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Despite Alarms, an Ex-Cop on Disability–and Supporter of the Sheriff–Is Hired As Deputy

| April 21, 2016

eric josey naacp

Eric Josey campaigning for Sheriff Manfre, a friend, at the county fair earlier this month. Josey resigned form his job at the sheriff’s office today after just six weeks in training.

A FlaglerLive Investigation

Earlier today Eric Josey went to Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre and told him he was resigning after less than two months on the job, and less than two weeks in training on road patrol.

“I didn’t want to create a hostile environment with my presence,” Josey said in an interview today, a statement that encapsulates the strains behind a hiring with some political ramifications that quickly led to documented concerns about Josey’s abilities to meet basic physical challenges of the job and questions about why he had made it that far into the process. To Josey, the blowback against him was “nonsense” driven by “individuals that do not want to see me on the force” because of his past work and experience, and because of his support of Manfre.

Manfre, at any rate, did not accept his resignation, telling him instead to think about it, and that there may be a different spot for him on the force. And Jim Troiano, the sheriff’s chief spokesman, said Josey made it through every hurdle despite some criticism in his file: at no point was he recommended for termination by anyone except in an investigative report before his hiring, which recommended against hiring.

Josey’s hiring illustrates the various steps an individual goes through to become a deputy. It also shows to what extent subjective interpretation of documented findings may play into a recruit’s chances. Because Josey’s brief odyssey took place during an election season in which he chose to make his support of an embattled sheriff explicit, his story is inevitably tainted by a political undercurrent that can both veil and sharpen the more problematic issues at the heart of Josey’s evaluations.

Eric Josey’s CV

Josey, 49, was no ordinary recruit. For starters, he says he’s known Manfre since before Manfre first ran for sheriff in 2001, though he didn’t move to Flagler County until much later: from 1991 to 2006, Josey was a cop with the New York City Police Department. His tenure ended there because he went on disability, and lost a legal action against the department to be employed in a capacity that didn’t involve physical strain. He was also a vice president at the Flagler County branch of the NAACP until he resigned to take his $33,000 job (raised four weeks later to $35,300) with the sheriff’s office. He’s led highly critical campaigns against the school district’s handling of disciplinary matters, some of them leading to direct criticism of sheriff’s personnel.

And Josey is an avowed Manfre fan and campaigner in the coming election: Josey was campaigning for Manfre as recently as this month’s county fair, as public employees are in their right to do as long as it’s off the clock and out of uniform (it was). But it’s unusual that a cop just beginning his probationary term for the job would so openly campaign politically for his employer. Josey got in a verbal scrap with one of the fair’s organizers over campaign signs while Manfre was there. The organizer declined to speak about the matter.

Josey’s role as a supporter is likely minor compared to what he represents in a larger sense in the coming election. Manfre is facing a primary election challenge from Larry Jones, a long-time deputy who retired in 2014 after 30 years in the department. Jones is black, very popular locally, and would be expected to appeal to the black vote, which is crucial to Manfre’s chances—not just in the general election, but now in the primary. It doesn’t take a Machiavelli to figure out the advantage of a hire like Josey, so prominent in the NAACP, as a means of clawing back some votes from Jones, assuming Josey has that kind of pull with the NAACP.

“It was only when they found out that I supported the sheriff that things went south real fast,” Josey said of the reaction he’s been getting inside the department.

But Josey’s application was also a problem, with strong indications in his initial training that he was incapable of carrying out basic physical demands common for a deputy. Much of that record, including his own application, a background investigation, his own physical performances in the field, the conclusions of his field training officers and some observations by fellow deputies all pointed to the same conclusion by Detective Nate Koep in a Feb. 23 memo to the department’s employment director: “Based on the background information obtained, I believe that Mr. Josey should not be considered for hire with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.”

Yet he was: Josey was hired on March 1. The next day, he was featured alongside seven other recruits in one of the sheriff’s office’s periodic news releases announcing new hires. Troiano said three top-level officials at the sheriff’s office disagreed with Koep’s conclusion—Chief Deputy Jeff Hoffman, Senor Commander Steve Cole and Human Resources Director Ken McClinton. (A previous version of this story incorrectly listed Cmdr. Paul Bovino rather than Cole among the trio.)

