Ball’s in Your Court, Chief

Chief Simmons,

This letter was written by many anonymous hands because of the climate of retaliation that I am sure you can appreciate. We understand that you are in the middle of working toward becoming Sheriff. You have been reaching out to the shifts and you have asked for support of the employees. Many of us have talked about what the office would look like with you as Sheriff. Honestly, some say it would be better and others believe that it would be more of the same. Time will tell which of us is right

Chief, you have an opportunity at your doorstep that most do not. You have the ability to show us how you will handle issues as the Sheriff before you are in the “hot seat”.  Some of us have had discussion about the obvious fact you have not had any opinion on the situation happening with pay raises and manipulations of those pay raises by Chief Haines. You are aware of the bitter feelings most have toward Chief Haines. He has caused many issues to be life altering for good people that did not deserve the treatment he made sure they received. He is not a respected person and is the cause of many problems our office is facing today. He treats people so poorly that he produces only negative results with any issue he is a part of at the office.

If you want to be Sheriff, you have to speak out now. Give us a reason to hold on that  will allow us to feel confident you are not more of the same ole’ same ole’. You can be positive force for our future. We need to know that you don’t agree with the raise we have worked so hard toward, being stolen from us. If you want to be Sheriff, we deserve to see your response to what Chief Haines is doing right now. All eyes are on you, Chief.  We deserve to get the chance to see you handle an issue that is difficult to find a solution.

This is not a situation that you can ride the fence on. You either know what needs to be done or not. This is an US vs THEM situation.  We know you understand the resentment and anger we feel being short changed this way. You have said your hands were tied, but we are here to tell you, you hold all the power. Can you handle it, Chief? We need a leader who doesn’t want to screw us. Yes, this is a tough situation you are in, but you get chose to be right where you are.  Asking for your input is a cry for help honestly. We have nobody to turn to in the administration because all of them are so scared of the reaction if they make someone mad. You are the only person in a position to take a stand. Sheriff Morgan has already named you as the person that should take the job. He can’t back away now. You have support of the public but if you can’t manage to MAN UP, the loyalty of your deputies will not be with you. We have been led by a cut-throat, non-LEO who has broken so many people. We will have your back, will you have ours?

It’s your time to shine or fade into Morgan/Haines. What’s it going to be, Chief?

what now

Deputy Response to Haines Email

The prediction made concerning the bully behavior and tactics by Haines has now been confirmed. Many of you read the post a couple of days ago about this issue. The path that Haines would follow was clearly explained. He exploited the weak leadership of PBA. He didn’t accomplish what he wanted so in the typical Haines/Morgan fashion throws a baby fit and takes his ball and goes home. This is not the behavior of professionals nor is this behavior what the ECSO employees deserve from the leaders of the agency.

Appearance:

On its face, as Haines’s email is written, it appears that he is attempting to be completely transparent and attempting to keep the employees informed. His email creates the illusion that he has been open and honest with the entire process. In fact, he even feigns some sort of personal hurt by not being able to facilitate a solution to this terrible problem that has harmed the beloved employees of the ECSO. By God, he is still dedicated enough to his mission that he has extended another opportunity for PBA to do the right thing. He even puts a deadline that would cause happiness for his troubled heart to achieve a solution to this issue adversely impacting the employees he serves.

True Meaning:

For those of us who can decipher BS, I would like to translate what his email actually says. Working for this man for the number of years that I have and knowing him personally, I am in the position to expose his maniacal intentions with this email. As to the $2200 raise to all deputies including trainees, this is laughable. Haines has argued in the past that veteran deputies are not entitled to raises during a probationary period after a promotion. Now he believes $2200 across the board is the best plan for even those not even trained to be deputies. This statement just divided any officer under the rank of sergeant from those who are aware of the importance to standing strong for a contract providing job security. Haines has separated those that will get a raise and fight for his cause and those that know what Haines is capable of as it relates to job security. The ones slated for a raise will argue that the contract should be agreed on immediately. This is playing both groups of deputies, veterans and new recruits/trainees against each other. As it stands, it would be more beneficial financially for the veteran deputy to quit and reapply, giving up his seniority for the all mighty dollar. The veteran deputies just became more compressed, and that was what Haines argued so vehemently against to the BOCC.

