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State Attorney Will Not Prosecute Bobby Pace, Clearing Him to Return to Flagler Beach Fire Department

| October 30, 2013

Bobby Pace. (© FlaglerLive)

Bobby Pace. (© FlaglerLive)

Bobby Pace can return to work. He may even get a promotion.

The acting Flagler Beach Fire Chief was placed on paid administrative leave at the end of July, when the State Attorney’s Office filed a first-degree misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice against Pace. A Flagler Beach Police investigation had found that he’d falsified the records of a probationer working community hours at the fire department and tampered with evidence.

Wednesday afternoon, in a pre-trial hearing before County Judge Melissa Moore-Stens, the State Attorney’s Office said it would not be prosecuting Pace, but had rather agreed to a deferred-prosecution agreement. That means the charge will be dropped pending Pace’s completion of the terms of the agreement, which have not yet been disclosed. Such terms usually entail remaining crime-free for a set period, and fulfilling a number of community service hours. Pace was not in court today.

“The case is fully resolved,” his attorney said. The entire proceeding took less than 30 seconds.

“Now that That’s dropped, there’s no reason that Mr. Pace can’t return to work,” City Manager Bruce Campbell said.

Pace is one of the five remaining candidates being interviewed for the newly created top post of captain at the fire house. Pace is to be interviewed Friday. The other four candidates are:

Sean Timothy Crofutt
Langford Van Every
Jason Michael Hughes
Brandon Kori Seymour

“What We’ve got to do is receive something formal from the State Attorney’s office that this thing has gone away and we’ll proceed accordingly,” Campbell said. The manager was not sure whether Pace would return as the acting fire captain or as a firefighter. “I’ve got to go through the paces on that–no pun intended,” he said.

Meanwhile, the hiring process will carry on, similarly to the process that led to the appointment of a police captain earlier this month. “The way this thing is going to work, we’ve got the interviews this week, I plan on announcing the final three, hopefully around the 14th of November we’ll have the meet and greet, then I plan to make the choice there the next week from all those data points,” Campbell said. The meet and greet will take place at the Flagler Beach City Hall, giving the public and the city commission a chance to interact with the last three candidates.

Pace, however, is a clear favorite.

Campbell plans on making his choice known at the latest by Dec. 1.

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30 Responses for “State Attorney Will Not Prosecute Bobby Pace, Clearing Him to Return to Flagler Beach Fire Department”

  1. Nemo says:

    I’m sure all of the candiates are qualified but as a citizen i say go BOBBY!!!! It seems that in the little time hes been acting chief the fire dept has done well. So if it aint broke dont fix it. PACE PACE PACE
    Nemo out

  2. Kevin says:

    Smart move City Manager, Bobby Pace falsified documents and you want to give him a promotion. The man is a disgrace to the Fire Service and the City of Flagler Beach. I think both of you should resign effictive immediately

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a joke! Again Campbell gets his way. What innocent man has to take a deal to stay crime free and do community service? Why does he have those stipulations if he is innocent of the charges???? And this is the integrity Campbell will chose??? Wake up Flagler Beach…the corruption is disgusting. What a disgrace!

  4. A.S.F. says:

    Mr. Pace may be good at his job in other ways but his dishonest and arrogant actions do not bespeak someone with the attributes of leadership that this fractured community infrastructure so badly needs. The court should never have accepted this deal. It calls into question their integrity and suggests that the consequences for illegal acts are vastly different for some than for others.

  5. Matty B says:

    Seems very clear to me that Mr. Pace, since he is Cambell’s favorite, will be the next captain.

  6. I don't buy shine on duty , I still have a job says:

    Justice served! INNOCENT!!!! It’s funny that the State dropped the charges in less than 30 seconds. I heard the judge laughed at the charges brought against Pace. What a witch hunt. WELCOME BACK CHIEF PACE!!!!!

    • John Smith says:

      I really DOUBT the judge laughed at the charges against Pace. The charges were NOT dropped against Pace there was a deal made so he did not have to go to court and be found GUILTY. Just another of Campbell do boys.

    • Anonymous says:

      Were you there???? I was…judge didn’t laugh. The joke is how much of a disgrace this is and how someone who had the charges and made a deal will get a raise and all of his but boys will support him. Show how little you know of integrity. By the way…he won’t be chief…it will be captain…which is totally disgraceful! That is unless he screws up again and violates his “condition” to his deal…which is the same as an admission to guilt! Just a legal technicality to get away with it…innocent men don’t need to make deal or have conditions put on them!

    • Truth Seeker says:

      Actually the charges weren’t “dropped”. The state agreed to not prosecute if Mr. Pace fulfilled the terms of a yet to be released agreement. My question is; if you’re innocent, why would you NOT want it to go to trial to clear your name? If you did nothing wrong, then what are you doing things to avoid prosecution?