Discrepancies, Lies or Honest Errors?

Koep had found that Josey had misrepresented the end of his employment with the NYPD. He’d said in his application that he’d “retired.” He hadn’t: he’d gone on disability. Troiano said Josey did not lie, he simply said “retired” rather than “disability retirement,” which did not rise to the level of falsifying the record. Josey put his final salary at $95,000 as a cop in New York. Koep, checking the record, found that it had been a third less than that. Again, not a falsification of records, Troiano said, ascribing the difference to perhaps overtime. He also listed employment with the New York Fire Department, a record of employment Koep could not find. Josey ascribes the absence of records to the accurate fact that he had been a paramedic for an EMS entity in the 1980s that was absorbed by the fire department in 1996, when records may not have been shifted properly.

For all that, he was cleared, as he was by a medical evaluation conducted by a nurse practitioner, a drug evaluation, a psychological evaluation, and a voice stress test that’s the equivalent of a lie detector test, conducted after his application was in, when he clarified some of the discrepancies to his interviewers’ satisfaction. In his “oral boards,” a verbal interview conducted by those three top officials, Josey was rated average overall, but also cleared to go forward.

His physical abilities, and lack of abilities, quickly became apparent, however. He could not run, even short distances. He had difficulties climbing stair. He had trouble crouching and getting up, getting in and out of a patrol car. He never mentioned in his application that New York had determined that a medical board had deemed him “not qualified to perform the essential duties of a police officer.” But that became apparent in the field in Flagler. (An officer on disability in new York may after 20 years from his start date at that job seek employment elsewhere without affecting his retirement pay.)

Much of the revelations in Josey’s training documents is objectively difficult to dispute: he could not meet basic requirements in training, and had several other issues to boot—including a lack of professionalism, inattention with his own firearms, and even a couple of “traffic complaints” Those findings are documented at length in two memos to Josey’s file by Paul Bovino, a highly respected commander through the ranks—and highly respected by Josey himself: “I do recognize your legitimate observations and concerns,” Josey wrote Bovino.

Documented Failures

On March 4, Bovino and another training deputy “both observed Deputy E. Josey struggling to complete any exercise or qualification course in which he had to kneel/sit or go to the ground and then return to his feet. Deputy E. Josey needed to use the shooting cover (plastic barrel) to assist himself to his feet on most occasions. One time it was observed that he was so unstable returning to his feet that he stumbled, fell into the barrel and was unable to keep his firearm pointed in a safe direction. It is visibly clear that he has a limp when walking at his normal pace and after observing him in this environment; I am concerned in his ability to complete the physical requirements at a level of proficiency as outlined in the current FCSO Deputy Sheriff Job Description.” That’s the same job description on which the nurse practitioner ostensibly based her recommendation to clear Josey for employment.

paul bovino

Cmdr. Paul Bovino. (© FlaglerLive)

In a subsequent memo, Bovino documented additional issues: “Josey failed to meet the proficiency qualification needed to be issued a patrol rifle.” That’s not a disqualifying issue, Bovino noted, but during training, Josey had shown negligence by forgetting one of his firearms at the gun range. “Weapon security is of the utmost importance and I found this behavior to be extremely careless,” Bovino wrote. On March 16, he was unable to run during an exercise “and spent the majority of the time at the “resting” position at the traffic trailer. He is not in good physical condition and is obviously struggling with this issue. It is apparent that after a very short amount of activity he is physically unable to continue.” In an exercise on April 7, he was “so physically stressed by this run,” a training officer reported to Bovino, “that at one point I observed him tripping over his own walking footsteps and lose his balance to where he almost fell down.” He even had trouble climbing stairs, prompting Bovino to conclude: “In my opinion navigating a simple stairwell is a very simple task and should be a minimum requirement for a law enforcement officer.”

“I’m very physical in stature,” Josey said in an interview today. “I get around very well, I do what I do, I’m probably more physically capable than some of the deputies on the force. I’ve been on patrol for the last couple of weeks now, out on the job. But you have people looking for something.” He said a lot of the criticism about his physical difficulties was “embellished.”