Also, he just gave himself $2200 to spend at his discretion in lapse salaries. There are hundreds of thousands of salary dollars that have been wasted because of vacant positions. Every vacant position just gave an irresponsible administration another $2200 to waste at their discretion. When it is explained, it is clear Haines actually gave himself free money to use at his discretion and didn’t have the deputies best interest in mind. He increased the amount of money that is available for useless spending which they have proven is so dear to their hearts. He made himself the “good guy” with the sub-set of deputies, created by his rhetoric, he says will get them a raise no matter what! However, he is the one obstacle in veteran deputies getting raises.

As the email continues, Haines specifically explains all his issues with the contract. One of the changes he wants is with the discipline matrix. He tries to convince the deputies that he wants the change made so that certain violations that are level E could be reduced as to not be automatic termination. Then Haines continues that there were others either up or down. That statement sounds relatively benign and any reasonable person would think it is harmless. However, this is another example of where Haines spins the subject to brush over the issues creating the problem. Why didn’t he specifically discuss “several other violations that we also requested for the range to go up or down”? The answer is because in that brief seemingly innocent statement were issues that weaken the contract and strip employees of security in the job. He took the time to mention the one benefit to Morgan but not the one that causes the real problem. It is worth noting that Morgan (Haines) often ignore the discipline matrix if the employee has been determined unworthy of being treated in a manner that is fair. Employees have been terminated when the matrix and the DRB (Disciplinary Review Board) suggested termination was not appropriate. Again, Haines appears the “good guy” and others are interfering with his distribution of unicorns and rainbows.

Continuing through the lies in this email, a scenario of patience and understanding is described. Time and again, Haines worked through with PBA causing delays such as illness and other reasons that were understood by Haines. His fluttering angel wings and shiny halo in place, Haines is always at the ready to discuss issues that have been known for years and needed to be finalized. The troublesome “loopholes”, that were being exploited by those cast off for failure to honor the privilege of a law enforcement career under the Honorable Thelbert Morgan, had to be closed. The “loopholes” he speaks of are rights protected by state and federal law.  A contract, even one negotiated by Haines, can’t deny an employee the rights provided by law. I will admit there are many issues that would benefit Haines/Morgan when the torturous acts they embrace of preparing employees for termination begins. The problem is the PBA contract can’t give them permission to violate law. Maybe Haines should put in a bid for a lawmaker’s seat. He is trying to trick deputies into signing a contract that makes the likelihood of being fired for arbitrary violations of loyalty more likely and making job security non-existent, all for a raise.  A better idea would be to avoid the innate desire to harm good people because of his demented philosophy of how to be an effective leader. Machiavellian is the only word to describe this attempt to roll a raise into a contract that negates job security. He fails to realize that the contract exists to protect employees from people like him. Haines maliciously is trying to buy deputies’ right to work with the $9 million dollars given to the ECSO for deputies.

To the leadership of the PBA:  it is time to step up and do the right thing. This position isn’t easy and it is not for the weak. If you are scared right now and wishing you were not a leader in PBA, it is not likely you are the man for the job. There is no shame in honesty. Step down and walk away. Allow a true leader to move into your spot and save the rights you have left. It isn’t about you and has everything to do with the future of so many honorable people.  You are dealing with peoples’ lives and more importantly the ripple effect of causing deputies to flee the drama and trauma of this administration. Less deputies perpetuates crime but I guess that is the goal of the criminals running the show.

 

Confirmation that BOCC was Duped!!

I got this at 11:15 am.

Members of the ECSO:

For those who want the short version:

Negotiations with the PBA have no end in sight so the Sheriff is distributing the first $1 Million Dollars under the current contract rules and is not waiting for a new contract which would be required for the new pay plan. We will be using the entire $1 Million dollars to adjust the annual salaries for our deputies below the rank of Sergeant (recruits and trainees included) by $2200 which is where we have the most attrition, retention, and recruiting issues. This will be retroactive to 5/1/2018, which is when the Sheriff received the money. It is most desirable to have a comprehensive and predictable pay plan and it is the Sheriff’s hope that the NWFPBA sits down in good faith to negotiate a contract before the next distribution of raises in October.

For those who want the long version:

As you are all aware, after a long and hard fight by Sheriff Morgan with the County Commissioners a settlement was entered into that will add a projected $9 Million Dollars over the next three years to the ECSO personnel budget. It was our hope that this money could not only ensure our 3% raises for the next 3 years but that it could also create competitive pay scales, fix compression, and address other issues in our current pay plan. The BOCC had paid for a salary study that was mostly complete but would require modifications and significant contract changes to implement. Promotional amounts, back pay, annual raise amounts, elimination of the previous copyrighted DBM system, classifications, guaranteed amounts, contingencies, etc. all needed to be changed in HR Rules and the contract. The pay plan will take three years to implement and as such, a three year, whole contract will need to be signed. Being that the contract was going to be open, there were other issues that needed to be addressed as well.