      It seems clear to me Mr. Campbell has a vested interest in Mr. Pace for whatever reason. That being said, when Pace admitted to Mr. Campbell that he in fact “padded” numbers, it should have been dealt with differently. Call it “padding” all you want. If the facts aren’t what’s on the paper, it’s FALSE. I would, if I were Mr. Campbell, be VERY hesitant to not only NOT promote Pace but also to consider wether or not he should remain employed. After all, what else could he “pad”? Budgetary items, response times, etc. and it is also a Class III offense in the city administrative code. He fired several employees for such class violations earlier this year and at that time set precedence.

  7. NortonSmitty says:

    The only thing that could work out better for him is if the Judge says he has to do his Community Service working at the firehouse so he can falsify his own time sheets..

  8. John Smith says:

    Well go figure. 2 men lose there job over buying a legal cocktail never tested otherwise at the fire station and taking a drink OFF DUTY just on city property. Now Pace on the other hand falsified paper work and deleted video of his own doing so and obstructed the investigation into the matter. How is it that now Pace does a plea deal so he does not have to go to court a be found GUILTY this matter. He is still guilty of a criminal action and keeps his job with a promotion. What a joke Campbell is along with his boy Pace and Shupe will be glad his boy is back also. See ya at the station Shupe.

  9. happening now says:

    Community service for offenders should NOT BE the responsibly of non-charitable business, clubs, etc. State Attorneys and judges should have a destination for fulfilling obligations. Not law-abiding citizens who try to help. Never could understand that.

  10. FB citizen says:

    @John Smith

    I can assure you the judge IS NOT one of “Campbell’s Boys…” SHE has a stellar record, won an election over one of your so called local cronies, and already has a reputation as a no nonsense, strictly by the book kind of judge. It is obvious you are personally involved in this case and you are not speaking objectively.

    I, however, am a taxpayer in this fine city, therefore, these guys work for me and the rest of the tax paying citizens. I can tell you this…those two employees BOUGHT ALCOHOL ON DUTY AND STORED IT IN THE STATION…it does NOT matter whether it was legal alcohol or not…you have lost sight of the fact that they stood in front of the station buying booze! This would not even be a question in a bigger city department, and I can assure you, I have lived in bigger cities where city employees were fired for less. What if a Budweiser truck drove up and delivered a keg or two…would that just be ok?? WAKE UP!!! All of the people involved here are servants to the community and represent all of us every day…they are held to a higher standard because WE HAVE TO TRUST THEM TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS…ALWAYS!

  11. Same Names says:

    I see the same names on here. The guys who were fired and the guys who still work.
    Everyone can see that 3 employees and a volunteer were fired and they brought false allegations on who they think is a “ring leader.” This whole story with Pace shouldn’t have even been looked at because it is a common practice even amongst the fired personnel.
    This will all be a distant memory soon. The fire department is better than it ever has been. Hopefully Pace gets the captains position because he has already proven that he can better the department. Haters will still be looking for jobs and the trash will still be taken out.

  12. SSDD says:

    @Same Names
    Let me see if I have what you are saying straight? The three employees brought false allegations against Pace for being fired. Is that the main point you are trying to make?

    Ok so let’s see if I have this right:
    The investigation into Pace was started by the PD prior to the firings. Ok, enough evidence was found by them to turn it over to the State Attorney’s office. So then Campbell finds out and tries to stop it but Pace admits to the falsification if records which in turn sent a person back to prison and Pace gets 3 days off work. So didn’t he just admit guilt? So if he admitted it, how are the allegations brought against him false as you say?

    The person running the city, as I will not give him the benefit of calling him a manager, should do the city a HUGE favor and hire someone from outside. Not Pace or Seymour who currently work for the city, but fresh eyes and ears. How can someone who admitted to falsifying records be trusted?

  13. Anonymous says:

    good job judge judy welcome back bobby i hope you continue the good job cleaning house.

  14. Roy Johnson says:

    And the truth will set you free. Welcome back CHIEF! The only reason the SA even tried prosecution is because they knew that the pending charges were leverage they could use against a good man who was done nothing short of completely re-build that Fire Department into a respectable and professional organization. In my opinion had this ever gone to trial it would have been quickly over and with a finding of NOT GUILTY.

    Knowing this man personally for many years it’s my opinion that the only reason he agreed to this “deal” was to make the eligibility window for the position of leading a department that he loves and for the firefighters that are a part of it.

    The SA does not “make deals” when they know they can win, they prosecute. As a resident and a Volunteer at this department I’m glad that he is willing to return to the City and our department after what he and his family have been put through because of all this. We are lucky to have him back.

