What To Do Next?
THE SUBURBAN CHICAGO TOWN OF COUNTRY CLUB HILLS, Illinois, has a moral problem on their hands this week. Just three months ago they hired a new fire chief Roger Agpawa, previously the deputy chief of the Markham Fire Department. Following the open application season, Agpawa was selected from the field of candidates bringing with him an impressive resume of fire service credentials.
Roger Agpawa (Facebook)
Unfortunately, he also brought with him a criminal conviction that wasn't part of his resume. The Chicago Sun-Times tells us:
Agpawa, 54, was charged in December 1997 with cashing bogus medical insurance claim checks and splitting the money with his partner in crime who worked as a claims approver.
Agpawa pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and could have served more than a year in prison. Instead, he was ordered in 1999 to pay more than $60,000 back to the insurance company, serve three years of probation and perform 200 hours of community service.
In an unusual move in federal court, Agpawa’s plea agreement was sealed at his request. The public cannot view it. But the fact that he pleaded guilty to the felony is public, along with the fact that he received his reduced court sentence because of the substantial assistance he gave federal investigators.
In his application he did list a DUI conviction from 1984, so he cannot claim ignorance of the need for disclosure.
Now the town aldermen have a real predicament. In the three months on the job, Agpawa has done an impressively good job so far and the board is reluctant to dismiss him. Illinois state law prohibits municipalities from hiring firefighters who have felony convictions, but the law does not apply to political appointments of fire chiefs, etc. If they retain Agpawa, they set themselves up for a problem the next time they hire a fire chief. And there will always be that nagging "character" issue to deal with.
Read the entire well-written summary of this dynamic problem in the Sun-Times HERE.
Hat tip: Mark D.
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