Traffic Issues

Then there were the traffic issues. Twice deputies reported to Bovino that they’d seen Josey speed—53 in a 35 in Bunnell, 85 to 90 on U.S. 1 between Royal Palms and White View Parkway. “Receiving traffic related complaints on a member while in training is very concerning and could signify a propensity to abuse [one’s] authority,” Bovino wrote in a memo that went to Josey’s file.

Difficulties on and off the training field.

Josey rebutted the claims in a memo of his own, saying the allegations were emailed to the commander in one case nine days and in another five days after the alleged incident, which “at the very least undermines the credibility and legitimacy” of the claims. But then Josey said that “it has not gone unnoticed that both alleged traffic incidents against me was reported after a record request was made for my agency personnel file by the local media.” In fact, FlaglerLive’s request for that information—the only media request for Josey’s file, Troiano confirmed—was placed on April 13. The traffic complaints’ emails were dated April 9 and April 11.

On his first day of the Field Training Program, on April 13, Josey showed up unshaven, prompting his training officer to send him home to clean up, and lose pay over it.

Josey noted in his memo: “In my former law enforcement career [] I enjoyed numerous specialized assignments and highly competent evaluations. I never have been accused of disrespecting law enforcement in their uniform or agency vehicle.”


As his training unfolded and word spread through the department of his observed inabilities to meet basic training challenges, some deputies began to grumble that his retention was due only to his former position in the NAACP—that, in the words of deputies who asked for anonymity, his was a case of “reverse bias” and “negligent retention.”

Troiano bristles at the suggestion. He notes that when Josey applied as a reserve deputy two years ago, he was rejected after failing his written exam . He was friends with Manfre then, too, so any suggestion that he is being shown any favoritism is contradicted by what happened two years ago, Troiano said. “Other than the discrepancies in Eric’s application, there’s really nothing that I know of that would have precluded him from hire,” he said. He acknowledges issues through training, but stresses that, at every step, he was cleared to go forward—several deputies have issues during training that are worked on and improved—and there’s been no documented issues so far in the last two weeks of his field training.

“Where are the documents that show he is being negligently retained, where is the comment saying he can’t proceed forward, I’m not allowing him to get to this stage?” Troiano said. “When you start speaking of negligent retention, we’d better have our ducks in a row.”

As for training deputies worried about recommending against Josey for fear of repercussions, since Josey is close to Manfre, “Absolutely not,” Troiano said. “They have a duty and responsibility, nobody is holding a gun to their head saying you can’t write anything. Obviously they have.” He was referring to the Bovino memos.

To Josey, the criticism is “from individuals that do not want to see me on the force because of my work with the NAACP and stuff like that, so they’re putting this information out in a sort of nefarious way.”

Just last fall, for example, after John Landi, the school resource deputy at Matanzas High School, arrested an 18 year old student on a felony assault charge in an altercation with a faculty member, Josey got involved and wrote a blistering letter to Superintendent Jacob Oliva, charging “false arrest” (four months before the more recent and highly publicized false arrest that Manfre acknowledged) and blaming the deputy for singling out the student and aggravating the charge. The charge was eventually reduced to simple battery and prosecution deferred in an agreement with the court. Josey has also been at the center of renewed criticism over disciplinary issues two months ago.

The “firestorm” of criticism over his own application at the sheriff’s office, Josey now says, is partly a result of that criticism, partly the result of the ranks feeling “intimidated.”

“Police work is what I do, what I’ve been doing since I retired from the New York Police department,” Josey said. “A lot of people are intimidated by who I am,” he said, describing his past as an investigator, a member of the SWAT team and other special assignments. “I did a lot of things from a big city, then I come down here.”

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38 Responses for “Despite Alarms, an Ex-Cop on Disability–and Supporter of the Sheriff–Is Hired As Deputy”

  1. Outsider says:

    Does the sheriff have no conscience whatsoever? All the good people he fired, and now he hires someone who is physically unable to tie his own shoe. What a disgrace!

  2. Anonymous says:

    What’s the difference between this hire and thed hiring of County commissioner Frank Meeker’s wife in recent months the and issuing her an administrative title! That’s a bonus for a church secretary don’t you think?! It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

  3. Veteran says:

    Definitely not voting for Manfre!

  4. hmmm says:

    Really, this guy is disabled from the NYPD and cant preform the duties of a deputy sheriff and yet Manfre wont accept his resignation?!?!?!?!?!