    • Anonymous says:

      Roy…give me a break! He would have been facing much more serious charges is they could have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Pace was the one who erased the tapes. Did they erase themselves??? Who else erased them, especially when he is responsible for keeping that locked up. What his family has been through…what a joke. And the SA does often make deals because the courts are so full of cases. Funny how Campbell got the police Captain position done, but waited for Pace’s case to be over. No need for an interview…he already had his yes man butt boy picked out.

  15. Willy says:

    My opinions are mine alone and do not reflect the opinions of any Fire Agency I am an employee of…

    I am not one to judge the actions of others. The City of Flagler beach needs to properly fund the Fire Department and provide it with staffing that matches NFPA 1710. I myself started as a Volunteer at Flagler Beach. Volunteers are vital and very useful in daily operations and civic functions of the Fire Department. In the emergency response aspect Volunteers simply cannot be counted on every single day 24 hours a day. They have lives and to them the department is secondary. No disrespect intended. Currently staffing the department at 3 without a clear chain of command is highly dangerous. Using the Flagler County transport crew that is housed in FB as additional staffing is smart, however they are at the will of the county fire service, and subject to be called else where in the county at any time. NFPA or National Fire Protection Agency 1710 mandates that for every two FF’s insdie two must be at the ready outside. They MUST be ready in the event assistance is needed. If conditions are right on a given day with 3 people on the truck FBFD would only be able to stand outside of a burning home and spray water inside. They wouldnt be able to effectivly search for victims or enter a building until back up units from neighboring departments arrive. Im sure someone will get on here and argue that volunteers fall under different mandates, and we hardly ever have less than four on the truck. I hope the volunteer core is that dedicated, I really do. Reality is they are not on the truck all the time.

    Now about Mr. Pace..
    Having worked for several departments, being a 15 year vetren of the fire service, and a former volunteer I have this to say. It would 100% be in the best interest of the City of Flagler Beach to consider anybody else but Pace. In the fire service if you have a run-in with the law you typically dont make Chief. Or Captain. The public is trusting you in their worst moment of need with their lives and family. That is reserved for people that conduct themselves accordingly on and off the clock.

    Thank you for reading, and if I offended anyone here, I apologize in advance.

  16. fact says:

    @ Willy- If you volunteered at Flagler Beach and knew Bobby Pace you wouldnt have wrote the statement you did! You have disgruntled X-employees trying to find anything they could to try to drag everyone down with them and they twisted something so harmless and made it seem like the poor guy is a criminal! Dont let their smoke screen fool you! Someone more dedicated to his department would be hard to find!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Fact….if Willy did know Bobby Pace, he would most certainly have WRITTEN that statement. His driving record alone would prevent him from being hired just about anywhere. And how much do you know of how Pace conducts himself off the clock? This is not Pace’s first run in with the law. Look it up and then talk. But integrity means nothing to Campbell, who I believe would need a dictionary to even know what the word means! Also fact, who was it that initiated the charges against Pace…and on what date did that occur???? O

  17. In God We Trust says:

    Let’s give credit where it is due…………The City Manager did a fine job of cleaning house of all the dysfunctional employees that could not do their job properly and were a disgrace to the department. Huge difference in making a mistake with data files verses drinking on the job, then driving a fire truck to a fire……REALLY!

    • Kevin says:

      Ok, Lets give Bobby Pace some credit. after all he:
      Falsified a document
      Lied to investigators.
      Got the State attorney to agree to a plea.
      Makes me want to have him in my house after a fire(not).

  18. Fb fire dept says:

    Just so everyone knows our video system loops. That means it records over itself. That means you can’t go back several months to look at something. The erasing of video was an accusation by jake bissonette (per police report). The police dept had no evidence of this (because it never happened). This was all an ex employee trying to throw good people into trouble.
    The communitie hours were rounded on a regular basis for good work. Everyone from the chief down did it. The parol office had NO issue with that.
    The guy on probation was sent back to jail because he left the state. Nothing to do with pace!

    I hope flaglerlive finally will post my comment with some facts!

    • Anonymous says:

      Fb fire dept. you must not know much about the video system. As far as rounding…4 hours on a criminal is a bit more than rounding. During that time when he was supposed to be home or at his community service, who knows where he was and what he was doing? He didn’t go back to jail that long for nothing. I understand he did other things, but Pace still contributed to him violating his probation but rounding that much time. Pace should know better as he is familiar with probation!

    • Truth Seeker says:

      Actually, not true.

      The video was witnessed by Chief Roberts and Assistant Chief Wood on the day of the complaint but that’s neither here nor there. The video system does not just “loop”. It has a VERY large hard drive and can record several months at a time. It was INTENTIONALLY erased., Why so? If there is nothing to hide, why erase it? Why was Pace fighting to let them in and calling officials? If he had nothing to hide, let them in and clear your name! Cooperate with the investigation. However, just like his criminal trial, he plead out to avoid the embarrassment at trial. He knows he is guilty, otherwise go to trial and clear your name! The SAO gave him a deal because their docket is LOADED. He got lucky.