Last August, the Sheriff requested negotiations and sat down with NWFPBA to make modifications to the Discipline Matrix which the NWFPBA had always told him was “a work in progress”. He specifically requested the negotiations to reduce some mandatory Level “E” violations that were automatic terminations. There were several other violations that we also requested for the range to go up or down. The implementation of the discipline matrix was never bargained for. It was requested by the PBA and simply signed as an MOU between contracts. It was not incorporated into the last contract and as such it needs to be incorporated the next time the contract is opened. The negotiations over the matrix last year were never followed up on as we knew eventually we would be sitting down for a pay plan negotiation and they would be decided on then.

A second issue that needed to be addressed while the contract was open was due to issues in arbitration and discipline that needed to be clarified. This was not a surprise to the NWFPBA leadership as we had told them over the past year that some of the PBA contracted attorneys and non PBA attorneys have been trying to find loopholes in our contract that were never intended to exist. In fact, almost every change we were requesting have been the past practice or the intent of the current contract as admitted to by the past and present PBA presidents. For example, we currently have an arbitration of a terminated employee that has been filed for over a year. Their attorney hasn’t even picked a date for it as there are no deadlines in our current contract. In another instance an employee decided to file an EEOC complaint while concurrently proceeding with the arbitration process. This has never been allowed as employees have been required to pick one forum or the other. One of the big issues is the level of proof needed in the arbitration–whether it should be preponderance of evidence vs clear and convincing evidence. In each of these three instances, the ECSO took the exact language DIRECTLY from the contracts that the State PBA negotiated with the FHP, the State Agents, and the State Law Enforcement Officers in December of 2017 that would solve the ECSO’s concerns. Apparently, for some reason that the local NWFPBA President admits he cannot explain to me, that language is now not acceptable to the PBA.

We have tried to negotiate in good faith with NWFPBA. In the first three sessions we met with their executive leadership they chose not to have their attorneys present. They just requested for our attorneys to send our proposed language for discipline and arbitration to their attorneys. To be kind, we got a minimal response at best and didn’t hear anything until the day before the next negotiation. For the third session, their lead attorney fell ill but their back up attorney who was supposed to advise them during the negotiation break was unable to assist them. Even giving them an additional two business days to work through their issues they now say they want to set up negotiations two more weeks out.

At this point there isn’t much to negotiate. NWFPBA knows what the pros and cons are with what we are proposing. It is our opinion that only the negative is leaking out of negotiations. Very few people are even aware of how much of a raise they would have received (averaging all employees together it is a 23% increase. The PBA has your individual amounts.). When the Sheriff fought a politically bloody fight and the PBA sat and watched from the sidelines he ended up negotiating with the BOCC for the largest raises the ECSO has ever seen. There are some things in the final negotiation he didn’t necessarily like, but the whole package was worth it.

NWFPBA will have to consider this for the second distribution of raises that will occur in October as the Sheriff is no longer waiting to distribute this first $1 Million Dollars that he received from the BOCC in his Personnel budget. The money will go in its entirety to where the most vacancies and attrition is occurring which is deputies. Starting pay for all deputy and trainee positions below the rank of Sgt. will be receiving a salary adjustment of $2200 to their annual salary. It is also our intention to make it effective retroactively to when the Sheriff received the money which would be 5/1/2018.

We will no longer be negotiating with the NWFPBA without their attorneys present as it appears it was a wasted effort. We have asked them to provide dates so we can begin another attempt to negotiate a contract before the October raises.

For the Sheriff,

Chief Deputy Eric Haines

Time to Speak Up!

I am saddened to say that my prediction regarding Morgan misusing money given to him for deputy raises, has actually proven true. Yesterday, my phone LIT up with ECSO people calling me to let me know they have gotten word they are effectively NOT getting the raises.

Here are a couple of communications I received yesterday:

The administration has not provided any information, to the employees, to help us understand NOT getting the raises we were promised.  The raises have been funded but have not been given to the employees.  Morgan has proven that he and his administration are “in it to win it” for their own selfish reasons.  

