A special prosecutor said yesterday that as a result of his investigation into the Alexandria sheriffs department employees there have repaid $6,030 to the city that they were overpaid and Sheriff Raymond E. Fogle "has elected to retire."
Claude M. Hilton, a former Arlington County Commonwealth's Attorney who was appointed to handle the investigation last December, said he found the sheriff's department had kept "inadequate" records of employees sick leave, court papers entrusted to the department, car mileage for sheriff's department workers and Vacation time.
Hilton said that with Fogie's retirement yesterday, the repayment of the funds, and improved record-keeping, "I consider that the findings of the investigation have been satisfied and resolved and the situation corrected. Therefore this investigation and this matter is closed."
Hilton refused to answer reporters questions at a press conference held in the reception area of his Arlington law office. When they persisted in asking questions anyway, he stepped back into his office and closed the door, saying, "The statement speaks for itself."
It could not be learned which employees paid back city funds. Fogle could not be reached for comment. Fogle, 64, has been the city's sheriff since 1964. The sheriff is an elected officer and his annual salary is $23,844, most of it from state funds. Fogie's term would have expired next Jan. 1.
There are about 58 employees in the sheriff's department, which operates the city jail, transports prisoners, serves court papers and is responsible for security in city courtrooms.
City Registrar Stanford Hurst said the method for selecting a new sheriff is certain at this time. He said the Virginia General Assembly is expected to vote this week on legislation that would allow a judge to appoint someone to replace Fogle rather than filling the position by special election.
The Virginia State Police last September began investigating allegations that sheriff's department employees were padding their expense accounts with Fogle's encouragement. Theodore Dodd, a former deputy sheriff, initiated the investigation by charging that there was extensive mis-use of city funds.
Dodd, who was fired by Fogle last April, said that while he was with the department employees often were not required to account for vacation and sick leave, and were encouraged to ask for more money than necessary for car mileage while on city business. On one occasion, he said, deputies were given with Fogle's knowledge, expense money from the city for a trip to a convention that they did not actually attend.
Dodd's charges followed a clash between Fogle and city staff over personnel policies. At that time, Fogle declared that as an elected oficial he has the right to hire and fire whomever he pleased. He said the city had no right to intefere with his handling of the sheriff's department.
Alexandria Mayor Frank E. Mann said yesterday he "sincerely" hopes that in the future the sheriff's department" will elect to come in under city scrutiny" and will allow the city administrative staff to help it keep better track of expense accounts.