Scottsdale fires worker in eBay sale - East Valley Tribune: News

Scottsdale fires worker in eBay sale

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Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 3:37 pm | Updated: 11:35 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

 Scottsdale has fired a city employee who admitted to police that he sold city-owned surveying equipment on eBay.

Brian Rickard, a building inspections supervisor, was dismissed this week after seven years with the city.

Scottsdale worker suspended in eBay probe

"I have lost trust and confidence, however, in your ability to perform effectively in this position," wrote acting planning and development services general manager Connie Padian in a Sept. 29 termination letter.

Rickard, who had been on paid administrative leave, and his attorney both signed the termination letter "under protest" to acknowledge receipt of the one-page document.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office is reviewing a Scottsdale police investigation into the matter. No criminal charges have been filed against Rickard, who earned $67,329 a year.

The city estimates about $450 worth of equipment was sold on the Internet auction site between June and September 2007. The sale proceeds were not recovered.

A message left with Rickard on behalf of the Tribune was not returned.

Rickard initially denied selling city-owned equipment on eBay, but later changed his story, according to a police transcript of his interview. Rickard, who was a frequent eBay user outside of work, created a new account to sell the city equipment, according to the police report.

Rickard said that his former boss, Jeff Fisher, asked him to sell old cables and that Rickard complied because he feared for his job, according to the police report. Two other employees in the department told police Fisher and Rickard had discussed eBay sales openly and Rickard had no reservations about selling the equipment, according to the report. Rickard said the cash from those sales was given to Fisher, according to the report.

In addition to the cable sales, Rickard told police he sold two other pieces of equipment - a GPS device he had purchased from the city's warehouse and an adapter that had been returned from a private company.

Fisher's attorney said Rickard's claims are false.

"It's simply a flat-out lie," lawyer Phil Flemming said. "Jeff never instructed anyone to do something like that."

Fisher was fired by the city in September 2007 after he was accused of violating the city's Internet policy. But he was later allowed to resign. At that time, Flemming said Fisher was a whistle-blower and was fired because the city believed him to be a "leak."

Scottsdale spokesman Pat Dodds said Fisher was not a suspect in this investigation. Police attempted to interview him, but he declined.

Rickard's personnel file shows he received strong reviews and was nominated for the City Manager's Award. However, in August 2007, Rickard received a written reprimand for accumulating more than 52 hours of non-business Internet use over six weeks.

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