The Hummel Report: Major No Show

With cold weather just around the corner, Bruce Moreau decided to take advantage of an unusually warm day in early October to hit the links at the Lincoln Country Club. Moreau spent the morning at his house just down the road before leaving at 1:30 and teeing off an hour later.

By 6:15 he was ready to call it a day and head home.

Moreau, a major with nearly 30 years on the Pawtucket Police Department, was paid that day a total of $316.47. Not vacation time or a personal day: Instead Moreau was listed on the department roster as working and paid by the taxpayers for eight hours of regular time.

A four-month investigation by The Hummel Report found that Moreau, who oversees the patrol division, spent days at his house, his parents’ house in Pawtucket, or playing golf on various courses miles from headquarters when he was supposed to be working.

The investigation caught the attention of the Rhode Island State Police, which has assigned two detectives to follow up on our findings at the request of the city administration in Pawtucket.

On Friday, Oct 3, the major, who assigns himself to overtime details, was paid a total of nine hours of overtime after spending a good chunk of the day at Crestwood Country Club in Rehoboth with his father.

In an interview as he arrived for work one day, Moreau said he answers to Police Chief Paul King.

Jim Hummel: Does he know you’ve been out on the golf course during your work day?

Bruce Moreau: I haven’t been on the golf course during my work day.

JH: You sure about that?

BM: Yes I am.

JH: And what about going over to your parents’ house and just hanging out like you did last week? You had two days where you left at 1:30 and you just spent the afternoon –

BM: Okay, that’s the end of this thing. You can talk to the chief of police if you have any questions.

JH: Well, we’re talking to you. You’re the one …

BM: Okay. Thank you.

Our investigation shows Moreau coming and going as he pleases, with no apparent accountability. He would often leave his house at 9:30 or 10 and sometimes be gone for the day by mid-afternoon. Or not go in at all.

On Monday, June 30; Tuesday, July 1; and Wednesday, July 2; his city-issued 2011 Ford Edge was parked at his house in Lincoln and the major did not go into work. Payroll records provided by the city indicate he took neither vacation nor personal days and was paid a total of nearly $1,000 of regular time for those days.

We showed our findings to Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, including video of Moreau on the golf course during the work day. “You’re telling me that he’s been on the clock, which is wrong. There’s no excuse,” the mayor told us.

City records show that Moreau has already earned nearly $20,000 in overtime in 2014, on top of his $82,000 annual salary.

On Friday, Oct 17, the major left headquarters at 12:20, and spent 30 minutes at the substation on Armistice Boulevard before driving five miles and picking up a friend on Sand Trap Way in Seekonk. Then he drove another 10 miles to a house in the Hampden Meadows Section of Barrington, where he stayed until late afternoon. The major dropped the friend off back in Seekonk, went to his parents’ house, then back to the station around 8:40.

Moreau was paid for five hours of overtime at $62 an hour, in addition to his regular pay.

JH: What about that day you went over to Barrington and hung out all day?

BM: Excuse me. Thank you.

A city ordinance that took effect in 2009 prohibits personal use of city vehicles.

Mayor Grebien was blunt in his assessment. “This here, as far as I’m concerned, if verified, this is clearly stealing. Depending on the dollar amounts, we will determine if it’s a felony or a misdemeanor, we will determine how aggressive we go. But let me assure you — if we verify all of this and there’s documentation to support it, we’re going to take it to the end.”

Despite our findings, the mayor says he still has confidence in Chief Paul King.

JH: “This isn’t a long lunch for a couple of hours, this is three days in a row he’s marked as working. He’s clearly not in his office and the chief walks down the hall and says, “Hey, where’s Moreau today?”

Donald Grebien: “Absolutely. That’s wrong and that’s something I have to address with him. We work so hard. There are so many good people — men and women who work hard on the city’s behalf. We’re not perfect, we’re all human, but we need to understand the perception and most people do. Because it’s a stigma you don’t want to deal with.”

The Hummel Report is a 501 3C non-profit organization that relies, in part, on your donations. If you have a story idea or want make a donation go to www.hummelreport.org, where you can also see the video version of this story. You can mail Jim directly at jim@hummelreport.org

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