Pompano fire lieutenant in trouble after claiming dubious degree in job application
By Brian Haas
Posted August 1 2005
A Pompano Beach Fire-Rescue training commander is under investigation after claiming a dubious degree to get a promotion.
The fire department is investigating Lt. Robert McCarthy, who claimed a degree from "Suffield University," an online company that gives out diplomas for "life experience" and lacks federally approved accreditation. It is also a company that has been deemed a "diploma mill" by several states, including its home state of Connecticut. McCarthy was applying for a job as battalion chief.
McCarthy "is the person who validates diplomas," said Fire Chief Harry Small. "We've got a problem."
The matter was discovered April 11, and McCarthy was disqualified for promotion. He has declined to comment about the matter.
Hugh Graf, spokesman for the Broward Sheriff's Office, said detectives investigated, but found McCarthy did not break any laws. The requirements for the fire promotion are clear: eight years of service with the department, high rank in the department and an associate's degree in fire science.
Claiming a false degree or one that lacks federally approved accreditation was once a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida. A federal appeals court struck the law in 1995, saying it was unconstitutionally broad.
Suffield University doesn't hide that it lacks any sort of federally approved accreditation.
"Suffield University has not applied for any accreditation that would be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education," according to its Web site. "Nor would it qualify for such accreditation due to its non-traditional and non-resident international status."
Officials from Suffield University did not respond to e-mail and phone messages seeking comment.
McCarthy remains on the job in charge of the department's training.
Small said that because of the matter, all new job postings specifically require a degree from an accredited school. He said he hopes to wrap up his internal investigation by next week.
Brian Haas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4597
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08-07-2005, 10:22 PM #1
Pompano Lt in Hot water over Fake Degree09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
"Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.
08-09-2005, 09:02 PM #2Originally Posted by captstanm1
Makes you wonder how many of these people are in our ranks.Fire Marshal/Safety Officer
"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
Success is when skill meets opportunity
Failure is when fantasy meets reality
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