GAVE clearance for him to return. Manfre’s been looking for any way to get rid of Roster since before he took office. But, remember now, this is not a political vendetta of any sort

      This whole thing makes me sick.
      It’s a crying shame to see the loss of people who have been so dedicated to the service and protection of our community. People who did the job because they loved the job.

      To Mr Roster, AND all the other senior officers we have lost this year because they didnt support the current sheriff elect: I would like to take a moment to say Thank You for your service and dedication to this county. And of course,

  2. Because says:

    I don’t know anything except what I have read about Roster.

    However, once you are approved for FMLA under federal guidelines, you don’t need to provide any doctor notes or anything else until the year of FMLA has ended. At the end of the year, it can be renewed if the condition still exists.

    I hope he gets a wonderful lawyer. No one over there appears to care about federal laws.

    Another thought….the under sheriff, having come from the extremely large department in Orange County, would totally be aware of the federal law. Maybe there is some encouragement there to help Manfe on his way out. Good.

  3. tom jack says:

    Manfre is a tyrant that needs to go.

  4. HJ says:

    Manfre strikes again !
    He is a train wreck waiting to happen….
    He’s only been in charge for 9 months and look what turmoil he has caused in such a short time ….
    ……sad for the officers and their families, while he plays dictator!
    And to think that we have 3 more plus years of this??
    What a damn shame that he keeps getting away with this non-sense !!

  5. Genie says:

    Sounds like this man might consider getting himself a good attorney.

  6. Ray Thorne says:

    How many of those non- supporters who were screwed with and have lawsuits have been let go now? I guess Retaliation suits will be forthcoming as well… Reading this and everything else about that agency tells me “something” isn’t working out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good Gosh, Ray Thorne, what could that “something” be? What is the common denominator? Oh, Manfre, that’s right. It is funny/ironic to watch those that wanted Fleming out to now shake their heads as if, “What have we gotten ourselves in to now?”

      This is a classic case of “the grass not being greener” on the other side.

  7. Mr.mondex says:

    Jamie is a good guy , more than a lot say about our current sheriff ,,I hope these guys & girls can get there jobs back once this show boat sheriff is voted out next election. , the problem is most will have moved on to other agency’s by then. , what a loss for the citizens of Flagler county .since when does a lawyer , deserve to be come a sheriff. ? A man with no law enforcement experience what so ever other than in a court room , and firing this & firing that ,,,all these track proven law enforcement officials ,when’s It going to end..pretty soon it will be a all rookie agency ,except for the few who stayed on to this administration. Without getting the boot.
    When I came to live in this fine county,bob McCarthy was top cop at a time when there was no uneasiness in the force like there is today ,even in the last administration it was nowhere near like it is today.

    • resident says:

      THANK YOU! Jamie IS a good guy! Obviously you know there is way more to all this than is actually being reported about it! Crazy how some people just believe only what is written and published somewhere without ever knowing all the facts of the matter. If the public of this county knew more about all these firings, they would be outraged. Believe it when I say that we, as taxpayers, are all going to pay dearly for these politically motivated firings. Be glad Roster’s situation brought to light the problem with the method of hourly reporting. Roster is a hard working man with more awards than you can count.

      Sally- He hasn’t a care in the world about the citizens of this county. He is just feeding his own ego

      Ray, All of them, unfortunately. In the end the citizens of this county are the ones getting the short end of the stick!
      What’s not working out is the clown that was erroneously elected.

      HJ, The train wreck is happening now …………..

  8. tax payer says:

    Manfre has been getting demoting , firing and just forcing out a lot of good people that have served this county well for many years. These people are our friends and neighbors they have families to support and have put in upwards to 20 years of service in in some cases and this to just hire at a lower rate. I do not know the specific’s on all cases but this is not right!

  9. Melinda Lindsey says:

    Manfre won’t be happy until he’s gotten rid of everyone that worked during the previous sheriff’s tenure. He’s eliminated people with years of experience. Jamie Roster is an excellent deputy and trained and competent dog handler. I personally can’t wait for the next election to vote Manfre out of office.

  10. Knowsalittle says:

    This guy should have been fired last year for grand theft, falsification if records, and just thinking he was better than everyone else. Good riddance.

    • Robert says:

      Did anyone read the entire article?

      The guy was robbing tax payers and kept his job. Wake up people. It’s sad for any family when someone is fired, but when you do the right things you are less likely to be fired.

    • resident says:

      Roster’s time issue has to do with the method of reporting hours that was being used. There are other deputies that had discrepancies in their hours reported through that system. Some greater than Roster’s
      If the FDLE concluded there was no evidence to bring charges, I’m sure they would have done so.
      Maybe YOUR investigation of the matter turned up evidence their’s did not?
      Don’t just believe the spin that is put on any story that is printed. There is more to that story than you know.

