San Diego County Sheriff John Duffy has worked as a private consultant for at least two companies on law enforcement-related projects in recent years but has never publicly reported income from that work on state economic disclosure forms, The Times has learned.
Duffy has denied in press interviews that he has any outside income and has kept the private consulting work a secret even from some of his top commanders in the Sheriff's Department.
But Duffy's outside employment accounts for several recent trips to Arlington, Tex., and to Washington. In an interview this summer with The Times in connection with an article about his extensive travels out of the county, Duffy said he could not remember why he had taken those trips to Washington and Texas earlier this year.
The sheriff, who regularly declines requests for interviews, did not return phone calls Friday. Two messages were left with his secretary explaining the subject of the request.
Two private, for-profit consulting firms have hired Duffy in recent years. He has been hired by Koba Associates in Washington to work on seven consulting projects for the National Institute of Justice. And he was hired last fall by Ralph Andersen & Associates in Sacramento to work on a consulting project reviewing the management structure of the Arlington Police Department.
Koba officials said Duffy has been paid $150 a day for his work. Andersen officials declined to comment on how much Duffy was paid.
In a television interview in June, Duffy volunteered without any prompting that he was a full-time sheriff, then flatly denied having any outside employment interests.
"I've always lived on my salary," he said on the Gloria Penner talk show on KPBS-TV (Channel 15). "I don't have a second job. I never have. My wife and I are both county employees, and we live on our salary." (Linda Duffy is a supervisor in the Probation Department.)
A review of his Disclosure of Economic Interests forms, dating from 1978, shows that the sheriff has not reported any income from outside consulting work. Duffy has listed his county salary as his sole source of income.
According to the state's Political Reform Act and the San Diego County Conflict of Interest Code for the Sheriff's Department, Duffy each year must publicly disclose all income of $250 or more from any "county-related source." A county-related source is defined as any "source, business entity or trust" that is located in San Diego County, owns real estate in the county or conducts business in the county.
Both of the companies for which Duffy has worked have done projects involving San Diego County.
The Andersen firm contracted with county officials this year to stage a personnel classification seminar at the same time Duffy was working for the company on the Arlington consulting project.
Koba Associates, the Washington firm, convened a research review panel in San Diego in 1987. Duffy worked on that project for Koba.
Sandra Michioku, a spokeswoman for the Fair Political Practices Commission in Sacramento, said her office would not research questions about Duffy's disclosures unless a formal complaint were filed.
"It depends on what kind of job he's doing and for whom," she said. "You would also have to check it with the county Conflict of Interest Code, which indicates what types of financial interests he would have to disclose."
Earlier this year, the FPPC sent Duffy a warning letter about his failure to properly disclose a private loan on his 1988 Statement of Economic Interests form.
Duffy has been criticized recently by prospective candidates in next year's sheriff's race, who contend that he spends too much time away from the county and does not tend to the day-to-day management of the Sheriff's Department.
Stephen L. Gardella Jr., a private consultant in San Diego who is involved in law enforcement matters, said that, although he has never known Duffy to have any outside employment, he thinks the sheriff would make a good consultant whenever he leaves public office.
Gardella said he is trying to put together a new security courier business in the Los Angeles area and that he would bring in Duffy as a partner if the sheriff were no longer an elected official.
"I would cut him in," he said. "He'd make a good expert on anything dealing with or concerning law enforcement."
Officials in Arlington believe they were well-served by Duffy's consulting work for their Police Department.
Chuck Kiefer, deputy city manager in Arlington, said the city hired the Andersen firm on a $66,000 contract to review its police management program. He said the City Council approved the contract hiring the firm in August, 1988, and the firm began working on the project in October of that year. The work was completed last February, he said.
Kiefer said he recalls that Duffy made several trips to Arlington to review the Police Department's management structure, both in the fall of 1988 and in the early part of this year.
The sheriff's office calendars for the first six months of this year, obtained by The Times, show that Duffy flew twice in February to the Dallas area, where Arlington is situated.
Although the other trips listed on the calendars designate the reasons for the sheriff leaving San Diego County, there are no reasons cited for the two Dallas trips. Asked about the reason for those trips in an interview with The Times last summer, Duffy said he could not remember why he went there.
Kiefer said part of the $66,000 was paid to Andersen in 1988, before the job was completed. But Kiefer said he did not know how much of the total amount awarded to the company was paid to Duffy or when Duffy would have received his payment.
Clay Brown, owner of the firm, could not be reached for comment because he is out of the country until November, said his secretary, Patsy Fong. She added that "I don't think it would be appropriate" for anyone else with the firm to comment on its arrangement with Duffy.
Kiefer, however, said there is no doubt that Duffy was hired by Andersen to assist in reviewing the Arlington Police Department.
"Duffy was their special consultant," said Kiefer, who also praised the quality of work Duffy and Andersen performed. "It's the best management study I've ever had. It's really first-rate."
Duffy has also been hired on seven occasions since 1983 by Koba Associates in Washington. That firm contracts with the National Institute of Justice, a research arm of the federal Department of Justice, to conduct peer-review panels and other research review projects involving law enforcement-related issues.
The topics reviewed by Duffy ranged from jail confinement issues to problems dealing with drugs, alcohol and crime.
Officials with the national institute said that, on each of the seven research projects, Koba paid Duffy $150 a day plus expenses for travel, lodging and meals. Some of the projects lasted for two days.
A Koba official, who asked not to be named, said Duffy was selected to work on the projects because of his long tenure as sheriff in San Diego County and because of his participation in many California and national law enforcement organizations.
"He's worked for us as a consultant and has sat on peer-review panels and reviewed research," the official said. "We have panels, a broad range of people, spread around among people who are considered leaders in their field."
According to records at the national institute, Duffy last worked for Koba on a research project group that met in April in Washington to discuss crimes involving drugs and alcohol.
Duffy's calendars for this year showed he took a trip to Washington in April, again with no notation as to the purpose of the trip. When asked about that trip, Duffy said he could not remember why he went there.
Duffy's Manual of Policies and Procedures, which governs the conduct of sworn personnel in the Sheriff's Department, limits staff members from engaging in certain kinds of off-duty employment and states that the sheriff must approve all requests for outside work.
The manual lists this proviso governing any off-duty employment: "Such employment shall not interfere with the officers' employment with this department."
The three trips taken by Duffy this year to Arlington and Washington were during normal workdays for his department. Several top Sheriff's Department officials who work under Duffy have said in recent interviews that Duffy's long absences from the office often cause problems because too many decisions are put on hold.
Some in the top command have also complained privately that many of Duffy's trips are kept a close secret, and that officers often are never apprised of why the sheriff is leaving town or when he will return.
"Sometimes you never know," said one department official. "He'll be gone for days, and you'll never know why."