Hernando sheriff demotes 2 officers
BROOKSVILLE - Sheriff Al Nienhuis demoted two of his lieutenants to sergeants Monday after their continued relationship affected his "confidence" to serve in their positions. Nienhuis said he spoke with Lt. Cinda Moore and Lt. Adam "Matt" Lillibridge last summer regarding the relationship, and how he had concerns it would affect the "morale" of the small command staff at his office. Nienhuis said at the time, he did not verify if Moore and Lillibridge separated, but believed the relationship had ended. However, he said their continued relationship was recently brought to his attention. "The sheriff's office is a paramilitary organization," Nienhuis explained, adding lieutenants are "relatively high up in the chain of command."Nienhuis called the decision "extremely difficult," and said in the two years he's served as sheriff, neither Moore nor Lillibridge had any disciplinary issues he could recall. "These are not bad people, and I don't want to punish them any further than they have been," Nienhuis said. "I told them this is not a life sentence … they can work their way back up if the issues resolve themselves." Nienhuis added "dealing with matters of the heart … is a tough situation," but higher-level officers are subject to more scrutiny. According to sheriff office records, Moore is divorced while Lillibridge is married but seperated from his wife. As lieutenants, Moore handled community outreach; Lillibridge served as operations support commander. Nienhuis said they will receive cuts in pay from their more-than-$78,000 salaries, consistent with salary policies Nienhuis said promotions to fill the positions will happen when the "dust settles," and said he didn't think his office could go more than a "week or two" without the lieutenant positions filled.