We were supposed to get a payout in July, that was pushed til October. The Sheriff is trying to say we will get 3% and then he will decide how to distribute the rest that is best for the deputies… but he will have control over that.

The public has been coming up to the deputies saying they are happy they got their raise, they deserve it. They don’t know the deputies haven’t received it. That’s a good one to get out there now!

To better explain the dynamics a deputy explained the politics going on behind this:

Let me explain the real reason there isn’t a raise being given as promised. Just as always, Eric Haines has got involved in an otherwise simple process. What does that mean for those unfortunate enough to be exposed to poor leadership routinely displayed by Haines? It means that to simply pass on the money given for the employees raise will not happen easily. Haines will use the money waiting to be passed on to employees as a bargaining chip. Haines has decided to use the money to strong arm the union to opening contract negotiations and made the raises a part of the contract negotiation process. This is a clear example of how devious Haines has been through his reign of terror under the Morgan administration. Haines routinely misleads, misguides, misinforms or misdirects what information he distributes. He creates the appearance that he is always the “good guy” and everyone else in any process is causing problems beyond his control. In this case the PBA will be blamed as the “bad guy” by Haines. Haines will hide behind the PBA not being willing to negotiate a contract that would have given a raise to deserving employees.

Truthfully, the PBA should have never entered into any type of contract negotiation relating to pay increase for employees. The pay raises that were negotiated with the BOCC were never contingent upon agreement of PBA agreement. Also, consider how foolish it sounds to even suggest there would be a chance the PBA would argue against all employees receiving a raise. I would never be part of a labor union that would fight against me getting a pay increase. It is laughable that Haines could even suggest that this is a possibility with a straight face.  The truth is Haines took advantage of an opportunity. He exploited the weak leadership of PBA. He convinced Lee Tyree, the PBA president, that it would be “stronger” and have “teeth” if it were in the contract. Fact is the compensation topic is in the contract currently and in the Human Resource Rules as well. The contract says that deputies will receive a 3% pay increase every year. The contract states that a 3% increase for salaries will be requested each year when presenting the ECSO budget to the BOCC. Employees went years without getting 3% in pay increases. The contract didn’t have teeth on that issue, so it would be ludicrous to believe it would have teeth now. Haines realizes that Tyree is weak and exploited his spineless leadership. He forced Tyree to place himself in a position to be blamed for employees not getting a raise. Haines can spin the situation that he tried to do the right thing, but PBA caused employees to not get a raise.  Haines gets a lump of cash to blow in anyway he sees fit and employees are screwed again without blaming Haines.

One may ask why it is important to Haines to hold hostage the pay raises given by the BOCC and force contract negotiations to be opened. It is easily explained. Having weak PBA leadership was a step in the right direction. This opened the door for Haines to ignore employee rights given by contract and violate laws relating to employee rights. Tyree, being weak and ineffective as a leader, allowed this conduct to blossom without opposition as PBA leader. Partly for self-serving reasons and partly because he lacked experience or the desire to protect wronged employees, Tyree created the almost perfect storm for Haines. The one fact that was in the way of Haines having full control to ruin employees he deems as less than worthy or in his way was the PBA contract. Employees that separated from the ECSO who were willing to call foul on the abusive and often illegal behavior of Morgan and his incompetent administration did have parts of the PBA contract to use as defense in cases being litigated currently. Haines seen the pay raises as an opportunity to finally use Tyree and his incompetent leadership of PBA to his advantage one more time. All the contract details Haines believes interferes with his ability to ruin employees at will could be easily carved out by attaching his wish list to the raises. Employees couldn’t say no to a pay raise and therefore the parts of the contract protecting employees from the sadistic behavior of Haines gone with an affirmative vote of a new and improved contract created by Haines himself. Haines is not hindered if employees try to use the contract for job protection when targeted by him because any of the contract that had teeth was voted out by the employees needing protection. Haines can again claim “not me” I am only following the rules. Meanwhile, Tyree is being paid by membership dues for a job well done for the Morgan administration. Seems a bit unfair if I am being honest.

The real story is Haines is aware of what he is doing, and Tyree is responsible for allowing himself to be placed in a position that only harms the employees. If Haines had any shred of decency in his being, he doesn’t and never has, he would have not taken advantage of a situation and place employees in a situation to choose earning a living wage or stand strong for job protection. Haines should have simply passed the money given for employees pay to the employees for pay increases. This is blatant proof of the dishonorable and pathetic behavior so many have complained about when describing Morgan and his band of maggots. This behavior displays just how devious Haines is when working toward total control and no accountability for corrupt actions. This dedication is what Morgan seeks from those around him and what he has obtained from those still in the cartel he calls staff.

