3 Polk Fire Rescue employees fired for sexual misconduct

6:17 PM, Feb 13, 2013   |    comments
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  • Polk County Fire Rescue Chief David Cash

Bartow, Florida -- A department charged with putting out other people's fires has to deal with one of their own, after relationships get a little too hot at the office. 

Three employees of Polk County Fire were terminated on Tuesday for having sex on county time and on county property.

"Of course it is disappointing," said Polk Fire Chief David Cash on Wednesday. "We work hard to have the proper image, the right image for the taxpayers of the county and it's also concerning to me on a personal level, because I know these people. They're long-term employees."

The sex scandal revolves around Medical Supervisor Shellie Krauklis. The investigation started last month when her significant other, Polk County Deputy Lee Hardee, complained to fire officials.

Investigators say their probe revealed that Krauklis had sex with Medical Supervisor Michael Tomlinson and with Battalion Chief Trampas Fletcher. The separate sexual encounters took place in a department office and in fire stations when no one else was around.

Another player in the scandal is Deputy Chief Michael Choate. According to investigative reports, Choate was suspended for a week without pay and put on probation because he sexted with Krauklis.

Chief Cash says the sex was consensual and there were no signs of sexual harassment taking place. 

"These were good employees who made a bad decision," Cash told reporters.

Very bad - if you ask taxpayers.

"Not good, not good at all. They should have been fired," said John Mincey, after 10 News told him about the investigation.

"I'm a former county employee and that's not acceptable," said Fay Oliver. "That's disturbing that those things were going on, on county time-taxpayers' money."

10 News could not reach any of the workers involved for comment. They can appeal their firings.

Follow 10 News Reporter KathrynBursch on twitter @Kathryn Bursch

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