  11. O'Brady says:

    Complacency is the root of all jobs lost ! The more you THINK your needed, the MORE your going to find out your not needed……….

  12. Freddy says:

    When the men under your supervision turn you in for wrong doing there must be something wrong with this deputy.

  13. Mavre says:

    Very obvious to me why all these senior deputies supported Fleming. One day suspension and not required to pay back the 8k you stole from taxpayers. FCSO was by most accounts and FBI statistics extremely top heavy. That gravy train is coming too a stop. Keep up the good work Mr. Manfre !!

    • Ray Thorne says:

      Gravy train? Or someone who knew what he was doing? What’s our crime rate now? This so called gravy train that’s coming to a stop has cost us dearly. What have we gained? Touting savings while we have double and triple the crime.

  14. SSDD says:

    As much as firing people with years of expierence in the agency goes, Manfre and Bruce Campbell need to get together. Oh wait, it secretly is already probably in the works. Campbell will run his agencies in the ground and ask the county to come in and clean up the mess.

  15. Sally says:

    @ knowsalittle – not sure if you read the article above or not but I believe it said not enough evidence to pursue charges. As far as the only PSP Certified trainer in Flagler the K-9 team will not be up to full potential. Such a shame that this article also had to bring up Fleming with a reference to ethical lapses someone should know that phone records don’t lie and I have personally seen our former REAL sheriff pay for his dining at the club. I think us citizens deserve better than this, after all WE THE PEOPLE do pay his salary.

  16. Geezer says:

    Sheriff Manfre:

    I was annoyed when you sent out thousands of calendars to residents
    during your previous administration. Seemed wasteful to me.
    You know what angered me the most?

    Please send me a 2014 calendar.

    Thank you,


  17. Because says:

    Despite what this guy did in the past….they brought him back. End of that story.

    Then his doctor diagnosed him with something that falls under the guidelines of the Family Medical Leave Act and the doctor filled out the proper paperwork. We will not know the diagnosis under the Hippa Law. The employer does not have the right to deny. Therefore he will fall under the “Americans With Disabilities Act”….do I need to mention ACLU here?
    I had employees working under FMLA….at no point are you allowed to ask for another doctor’s note of any kind. The past is moot at this point. There are lawyers, even one in Daytona, who specialize only in going after government agencies who violate this federal law. So weather he’s a good guy or not, he’s on the path where the federal law is behind him. If the sheriff’s office dropped their end of the ball on their paperwork…not his problem.

  18. sonny says:

    all he had to do was bring in his doctors note if he did that he would still have a job he only has himself to blame

  19. Aquaman says:

    If this deputy was found not guilty on two occasions by FDLE and numerous other deputies had more time than Deputy Roster that was unaccounted for sounds like pure retaliation to me. Let’s tell the whole story… Someone should request for the other deputy’s names who had more hours unaccounted for, and what disciplinary actions were taken with them. If a smear campaign is good for one deputy it should be good for all of those involved. If there are any Fleming supporters left, look out your next. Unfortunately we the tax payers of Flagler County will be paying dearly for numerous lawsuits solely because of the sheriff’s personal vendetta for his non supporters. How can a sheriff advertise a bully free community, when he bullies his non supporters?

  20. Concerned Native says:

    I love Flagler County. This is my home and wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else. The concern is our constant newcomers that cause epic failures in leadership positions. Folks need to really do their homework on prior history before they vote. Regardless of the Jamie Roster or any other deputies that are mixed up in this loyalty “fight” the bottom line is this county makes changes with out knowledge. I have 2 names to prove that Dan Bennett and Jim Manfre. Be careful what you wish for…sometimes you might just get it.

  21. Signal 20 says:

    Look, yall….Jamie did think he was better than most. He came to a call at a residence where I was staying to enorce a law that I knew was not enforceable because it was illegal. He was called as a supervisor because I told the first deputy on scene he ws full of sh*t. When Roster came he tried to intimidate me… name is Sig 20 not stupid so I said who is the watch commander and Roster responded OBrien so I said get I said he better get his lil Napoleonic as$ out here then and Roster said he had spoken so OBrien was not going to respond. I called dispatch, asked for David and they said he was 10-10, 10:42. I advised them to call him to let him know I’d be in his driveway in 15 mins. In 5 mins, I got a call from Roster apologizing and saying to meet him back at original location of call so he should and could have done the 1st time but he tried to good ol boy this good ol girl….and u know what they say about Karma. Bye, Jamie!

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