Panel Overturns Suspension of Drug Official

The state Personnel Board on Tuesday overturned the suspension of a top state drug enforcement agent who was accused of inexcusable neglect of duty, deciding instead to formally reprimand him for key lapses in management.

Edward J. Synicky, the special agent in charge of the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement's Inland Empire operation, was ordered to serve a five-day suspension over allegations of shoddy management. The accusations against him included several lapses that may have contributed to the unsolved theft last year of more than $3 million worth of cocaine from the bureau's Riverside office.

But Synicky appealed the decision, and the personnel board agreed late Tuesday, after a closed-door session, to modify the punishment, handing Synicky a reprimand instead. The board gave no explanation for its decision after emerging in public session to announce its decision.

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