      Let me educate you a little on what some of the ACTUAL report states:

      FBPD Report # 2013-00001529 (Public Record)

      “On 3-14-13 this investigator was contacted at the FBFD by IT Pflueger in reference to his findings. IT Pflueger stated that he had been to the fire department and had attempted to retrieve the requested video only to find that there was no historical activity stored prior to 02-11-13 at 21:05:51 hours. IT Pflueger advised that given the type of video system the fire department utilized (motion activated), there should be a much longer retrievable history (for example the original Department of Corrections complaint was able to be retrieved and viewed at approximately 6 weeks) available and that with his knowledge and experience he believed that the video surveillance videos had been manually deleted. ”

      Reading further, it goes on to say (during an interview with Pace by the investigator):

      “Pace went on to advise that the video recording system is in a smaller room off of his office and that whenever he is not in the building his office and all access to the video recorder is locked. Pace stated that nobody can get in to the recorder without his knowledge.”

      ‘This investigator then recontacted IT Pflueger and requested he return to the fire department and retrieve the first thirty minutes of historical activity on the tape to determine the identity of the person who deleted the files which contained the evidence this investigator had originally been seeking. Upon IT Pflueger arriving at the fire department he met with Bobby Pace who had an entirely different demeanor on this visit and was no longer cooperative and told Pflueger he needed a subpoena to retrieve the tape he was seeking. Pace then made numerous calls complaining about Pflueger’s attempts to get the video, to include to appointed and elected city officials and to the Chief of Police, Dan Cody. At that point Chief Cody advised him that is was city property and that a subpoena was not necessary and that he needed to surrender the property to IT Pfleuger to which he then complied. Pfueler attempted to retrieve the video for several hours and due to technical difficulties had to leave the machine in a download state and requested Administrative Assistant Donna Kearney who has extensive command of computer operations to respond on the following day to retrieve the downloaded video as he would walk her through the process. Kearney advised she attempted for several days to retrieve the video but her efforts were repeatedly thwarted by Bobby Pace until 03-26-13 when she responded to the fire department with Officer Tim Sturman who was able to use a credit card to enter the office door and allow Kearney to the retrieve the download/DVD which was placed into evidence by Officer Sturman.”

      “Upon this investigator obtaining and viewing the copy of the aforementioned DVD this investigator was able to see that at the genesis / onset of the system beginning to record again, after the files were deleted, the only person who is seen inside the halls of the fire department is Bobby Pace. There are other staff members noted outside in front of the building as it appears they were just returning from a call but are not observed inside the building.”

      THOSE are some FACTS for you. Flagler Live if you have questions e-mail me, I’ll send the report.

  19. Master of ethics says:

    Boom goes the dynamite!!

  20. Dk says:

    Anonymous: the charges were brought up in June by state attorney. The claim was brought up by Jake Bissonnette three days before being fired because he purchased, stored, and drank at a fire station. Pace did not make a deal. The state did because they had NOTHING.
    This will be all over soon and the disgruntaled ex employees will have to find something else to do with their free time.

  21. Willy says:

    My opinions are mine alone and do not reflect the opinions of any Fire Agency I am an employee of…

    Well I thought for certain someone would challenge my statements on staffing and funding of the Flagler Beach Fire Department. All the statements in reply to my post were about Mr. Pace. That should tell you something.
    There should be no question of the person for the job, and there are a lot of questions and speculation surronding Pace.

    Typically in the fire service you would find a employee with his age and qualifications at the Lieutenant level. Before you ask how I know of his qualifications, I read about them in one of the various articles written about him. Most officers at the administration level have obtained their B.A. or B.S. in addition to extensive expierence at the Captain, Battalion Commander level or above. I can tell you very very few officers have any kind of previous problems with the law. I state what I know about the Fire Service. I am not here to judge Pace. Im not perfect either. But I am a life long resident of the area and care about my home town.

    There is a gentlemen on the hiring list, whos name I cannot remember. And even if I did I would not mention it as I promise not to endorse any one person for the job. I am only interested in the department becoming better.
    I did read that he was a retired Battalion Chief with Jacksonville Fire Rescue. Candidates with a resume similar to that are what city should be looking for. Choosing Mr. Pace over a person who is extensively qualified at this point would look like favortism in the public opinion. Even if it wasn’t.

    In response to my volunteer background I started as an explorer in 1993. I left the Flagler Beach Fire Department in 2001. I left at the rank of volunteer Captain.
    Professional or (paid) expirence includes 15 years, 3 of which were right here in Flagler County.
    I am an Instructor, Fire Officer, and Paramedic.

    I Hope the Department works it’s problems out and finds a quailfied leader. There are good people at that station with potential.

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