    Troiano is a fool, this screams Negligent retention!! Commander Bovino apparently documented all the things he was unable to perform, seems to me like he is UNQUALIFIED.

    Negligent retention- can be charged when an employer knew, or should have known, that an employee was unqualified to be in the job position.

    if this was any other deputy, he/she would have never been hired and if they did slip through the cracks, their resignation would have been accepted, not hey think about it pal, ill find something else for you.

  5. Jason stryker says:

    I am deeply afraid that Mr. Triano and Mr. Manfre are grossly out of tune with what is happening in the FCSO. Of course the Feild training officers are afraid. Manfre has demonstrated many times that he will fire anyone for anything…even if his reason is unjustified and the person will get their job back. This story doesn’t tell all. Cpl. Keop was directed by Manfre that he did too good of a job on this recruits background and that he should not have mentioned that he should not be hired. Ask Cpl Keop!

  6. Concerned Citizen says:

    Once again we see the inept Sheriff Manfre in action. Hiring someone who is no longer qualified to do the job. But hey he supports me so I’ll give him a chance to see how badly things can get screwed up.

    Next we have Troiano who also has an interesting past from other agencies helping to cover up and let this man keep his job. I’m going to guess that there will be some Commanders looking for new Employment for trying to do the right thing and document Jones short comings.

    I’m sorry Mr. Josey but there comes a point and time to where you have to face facts. Stop blaming others for your (short comings) and find another line of work. You’re in a field that your ability/agility may determine the safety of your fellow deputies.

    I imagine though Manfre will protect his friend and intimidate the union into retaining him. Even after letting other deputies and supervisors go for lesser offenses.

    Flagler Live is doing a great job of keeping heat on the Sheriff’s Office. I hope that Flagler Live continues to investigate this agency.

    Remember to get out and VOTE and help get rid of this sad excuse of a Sheriff.

  7. YankeeExPat says:

    You Might Rabbit You Might.!

  8. Can't Say says:

    No surprises here. Those inside FCSO saw the writing on the wall before this guy was even hired. The only reason why Manfre hired him was for political paybacks, trying to buy votes from the black community.

  9. Maybe we should have another ethics class says:

    Another disgusting ploy by Mr Ethics himself to try and gain votes for the upcoming election. Now add in his new favorite crony, Troiano, to make up so many lies in this story it makes me sick! Nobody cares that he was in the NAACP, the other deputies care that you can’t get out of the car, get over a fence, or run even a short distance, to back them up. You Mr. Josey were used as a pawn in an attempt to gain the minority vote away from Larry Jones, (strange he holds the first ever NAACP meeting and even poses for a picture with the sign in either of his terms right before the election). If you didn’t realize that he was using you then you might be eligible for another disability. The training division, and Bovino in general, doesn’t care if your white, black, blue, or yellow. If you suck, you suck and he has the integrity to put pen to paper to make sure the other deputies and especially the citizens of Flagler County are getting a full service Deputy Sheriff, not a political sign holder. Wake up Mr Ethics, time to move on, you have done enough damage here! P.S. Take Troiano with you, Please!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can somebody please help me out here.Troiano although not generally well liked within the FCSO is an intelligent man. I just don’t understand why someone with half a brain would blindly support the little guy’s agenda. Maybe because he is directly tied to Manfre’s campaign? Maybe he is bucking for the #2 spot when Hoffman finally throws in the towel. That’s the water cooler talk anyway. Maybe it started with the supposed “firearms qualification “. There are only 2 people that know the truth. But hey, at least I’m sure at least Josey can load bullets correctly in a magazine……

  11. Seriously says:

    Thank you Flagler live for breaking this story. This man was hired. For the minority vote… And as a minority myself I saw the writings on the wall and it wasn’t pretty …. Listen … As a minority I would be appalled that I would allow a man to use me as a tool in his efforts to keep his office or status quo. I am sure mr josey is a well documented prior law enforcement officer and he served his community well, however as a minority I find it not only disrespectful that he would negotiate with manfre just for the sake of a political leverage on the election system. I truly think this move was made due to new comer candidate Larry jones who is black and more in touch with the minority community being that he hails from bunnell…. But what manfre fails to understand is that Larry jones … Yes while black not only understands his own culture but understands the local community no matter what their color is black or white he is a local guy from here …. By my count there are only 4 black deputies on the road in this agency …. And they are all males …. I would be not only be embarrassed , but severely felt disrespectful that their sheriff would play the race role in order to garnish votes….mr josey should resign and regardless if the sheriff tries to cover his ass by offering him a consolation. Prize position …..this agency is spiraling out of control and I don’t know who or where the leadership is but the fact that they allow their troops to be subject to this obvious subjective work environment is just plain unsat!!!!!! The next time I see one of those minority deputies in public I will ask them how they feel now ? What a clown show …..

