Truth or Lies – You be the Judge


For the last few weeks you have watched as I have sent request after request to the City of Wauchula and the Police Department. It’s hard to follow if you don’t know what we are after but that was the point in which the requests were sent. There was certain information that we needed but knew if we put it all together they (City) would figure it out and possible try to get out of it or cover it up. But asking for a variety of items, some not even necessary caused confusion, as planned. The title of this blog is “Truth or Lies”. Please read through and let the documents be your visual and in the end, You be the Judge.

The actors in this story are:

City of Wauchula / Wauchula Police Dept

Terry Atchley-City Manager / Chief John Eason / Assistant Chief Matthew Whatley

City Manager Gives away Weeks of Pay to Assistant Chief Matthew Whatley instead of making him use sick time, Then tries to hide it?

So how did all this get started? It’s really very simple. Someone came forward about Matthew Whatley being out sick for a few weeks and being paid regular salary. We thought no, he had to have been paid Sick time. So we sent a request for all employee sick, vacation and comp time used. They responded with this (Click Here) If you go through and scan over Matthew Whatley you can see that in March he claimed 0 sick time. Then we asked for paycheck stubs (Click Here) Again notice he was paid normal Salary. Odd. Was he out? Well, We asked that question many times (Request 1) (Request 2) and (Request 3). Responses (Response 1) (Response 2) (Response 3). Seems to be NO proof that Matthew Whatley was out for any length of time at all. Response 3 is funny in a way. We requested in writing that they state there was no documentation, but they wouldn’t do it. So, the City Attorney emailed me to let me know they didn’t have documentation and that they will not provide written signed response. Umm….Tom, You sent the email and signed it 🙂 That’s actually much better than on letterhead. Who’s the attorney? 

So the question is still “Was Matthew Whatley out sick or out at all?”. Because it appears they are hiding something.  We went to the the next step which was requesting the PD Work schedule. This schedule shows all officers on call and on the lower left shows the On Call Detective. This would tell us if Whatley was on call. Lets look at March. (Click Here) Yes, He shows being on call the first and last week of March. Now lets look at who actually got paid for the 1 hour on call for March. (Here) (Here) and (Here). Well that shows he didn’t claim the call out time. We also thought hey, if Whatley wasn’t at work, the log on the side door at PD would show that he hadn’t came in the building, so we requested that log (Here) Interesting, the log shows no activity from 3-5-2015 to 3-26-2015.  Last thing we looked at was his fuel log (Here) . Seems there is a 20 day period without refueling and happens to be the Same time as the rest. Looking at all this individually might get confusing. So we created this little spreadsheet and included all the data from above. (Click for larger image)


WOW. Where was Whatley during the month of March? Wait….The City attorney stated they had NO documentation that he was out remember (Click Here). Now I’m starting to see why they wouldn’t put it in writing. It would have been a whole lot easier and saved a lot of time if the City would have admitted to what they had done wrong. All they had to do was say “We made a mistake and we will fix it”, but they chose to deny. 


City Manager and Police Chief try to Hide a Meeting that would Prove Whatley was out?

As we got to looking at all the documents we received another issue popped up. We were told that sometime in Feb to April there was a meeting held at the Police Department. This meeting was held by Chief Eason and Matthew Whatley. What was the discussion? Rumors were going around that while he (Whatley) was out,  (The topic above) he was in the hospital with a drug problem. At this meeting Whatley informed the officers that he did not have a drug problem and had even offered to show them his paperwork that shows what drugs he was taking. Some of the officers stated “LT Whatley presented print outs of his prescription history. He cursed at and dressed down the entire department.”  But again, City Attorney stated there was NO documentation that Whatley was out of work during that time. Plus, Whatley never used any sick time, he was paid REGULAR Salary. So, we requested a list of employees that attended this meeting, but this is what we were told (Item #1) (Click Here) So then we asked Chief John Eason what the meeting was about (Click Here) Their response (Here) No records. This led to us requesting  all PD Time sheets for the month of April (Click Here). After receiving the time sheets (Here) it appears on 4-24-2015 there was a meeting after all. So, this led to yet another request regarding said meeting that they  originally tried to hide (Here) Response (Here)  (Meeting Summary) So there really was a meeting. Now lets ask about Item #1 (Rumor Control). Response (Here) Which led to asking for more details about the meeting (Here). And the Final response to “What was the Rumors” about? (Here) It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they are trying to hide the fact that the meeting happened. That’s been proven. From the summary they sent you can see Item #1 “Rumor Control”, kinda funny that is matches what we had heard. But why try to hide the fact that the meeting didn’t happen? That’s easy, it would prove that Whatley was out during March and it would prove that the City tried to cover the fact they paid him Normal Salary instead of making him use Sick time like every other employee is Required to do.

