With Flora on Fed’s radar, James Shea issues memo on tour of duty
With Capt. Nicola “Nick” Flora under federal investigation, Director James Shea issued a memo related to a Real Jersey City article highlighting fraudulent timesheets produced by the Fulop Administration for then-Lt. Flora.
“Per union contract, Police Officers and Detectives are scheduled to work an 8 hour tour of duty and Superior Officers are scheduled to work 8 1/2 hour tour of duty,” Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea wrote in a memo to Chief Michael Kelly on January 17, 2018.
The public safety director’s memo came just three days after Real Jersey City reported Capt. Nicola Flora, then-commander of the Jersey City Police Department’s (JCPD) South District, was placed on modified duty due to federal investigation.
Within the aforementioned report, reference was made to a March 15, 2016 report – which highlighted fraudulent timesheets produced by the Fulop Administration for officials from the Jersey City Police Superior Officers Association (JCPSOA). Included in that report was this mention of Flora, a trustee for the JCPSOA:
As for Flora, the city provided what appeared to be a Microsoft Excel printout, which also was clearly edited by hand after being printed. The document states that he works a day tour from 7 A.M. to 3 P.M., but one source heavily disputes that, claiming Flora is supposed to work until 3:30 P.M. because he’s on a “staff schedule” due to his position.
Below is the December 2015 regular timesheet for Flora, which includes mention of “Staff Dayof,” indicating a staff schedule – which should be an 8 1/2 hour shift per the JCPSOA contract at the time, yet the schedule produced shows an 8 hour day:
The document, produced by the Fulop Administration under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), was allegedly designed to conceal Flora’s shift – which would’ve created multiple “double-dipping” infractions.
Double-dipping would have occurred if Flora were collecting two paychecks simultaneously. Pay vouchers obtained via OPRA request included numerous details which started at 3 P.M., and Flora would be committing theft of services for a half-hour from either the vendor or taxpayers if his regular shift ended at 3:30 P.M – per the union contract at the time – sources say.
Furthermore, similar to ex-Chief Philip Zacche’s no-show, off-duty work in Marion Gardens – Flora egregiously violated a JCPD regulation mandating that officers not work more than 16 hours in any 24 hour period due to his heavy off-duty workload over the time period requested by Real Jersey City (10-1-15 to 12-31-15).
Of note, Zacche pleaded guilty to federal authorities for Real Jersey City’s investigation, though, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office (HCPO) exonerated him for the same crime. Despite numerous requests to the HCPO for oversight of OPRA requests filed with the City of Jersey City regarding the JCPD, Prosecutor Esther Suarez declined to investigate the matter.
Within the memo issued by Shea, it mentions that “no Officer shall be released prior to the end of their shift without the use of accrued time.”
Additionally, Shea states “all members of the Department will take cognizance of this policy and superior officers will be responsible for directing the effective implementation of this policy. Members and superior officers found to be in violation will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.”
Flora is currently assigned to work in Chief Kelly’s office pending investigation, according to sources, and Lt. Peter Veltre is the acting South District commander.
Neither the Fulop Administration nor the JCPSOA were asked for comment on this story.
UPDATE: Upon receipt of the memo, this journalist misinterpreted information and falsely assumed language from the old JCPSOA contract related to staff schedules (image below) remained in the new contract. All superior officers now work an 8 1/2 hour shift, the article has been corrected to reflect that.