The employees should demand from PBA that the leadership be replaced. Tyree should attempt to achieve some dignity and resign his position in PBA. He should apologize for failing the employees in his miserable attempt to lead PBA and never take another penny for the job of being president of this union. His incompetence has allowed so many honorable employees to suffer and now they stand to be penalized further by not receiving a pay increase they deserve. It is awful to imagine that Tyree is the only paid PBA member and he is the exact reason for this tragic turn of events that will cause only harm to all ECSO employees many of whom pay membership dues to compensate his failed attempt to lead the union tasked with the responsibility to represent them. I could never imagine giving another payment for membership to a union that allows this type of leadership to be compensated with my hard-earned money.

This is the what is happening, in real time. My argument all along during the BOCC budget negotiations was that if Morgan misappropriated money in LET Fund, why on Earth give him more money over and above for ANYTHING? There is no check and balance to make sure he is using the money appropriately.

This seems to have resonated to some commissioners as the Shade Meeting of 2/15/18 pg 38-39 has the following comment referencing this very issue:

COMMISSIONER MAY: Because I want to understand, Mr. Chairman. If we have given them a 3 percent raise since I know that I have been in office and Steve has been in office, why does it go down? I understand he says the cost — I mean, I don’t understand that. I mean, the salaries should have gone up; correct?

COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR BROWN: All we can do is look at what they are budgeting, the amount of  money that we gave them and what they are reporting to the FDLE.

COMMISSIONER MAY: So the money is going somewhere else…….. Here’s my point, Grover, to what you just said. If we have given raises — every year we have given 3 percent — there is a technical, internal fight that we are having with the Sheriff that we are going to get resolved one way or another through mediation.
There is another whole public fight that is happening that we’re losing, and we have been losing for 24 months, in which the public perceives we are not doing exactly what we should be doing for law enforcement.

So to those of us who see Morgan for what he is and his disregard for his duty to his community and now his deputies, let’s look at his emissary who is touting his connection to PBA (who is a corruptable organization, by letting Haines use them as the sword to cut rights and possibly pay to the deputies it is supposed to protect from such fleecing) and his support of giving Morgan WHATEVER he wanted in the budget talks.

So to recap:

  1. Deputies have NOT received the raises they were supposed to get in the protracted budget “negotiations” that Doug Underhill, Commissioner, seeking re-election, supported FULLY. He also is supported in his candidacy by the supporting the agency (PBA) that is being used to deny those raises unless deputies agree to decreased rights to get said raises.

  2. BOCC gave Morgan millions over the current budget for the purposes of giving his deputies a living wage to make sure they and their families were made whole.

  3. Morgan held raises under the guise of some sort of vote. Still not seeing the problem with that, deputies went along with the promise of the raises coming and reassurances of them being backdated.

  4. Haines convinced PBA president, Lee Tyree, who endorsed Underhill for District 2, (probably in exchange for Underhill supporting the Sheriff’s histrionic bullying for raises he never gave) to open up the entire PBA contract to reduce language which will essentially make it easier for him to bypass the rights of his deputies and rolling it into a omnibus vote.  Deputies must accept limited rights in order to get raises. If they choose not to do so, the raises will be fully discretionary by the Sheriff or not given at all.

    I would say “I told you so” but I don’t take any pleasure in seeing this come to pass. As I have contended all along, this is the time Chip needs to stand for his deputies or time for him withdraw his filing. Deputies will not allow him to get very far if he tows the Morgan/Haines line in taking advantage of them.

    This should show everyone the nefarious alliance with Morgan by anyone (Underhill or Simmons) is a cancer to the community. It is also time for the citizens to force Pam Bondi and Governor Scott to remove this leach from the county without haste. Indictments for misappropriation are easy to prove right now.

    *****If you are PRO-LEO, you have to insist Morgan and Haines be held to the same standard any other person who steals $2.1 million (Morgan-LET) and those who lie to the BOCC for the purposes of misleading the county without any intention of providing using the money given for raises to said deputies (Haines) ******

This is the time to let your voice be heard.  There is a conspiracy here that has been in place since day one and you the people of the county were the ones, scammed. Are you better off with these jokers making policy????