What does all this tell you? Did Mr. Atchley know Whatley was out? Was he also the one that made the decision to pay him regular salary? He does look at all payroll records and with Whatley being 2nd in command at the Police Dept and sits in all the meetings, surly Atchley knew he was out, yet allowed him use normal pay instead of sick time.  Do you think other employees would get that option? Saving their sick time and having the City pay them Normal time? I think not. Is this a Violation of City Policy? I don’t know, Isn’t falsifying time a terminating offense? I do remember a few years ago there was a certain supervisor that was terminated for just that and his was only a few hours, here we are talking about a few Weeks.  Is Commission going to allow the City Manager to ABUSE his power like this? Wait…I almost forgot. I’m not through yet.

State Attorney’s Response: You raised several issues regarding sick leave and education reimbursement at the Wauchula Police Department.  These are internal management issues that should be addressed by the city administration of Wauchula and/or the City Commission.



City Manager and Police Chief Allow Misuse of the Education Benefits? 


The last issue we want to talk about is City funded education. The City has a good Policy in place for employees that want to further their education. In the City Policy Manual it’s Section 26. It specifically states:

Approval for payment or reimbursement of tuition, education, or training costs under this policy must be sought by the employee in advance of taking the course and incurring the expense. Whether payment or reimbursement will be provided shall be determined by the City in its sole discretion. When approved, such payment or reimbursement will generally be provided according to the provisions of this policy and any tuition payment or reimbursement agreement required by the City as a condition of receiving such payment or reimbursement.”

Do you think that applies to ALL employees? Right, exactly what we were thinking. So it’s no surprise that we were informed someone had used their City Credit card, paid for classes and books over a year before filing the “Education Benefit Application”. Here is one example. (Here) Notice the Course end Date 8-6-2014. The form wasn’t filled out till 8-22-2016 and this person repay’d his portion on 8-24-2016. How was this class paid for? Good question, Look (Here). Look at the date 5-12 Polk State-Reg $673.32. So here we have Matthew Whatley, again. City employee’s even complained and nothing was done. It wasn’t until Thomas Santarlas submitted a records request in the middle of August that they (City) finally came forward and Whatley finally paid his portion of the schooling. Here are all the documents that were requested. Credit Card Statement 12/3/2013-1/02/2014   Credit Card Statement 7/2/2016-8/2/2016  Receipts for Books/School

So was Whatley authorized to use his credit card by the Chief of Police or the City Manager? Knowingly using City funds for over a year? 2 years to be exact. 

 State Attorney’s Response: You raised several issues regarding sick leave and education reimbursement at the Wauchula Police Department.  These are internal management issues that should be addressed by the city administration of Wauchula and/or the City Commission.


1-Did Terry Atchley allow Matthew Whatley to take a few weeks off work and paid him Regular salary instead of Sick time? Yes, it appears that way.  How many other employee’s get to do that? Did they violate their own policy? Remember, Falsifying time is a terminating offense. 

2-Did Terry, Eason and Whatley all violated their own Policies? Seriously, How many employee’s get to charge education to the City Credit card and not have to pay anything back for over a year, or, until it’s been made public. It doesn’t matter who authorized Whatley to do this, it’s Theft of City funds. These classes are normal college courses, not even department related. 

3-The odd thing about all this? Whatley’s evaluations are Spotless!!! No mention of any IA’s at all.  2013-2014  2014-2015 2015-2016 and he received raises every year, sometimes multiple raises within one year. Raise Chart- xlsx download (Here) xls download (Here)

Now, Who does Chief Eason and Whatley report too? Who ultimately is in control? Yep, That would be Terry Atchley. Maybe he should concentrate on his CITY job instead of worrying about being on every board in town. Because it seems the City is out of control. 

This isn’t all that I have, but I didn’t want to create a book only because I really hate reading so much. So stay tuned, more to come. 

City Commission, There are a lot more issues, violations and some of you are involved? My advise? Do something while you can.

All the requests can be found Here

And remember, All Public Records requests are reviewed by the City Manager before being responded to. So Mr. Atchley is aware of ALL of this. 

Truth or Lies? You be the Judge.


If you have information you would like exposed but are afraid to do it yourself, send me an email, I’ll look into it for you.
“People shouldn’t be afraid of their Government. Government should be afraid of their people”











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