|You have a boss who seems to believe that trying to solve a problem is the same as actually solving the problem. It can be very trying to have this type of boss.|
The clerk's questionable behaviors are easy to document, as many employers now track employee phone usage and Internet practices. With this data in hand, all a boss has to do is provide the employee with the facts, document the behavior, and advise the individual of the consequences if it continues.
Your boss appears to lack some confidence and managerial know-how, and his concern about a confrontation is simply a thin smokescreen. At this point, you and your associates need to let him see the real costs associated with your co-worker's behaviors. Show him how this co-worker is interfering with the department's communication, teamwork, performance, and productivity. Wrap up the discussion by telling him that you need his help.
If he still seems helpless, then perhaps you can get some real help from his boss.