Alexandria Sheriff Michael E. Norris yesterday fired one of the two deputies who gave a City Council member information that sparked an investigation into the sheriff's alleged misuse of public funds.
The deputy, Capt. Charles E. Goings, was fired, according to a statement Norris issued yesterday, after an internal investigation into "violations of office general orders resulting from allegations made against the sheriff."
Norris declined to comment further, saying the matter was confidential.
Commonwealth's Attorney John E. Kloch cleared Norris of any wrongdoing last week in connection with his use of between $800 and $1,000 in city funds to hold four catered parties in the sheriff's department.
"When a citizen reports something that he thinks is improper and he is punished for it, the system has gone wrong," City Council member Donald C. Casey said yesterday after learning of the dismissal of the deputy.
It was Casey who pressed for a city investigation after Goings and Lt. Darnley Hodge told him in June that Norris had spent funds for receptions, which had been earmarked for the meals of deputies who worked overtime.
Neither Goings nor Hodge could be reached for comment yesterday. Both have been on paid administrative leave since July.
Without explanation, Hodge was reinstated yesterday. Casey speculated that Goings "was given the ax" because he had first-hand access to the funds and knew more about them than Hodge, who Casey said, merely backed up Goings "for moral support."
A June city audit confirmed that Norris had requested reimbursement for a Christmas party and three job-related luncheons from the deputies' overtime meal funds. The audit also revealed that the sheriff had authorized the use of city funds to pay overtime to three deputies who provided security at a private party.
After the audit, the City Council voted to ask the Virginia attorney general to begin investigating the matter.
The state findings were reviewed by Kloch last week, who said that none of the funds "were in any way used for the sheriff's personal benefit in a manner which would constitute a crime."
"I not only feel that Goings did nothing wrong. I don't agree with Kloch," Casey said. "He seems to think because Norris didn't personally pocket the money, he did nothing wrong."
Kloch could not be reached for comment yesterday.