The U.S. marshal for Massachusetts has been fired after the Justice Department’s inspector general recommended he be disciplined for not working full 40-hour weeks on a number of occasions, and for misusing his official vehicle.
Anthony Dichio, a political appointee whose qualifications were questioned when he was named to the position by President Bush in 2002, cleaned out his office at the federal courthouse in Boston on Saturday morning after receiving word of his dismissal from the White House on Friday.
A Justice Department spokesman told the Boston Sunday Globe that Dichio “is no longer a U.S. marshal,” but refused further comment.
“I respect the president’s decision, and thank him for giving me the opportunity to have served as U.S. marshal,” Dichio said in a statement.
Dichio, 45, was fired 10 months after The Boston Globe published a story based on the observations of two reporters that said he spent an average of four hours, 22 minutes at his office each day during a 10-day period last fall and used his government vehicle for personal errands.
The article prompted the Marshals Service to request an investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
The report completed in March but released last week at the request of the newspaper, concluded that Dichio broke the law by not putting in a full 40-hour work week and for misusing his government vehicle.
“We believe that Dichio’s actions warrant discipline, including consideration of whether he should remain as the U.S. marshal,” the 35-page report said.
The report also rejected Dichio’s claim that he was entitled to comp time for the extra hours he said he put in during last summer’s Democratic National Convention.
“We rejected Dichio’s use of ‘comp time’ because it was unreasonable and was not in accord with either policy or guidance Dichio told us he was provided,” the report said.
Dichio earned $130,300 per year to lead a staff of about 120 federal agents responsible for securing courthouses, protecting federal judges, juries and witnesses, capturing fugitives and transporting prisoners.
Dichio is a former state police officer who served on the security detail of former Republican Gov. Paul Cellucci. When he was nominated, Massachusetts Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John Kerry, both Democrats, and most of the state’s congressional delegation opposed his appointment because they said he lacked the anti-terrorism and management experience required for the job.
On each day that Globe reporters tailed Dichio last fall, he was credited with a full eight hours of work, according to time sheets.
When he was not at his office at the federal courthouse in Boston, he was often running errands or at his Westford home, 36 miles northwest of the city, the newspaper reported.
Dichio defended his job performance last week, saying there has been a 51 percent increase in fugitive arrests since he took office, improvements in security at federal courthouses and better relationships with other law enforcement agencies.
The U.S. Marshals Service office in Boston will be under the direction of Chief Deputy William Fallon until a successor to Dichio is selected, the Justice Department said.