  12. Robert Lewis says:

    I never knew this mans name until I saw his picture. He and another police officer type were poll workers at the VFW. They were very intimidating and yelled at me for how I parked. They were outside the polling location wearing hats that said “Deputy Sheriff”. They were very intimidating.

    It’s absolutely appalling that this was a blatant political hire. Mr. Manfre was attempting to bribe the NAACP for their endorsement. Absolute shameful.

  13. wishful thinking says:

    Past time me thinks to revise the Flagler County Charter and HIRE a qualified police chief subject to yearly review by the County Commission. Constitutional officers are bunk in my book
    At least 3 people will make the decision(s) as opposed to the current elected Sheriff who needs no qualifications other than being a US citizen to be our chief law enforcement officer- and to make matters even more insane is that the position is partisan – what the hell is the difference between a democratic sheriff and a republican sheriff? I keep asking but never get answers.
    Political lunacy continues to rule in Flagler County

  14. Anonymous says:

    Joey’s a good cop with a vast amount of knowledge and experience. It would take many years to attain this type of experience.

  15. Tom says:

    Manfre must go.

  16. Dean Carpenter says:

    Interesting facts. Good job writing this. I appreciate reading a news report rather than an editorial.

  17. r&r says:

    How can you collect disability and be employed at the same time. Only here in the community where cheat to win is a way of life.

  18. Serpico says:

    If Sheerrif Andy Taylor wants to hire Barney Fife as his deputy that’s his call.he will have to earn respect if he doesn’t have it.

  19. girl says:

    hmmmm – unqualified – doesn’t matter, he can hold up Manfre sign… that’s all that matters. Ha…

  20. RT says:

    Anonymous says: “Joey’s a good cop with a vast amount of knowledge and experience. It would take many years to attain this type of experience”.

    Maybe it would and perhaps Manfre should have had that thought process before firing deputies who’d been there “many years” and had a “vast amount of knowledge and experience”. But nope…..they weren’t supporters and had to go. If Josey were white with nothing to offer politically, he’d be fired.

  21. Dave says:

    The man has guts to admit he is not fit physically to be a deputy.

  22. lenamarshall says:

    thought I never say this but Manfre needs to go, he is not the man he use to be.

  23. Geezer says:

    Joey’s going to have two pensions, and Social Security one day.
    He should try to get a second disability from the FCSO, hop in
    the car to south Florida and join the Miami-Dade Police, and become
    bodybuilder and marathon runner.

    I know it’s a rag, but here’s a link or two:

    The guy gets an $82,000 a year NYPD pension, while working as a cop “down under.”
    (South FL) He makes more pension than just about any Florida cop does in two years
    of salary! Plus, he’s drawing a salary on top of that, and feeding his Florida pension.

    Remember “Lifestyles of the Rich And Famous?”
    Some people….

    Don’t you just love your sheriff?

  24. footballen says:

    Don’t look now but I think there is some truly honest unbiased investigative reporting going on here. THANK YOU

  25. Nobody says:

    Manfre is a narcissistic, egomaniacal sociopath. He couldn’t care less about the community or the FCSO. It’s sad to see how low morale has dipped in this once great agency. Manfre has torn the agency apart with his outrageous need to be re-elected at all costs. He should drop out of the election after all this. He used this poor man Josey as a political pawn. I’m sure Josey is a talented policeman but when your physical inabilities put other officers or the public in danger than you’ve got to take a seat on the bench. Manfre would give up the safety of his officers and the safety of citizens in the community just to steal a few minority votes from Larry Jones.
    What a travesty this has become!

