Watchdog Reporting


Herald-Tribune staff photo, Nick Adams

Herald-Tribune staff photo, Nick Adams

Written reviews absent for top city workers

Nine of North Port's top government employees will earn salaries totaling close to $1 million this year, each making far above the city's median household income of $50,855.

But, if the public wants to see how these city executives are performing, they will not find recent written reviews at City Hall.

North Port's assistant city manager, police chief, fire chief, economic development coordinator and five of its department directors have not received written performance evaluations in years.


Photo by Sarasota County Sheriff's Office

Photo by Sarasota County Sheriff's Office

Officer hired as North Port's 2nd in command comes with checkered past

Less than a year ago, a doctor hired by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office determined that Capt. Mike Pelfrey was unfit for duty as a captain, according to records obtained by the Herald-Tribune.


Photo by City of North Port

Photo by City of North Port

North Port to revisit new public records policy

The city will revisit recent changes to its public records policy after concerns were raised by the state's First Amendment Foundation.

Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, said the changes North Port approved would make it harder for the public and the media to get public records. And one of the changes, she said, violates state law.


Herald-Tribune staff photo, Nick Adams

Herald-Tribune staff photo, Nick Adams

Officer subject of inquiry, legal action

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is determining whether it will criminally investigate a North Port police officer who is also the subject of a legal complaint involving allegations of false arrest and injuries to a 54-year-old North Port man who had been evicted from his home.


Photo provided by North Port Police Department

Photo provided by North Port Police Department

What's Causing All Those I-75 Crashes?

A Herald-Tribune analysis found that accidents on I-75 between River Road and Toledo Blade in South Sarasota County increased 81.5 percent from January through May compared with a similar period in 2012, before construction in the area started a year later.

The number of accidents causing injuries has spiked 87.5 percent.


Photo provided by City of North Port

Photo provided by City of North Port

Officer's issues now include losing teaching privileges

In five years, Officer Josh Shelton Officer Josh Shelton has violated department disciplinary standards five times.

He's also accused of false arrest in a pending lawsuit for taking an 80-year-old to jail in 2015 for DUI when she was actually suffering from a ministroke.

Now, questions about his conduct have extended from active duty to the classroom.


Photo by City of North Port

Photo by City of North Port

Retiring City Clerk May Stay As Consultant

After 24 years working for North Port and more than a decade as city clerk, Helen Raimbeau will retire this July. But the city is moving toward keep her on the payroll as a consultant for at least six months after that, even though she will be receiving retirement benefits.