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DIGGING DEEPER: Whistleblower Fallout – UPDATE

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TUCSON - An outside investigation into claims of bullying and retaliation by some Pima County Sheriff’s Department commanders is now complete.

This follows a County Merit System Commission decision overturning the discipline of a Sheriff’s Department lieutenant.

The email was sent by Cathy Bohland, the Human Resources Director for Pima County, to five commanders who complained about a hostile work environment.

News 4 Tucson obtained several of those complaints, including some that date back two years.

In one of those complaints, the commander wrote he's been belittled, intimidated, and had false complaints filed against him.  The complaint was two pages long.

Bohland’s email  was dated February 19, 2020, it stated in part:

“I received the final administrative investigative report completed by investigative research Inc.”

The next step is for Human Resources and county administration to review the report and make a final determination.

“There's a large focus on the bullying, the air of fear, retaliation people are upset about what's going on,” said Kevin Kubitskey, who is among those who received the email. 

Sergeant Kubitskey has been with the Sheriff's Department for more than 20 years. 

“I have recently submitted my papers to leave under the constructive discharge issue because of a hostile working environment status,” Kubitsky told the News 4 Tucson Digging Deeper team.

Kubitskey supported Sheriff Mark Napier in his 2016 election. Now, Kubitskey is running for sheriff.

“Now that they started to target those who support me now it's for me to step away so I can protect those individuals,” Kubitsky said.

Most of the commanders who filed complaints were supporters of former sheriff Chris Nanos. They claimed that's why they were targeted.

They also said Sheriff Mark Napier was directing the behavior towards them.

Another complainant is Joe Cameron. 

“There’s two reasons for me, one I supported sheriff Nanos during the election and two  I came forward I tried to get him to do something about the corruption he promised to clean up and he wouldn’t do it and I wouldn’t let it go so they come after me," Cameron said. “I was taught when you see corruption whether it’s the lowest-ranking deputy or head of the agency you do something about it and bring it forward. That’s what I’ve done because I’ve done that they keep coming after me and they haven’t stopped.”

Lt. Cameron is a 30 plus year veteran,  he was reprimanded for "unprofessional behavior and insubordination."

He fought the suspension and the Merit Commission agreed there was a climate of bullying within the department.

They also claim the sheriff and some of his commanders committed perjury.

Sheriff Mark Napier denied those claims and asked the Pima County Attorney's Office to look into the matter.

The Director of Human Resources told News 4 Tucson the report was more than 1,000 pages long.

The Phoenix investigator who conducted the interviews did come up with findings.

Bohland added she and the county administrator will review those findings to see if they're substantiated, unsubstantiated or if policies were not followed.

She told News 4 Tucson they should have a decision next week.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

Paul Birmingham

Paul Birmingham is an Investigative Producer for KVOA News 4 Tucson. He is a three time Edward R. Murrow award winner, native Tucsonan, and a proud Arizona Wildcat.

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