  26. jim says:

    SMH!!….. can you say …Manfre 2x 1x’r …..did Staly drop a dime here??? he’s real good at that! TIME FOR A CHANGE….NO present or former FCSO personnel should be elected Sheriff

  27. David B says:

    This gentleman is disabled from previous employment with NYPD, but he’s capable to hold a deputy position with FCSO ?? Shouldn’t he be required to take a physical examination and get medical clearance. This isn’t New York.

  28. woody says:

    Hey I’m over 50 but I can get out of a car and run a bit.I can shoot fairly straght give me a Manfre sign so I get to work-sweeeeet.

  29. A cop from way back says:

    So glad to see that Bovino is standing up to manfre for what is right. Makes up for Bovino approving this guy to be hired despite the background. Great article Flagler live!

  30. Jack says:

    Several retired Police Officers as well as supervisors (all highly qualified and with great knowledge and expertise) have applied for positions w/ FC.S.O. and been turned down. The one that stands out the most is retired F.H.P. Trooper John Dance. He would’ve been the BEST qualified Deputy to straighten out the inept K-9 Unit,(since Staly had Major Claire and the other supervisors FIRED) but Manfre being newly elected and listening to Staly decided it would look too Quid Pro Quo if John was hired since he helped Manfre w/ his campaign… so John got the brush off and was sent on his way… Move the clock 3 yrs forward and OH MY!!! Mr Ethics himself throws caution to the wind and hires a Deputy for road patrol who can’t even walk..never mind chase a perp, save someone from a burning building, or carry a wounded/injured deputy/civilian from danger. That’s o.k it’s re-election time and Manfre needs ALL the help he can get, so he throws caution into the wind. He Himself and him will do WHATEVER HE PLEASES! F’ ETHICS!!
    Either elect a home grown such as Larry Jones OR another candidate w/ NO PREVIOUS TIES WHATSOEVER TO THE F.C.S.O. … give this county and the deputies what they deserve a NEW beginning with a FRESH START!

  31. Rich Mikola says:

    The good voters of Flagler County will see through this obvious ‘pandering’ for the African-American vote and vote for a real cop. Larry Jones. Cheap shot by the incumbent.

  32. Anonymous says:

    If this gentleman is physically unable to fulfill the job requirements, he could pose a risk to other police personnel, himself and the public at large. This calls for further investigation of the internal workings of the entire Sheriff’s Office…With recommendations resulting that would ensure better operations in the future no matter who is the head man/woman.

  33. steve miller says:


  34. Obviously says:

    Like Mr. Josey didn’t have a plan going into this. If you think he didn’t know this or something like this was going to happen you all are blind. Shaving before you put on your uniform is a given. The behavior was part of his plan. Create the documentation and then spin it as he was targeted. He wanted to be released or resign under duress. Stand by for the lawsuit. This is all part of his plan. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to take the spotlight away from the lunacy of the administration for letting this happen in the first place. All in the name of some minority votes. Can we say backfire!

  35. Ref Dep says:

    “Manfre, at any rate, did not accept his resignation, telling him instead to think about it, and that there may be a different spot for him on the force”

    I find it FKN AMAZING that Manfre could find a non patrol spot for his boy. But Manfre AND Staly couldnt find a non patrol spot for Joe Delaroseby when he needed help R.I.P. Joe. And to Manfre and Staly Joes blood is on your hands and WE WILL NEVER FORGET. BOTH of you DONT EVER deserve to be involved in Law Enforcement EVER again. It’s a privilege not a right!

  36. Derrick R says:

    Both Josey and Manfree are Jokes. They also both apparently don’t believe laws apply to them, Manfree with his past and this guy with a trail of red light violations plus other cases here and in other jurisdictions. Keep digging you’ll find a trail that most likely will show he was less than forthright with his assignments and his time on the NYPD.

  37. RT says:


    “I find it FKN AMAZING that Manfre could find a non patrol spot for his boy. But Manfre AND Staly couldnt find a non patrol spot for Joe Delaroseby when he needed help R.I.P. Joe….”

    This one comment should explain everything needed to know about Manfre and his ilk. Joe had nothing politically to offer. He needed assistance and was instead shown the door. Josey is being used as a tool to garner votes from the black community.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Funny how the southern lexicon hasn’t gone away from lips. Boy???

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