One day before the election, state Rep. Hector Robles was fired from his job as a city police officer for fabricating time cards to show he was on duty while working private jobs.
A police department internal affairs hearing involving Robles, which included three days of testimony, concluded Oct. 19. Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts announced his decision to dismiss Robles Monday.
Robles, the incumbent Democrat representing the 6th House District, was found to be in violation of several articles of the Hartford Police Department code of conduct, including conduct unbecoming an employee, knowingly or willfully making a false entry in a department record and intentional failure to comply with lawful orders, procedures, directives or regulations, oral or written.
"This is a flagrant violation of our code of conduct and public trust and such behavior cannot and will not be tolerated," Roberts said in a statement. He could not be reached Monday for further comment.
Robles, a freshman legislator, said he plans to visit the polls Tuesday and is "still feeling good" heading into the election, where he faces three write-in candidates. He referred further comment to his attorney, R. Bartley Halloran.
"It happened the day before the election, which is obviously a blatantly political move," Halloran said Monday. "It's just a shame that we couldn't have a fairer process. We intend to exercise our right to appeal."
Robles has no plans to resign from the legislature or the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, Halloran said.
Halloran criticized Roberts for his role in the investigation and Robles' termination.
"It's a situation where the person who wants you fired is leading the investigation, and I think people can see that," he said. "This is not a final decision by any stretch of the imagination. It's a setback."
Roberts ordered the department's internal affairs division last year to investigate allegations of improper documentation in Robles' weekly time cards and conflicts in Robles' regular work schedule, private duty jobs and overtime hours.
The investigation stemmed from a police captain's review of the dispatch log system, which records officers' activities during their shifts.
Robles, a 15-year police veteran, was not online with the Hartford police dispatch center during some of his assigned shifts. On others, his reported activities didn't match what was reported on the dispatch log system, according to an internal affairs report.
The report detailed numerous occasions in which Robles wrote on his time card that he worked a regular police shift when, in fact, he was working a private job, collecting an amount identical to his hourly pay. Robles worked private jobs for Connecticut Natural Gas, the Metropolitan District Commission, Flow Assessment Construction Co. and Seaboard Drilling Assessment Construction Co.
In total, Robles cheated the police department out of about 360 hours of work for $9,223.56 from Aug. 1, 2008, to Oct. 10, 2009, according to the report.
The report has been forwarded to the Chief State's Attorney's Office, which is investigating the matter.
Janet Appellof, a spokeswoman for the Hartford Democratic Town Committee's 6th District in South Hartford, said town committee members continue to be frustrated with the matter. Neither the town committee nor Democratic State Central Committee has the authority to remove Robles from his position.
"There is absolutely nothing we can do. He's endorsed, he's on the ballot and that's it," Appellof said.
House Speaker Christopher Donovan could not be reached for comment Monday.
Robles faces two Democrats and a Republican in the election. Democrats Alyssa Peterson and Kathy Evans and Republican Michael Lupo have joined the race as certified write-in candidates.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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