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US Marshal Anthony Dichio shopped in Westford at 1:23 p.m. on Oct. 13.
US Marshal Anthony Dichio shopped in Westford at 1:23 p.m. on Oct. 13. (Globe Staff Photo / John Tlumacki)

US marshal gets full-time pay for a few hours' work

Page 2 of 2 -- Dichio, however, had the strong backing of Cellucci, then US ambassador to Canada, and President Bush appointed him over the opposition of the state's two US senators and nine of its 10 US representatives.

Dichio supervises a staff of at least 120 people who are responsible for providing security at the federal courthouses in Boston, Springfield, and Worcester. They also protect the 17 federal judges in the state, as well as federal juries and witnesses, and transport jailed suspects to and from court appearances.

The Marshals Service also handles the apprehension of federal fugitives, asset forfeiture, and witness protection programs. In addition, marshals participate in various task forces with the State Police and other law enforcement agencies.

Dichio's three predecessors would not comment on his performance, but said that when they served as marshal, it was a demanding job that consumed at least 40 hours a week.

''There are some pretty heavy decisions the marshal must make affecting law enforcement," said James B. Roche, who became deputy director of the Marshals Service after seven years as the US marshal for Massachusetts in the 1980s. ''You were expected to work a normal business week at the office, unless on official business to one of the other courthouses," Roche said.

''The job demanded that you have a physical presence at the courthouse, and that's what I did," said Nancy McGillivray, who served from 1994 to 2002.

''I would do at least 40 hours a week at the courthouse or outside on business," said Robert Guiney, who held the position for three years prior to McGillivray.

Guiney and Roche were Republican appointees, while McGillivray was appointed by President Clinton.

Dichio's frequent absences from his office at the federal courthouse in Boston have been a subject of frustration for some high-level court officials. In addition, some marshals have contended that his lack of visibility is hurting morale and diminishing the stature of the Marshals Service.

Besides his federal salary, Dichio, 44, receives an annual pension of $45,000 from the state because of his 22 years service as a trooper, according to the state treasurer's office.

Globe reporters began observing Dichio on Sept. 28 and concluded their surveillance on Oct 20, a period covering 16 workdays. (Oct. 11 was Columbus Day, a federal government holiday.) Dichio took vacation days three times during the period, and Globe reporters lost sight of him on roadways around Greater Boston on three other days, so those days were excluded from the calculation.

That left 10 days for which the reporters directly observed Dichio and can attest to his whereabouts.

On those 10 days, the Globe observed Dichio working less than 8 hours each day. But, according to documents obtained by the Globe, time sheets submitted to the marshal's office's ''certified timekeeper," the clerk in the Boston office who oversees payroll administration, give Dichio credit for working a full eight hours for each of the days.

David B. Taylor, deputy chief marshal for Dichio, declined comment on the discrepancy. It's not clear who personally submits Dichio's weekly hours to the clerk.

''I can't give you an explanation," Taylor said.

Asked how often Dichio was in the Boston courthouse, Taylor said: ''It's the District of Massachusetts. He's either here, Worcester, or Springfield."

But the Globe found that when Dichio was not at the office in Boston, he was frequently and often leisurely doing errands near his home in Westford, 36 miles from Boston.

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, for example, for which timesheets report he worked eight hours, Dichio did not leave home until shortly after noon.

Wearing shorts, a polo shirt with a US marshal's insignia, and leather clogs, he headed to the nearby Market Basket grocery store in his US Marshals-issued black Ford Explorer. He never went to the courthouse.

The policy of the Marshals Service, provides that government-issued vehicles are ''for official use," though the conduct of ''reasonable personal business is allowed," according to Hines, the spokesman.

At the Market Basket, he pushed a shopping cart down the aisles, sampling cheese at the deli counter and exchanging pleasantries with other shoppers. He left the store with five bags of groceries at 1:22 p.m., returned an hour later for bathroom cleaner, and stayed home the rest of the day.

On Friday, Oct. 1, Dichio went out to gas up his personal car at 10:36 a.m., stopped by the grocery, then the dry cleaners to pick up a woman's blouse. He was home the rest of the workday.

On most days, the former trooper drove the highways at speeds frequently exceeding 85 miles per hour to Boston, passing cars and changing lanes. 

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