Jeff Fleetwood

Former Berlin Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood

Berlin’s one-time manager Fleetwood named in probe after audit unearths issue

 Former Berlin Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood has been charged with six counts of forgery of private documents and one charge of theft and another for theft scheme, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigations said on Monday.

The theft charges, all felonies, are categorized involve an amount of between $1,500 to $25,000, according to a statement from WCBI.

According to a press release, the bureau began its investigation after it was made aware of discrepancies relating to the balances for Fleetwood’s sick leave and personal time that showed up in an audit.

“Investigators discovered between October 2021 and April 2022, an additional 240 hours of sick leave and an additional 80 hours of vacation leave were added to Fleetwood's leave and earning statement,” the release said. “Investigators discovered that the total amount paid out to Fleetwood as a result of the additional leave was approximately $17,520.00.”

Fleetwood, who resigned his Berlin post last April, is now the town administrator of Delmar and as of Tuesday was still in the office.

Fleetwood deferred comments to his attorney, Ocean City-based Steve Rakow.

“All I can say is we received his summons,” Rakow said. “There are several counts in there, each of which he vehemently denies and maintains his innocence. We’ll wait and see what evidence the state has and go from there.”

Fleetwood did say, when asked if he foresees any changes to his job status in Delmar, “I’m working today.”

Rakow added that his understanding is Fleetwood has talked to the mayors of Delmar — the Maryland town and the Delaware town — and that, as of now, he’s still employed.

In its own press release, the Town of Berlin said its independent auditor unearthed the discrepancy. After identifying suspected fraud, the case was forwarded to the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office and turned over to the WCBI.

“As stated in the town charter, one of the most important responsibilities of the mayor is to oversee the management of town resources,” Berlin Mayor Zack Tyndall said in the statement. “As such, over the past two years, we have conducted reviews of existing policies related to financial transparency, controls, and the prevention of waste, fraud, and abuse. We will continue to work collaboratively with the investigating authorities as they move forward with this case."

This story appears in the Nov. 11, 2022 print edition of the OC Today.

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