Accountability Still Not a Priority in Escambia

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So as many know I have been asking for emails to and from David Morgan and the national news outlets from 7/9-7/15/2009 (the Billings Murder). In 2015, Eric Haines attempted to extortion by demanding $50 for providing an estimate of $7000+ worth of emails. This extortion continued for 2 years. I could not request public records until I paid for an estimate that was crazy stupid. This is a public records violation in and of itself. Realizing how serious this was, Haines allowed me to request other records. How very white of him!

Anyway, the line the ECSO towed after this is that there were no records relevant to my request. Then last year it changed again; the line was “there was no records in the Sheriff’s custody to fulfill the request”. Even the response from Beth Medeiros has this line in quotes…no doubt a line Haines advised her to relay. You see the games they are playing, right? Well, I asked Hayley Minogue, former WKRG reporter, if she would request the same emails as to see if the answer would be the same or if they were just screwing with me. Sure enough, the quoted line was the response.

So, I analyzed the wording, “in the Sheriff’s custody”; ok, maybe there is a county backup server that I can request these emails from. So I emailed Shawn Fletcher, the IT director for the BOCC. I asked that very question. He explained the ECSO has its own backup server that is maintained by their head of IT, Will Meloy. He forwarded my request to Will and was confident that I should hear back by the end of the week. Two weeks pass and nothing. I email Shawn again asking if I understood him correctly and he said again they handle their own backups.

Why such pushback for these emails? I don’t know if there is anything in them but the pushback tells me 4 years later, there is something damning in there, because risking so many violations of Florida Statute over emails with nothing in them?

Reluctantly, I compiled all my documentation and forwarded it to SAO and Greg Marcille, specifically. I had zero confidence in this step as we all know the SAO has covered many crimes such as LET misappropriation for years. The AG and Governor were virtually worthless in years past, telling me to sue or go to the FBI. But we are talking about misdemeanors for the most part and that is not FBI worthy; hell, I knew that, but for public officials it is huge. The people enforcing the laws should comply with them. However, now we have a new AG and Governor, who seems to be no nonsense. I thought I’d try again.

Greg Marcille responded to me.

On Monday 5/13, I emailed Marcille for an update since 21 days had lapse. I was expectantly disappointed by an email from Jody, Marcille’s executive secretary saying the ECSO asked for more time to respond. When I asked how much time, I got crickets. So this was my next email:

As of yet, no response. Unaccountable AGAIN. Not a pair of balls in the county, I’m afraid. Nuclear it is.

Russian Roulette in Escambia

Public safety in Escambia County is officially a joke. EMS is falsifying certification, failing to train EMT’s. The fire department well, that is a known issue. They both fall under Public Safety in Escambia County.

In the past several days, Escambia County has seen changes in personnel at the management level. After some rumbling about poor leadership and questionable management practices individuals at the top levels are gone. The employees spoke out and received some well-deserved attention. The Escambia County Professional Firefighters, the representing union, took the initiative to act against labor practices that caused the employees to lose confidence in the leadership. The union brought attention to the problems that plagued the employees. The result was favorable to the employees and those performing inadequately in leadership positions are no longer hindering progress of those simply doing the job they are being paid to do.

The recent news is refreshing to many in other parts of the county working for inept leaders. The Escambia County Sheriffs Office is another example of a county agency void of effective leadership. The ECSO has been under the microscope for some length of time. Complaints of LET fund mishandling to numerous lawsuits of misconduct or mistreatment of employees are at a high never seen by any other Sheriff in this county.

The Northwest Florida Police Benevolence Association, the representing union for ECSO employees, could learn some moves from Professional Firefighters. If some action was taken by PBA to expose the corrupt practices that have become so common at the ECSO. The employees could work again with some degree of confidence the leadership had the ability to effectively lead the agency. Exposing the corruption would place in the open how ineffective and destructive David Morgan has been during his time as Sheriff.

The PBA was criticized during the budget debacle in 2018. Eric Haines used the leverage a raise would have on officers and open a contract that was not due to be negotiated. Haines lied to the BOCC and to any citizen that he tried to sway to his side of the argument. Haines was aware he could use the raise to strong arm the union. He didn’t care about the deputies getting a raise. He wanted to spend someone else’s money to achieve a diabolical goal of stripping the contract PBA had negotiated.

Haines argued continuously that the main problem facing the ECSO was officer retention. The truth is poor leadership is the cause of officers leaving the agency. The numbers do not show that the pay increase helped ECSO retain officers. The mass departure of experienced officers to other agencies continues to burden Haines. The main cause of failed leadership practices is the person that can determine the solution and there would be little expectation of Haines firing himself. He still believes he was an actual cop.

The Firefighters had less reason to complain than the officers at the ECSO. It is public knowledge that a Federal Judge has determined in a court decision that Haines had a bias toward female employees. It would be reasonable to believe that Haines should be removed from his position and Morgan should be investigated by the Governor. Any person in a leadership position should not be bias toward male or female. It is either ignorance or arrogance for Morgan to ignore the opinion found in court documents concerning Haines unprofessional behavior toward females. Morgan has the ultimate ability and a sworn duty to protect employees from predators like Haines.

The PBA should understand that sitting back playing catch up is not proven to be the best plan to achieve success. The ECSO has an observable history, with Morgan and Haines at the helm, that would demonstrate an absence of conscious and ability to take the agency into the future. The employees have the right to be protected by the union. The dues payments of the employees are for the purpose of job protection and PBA is responsible to attempt to provide that protection. All employees should call on the President of PBA to form a plan and seek a path that is best for employees. It can be done and was just proven to be an achievable goal by Professional Firefighters.

Kudos to the Firefighters for having the courage to make your own path and demand the leadership your professional talents deserve. Now the ECSO should be next to be evaluated, perhaps by the Governor as Doug Underhill suggested.

The most ironic part of that suggestion is that if the Governor does get involved it will be the entirety of local government that will be investigated including Underhill, who has been caught inappropriately using grant money to the tune of over $2m from the feds and state. He was asked to repay the money back to the county because he usurped money that he was not entitled to.

Bottom line, when you call 9-1-1, you are taking a huge risk of getting an inexperienced, poorly trained first responder, be it EMT, firefighter, or deputy. This is what the county is today.

Update on ECSO

Well, folks, it appears all the blocked/banned people can post on the ECSO FB page. No communication just quietly unblocked/unbanned. Score one for the good guys!

Also, I came across something today. It is something I already knew but it may be news to you. There is a packet of info circulating to the various news outlets. It’s referring to the upcoming Laura Montoya’s upcoming civil trial against Sheriff David Morgan, Chief Deputy Eric Haines, Fred Alford, and Ricky Shelby. Here is the cover page of the packet.




Jury Trial for Gross Misconduct for Morgan & Haines

So Morgan and Haines may be held to task for their gross misconduct by a former employee Laura Montoya, a Hispanic female.  One last settlement conference was yesterday and there was no real settlement offered and now it is on to jury trial. Montoya is the only employee out of the many who hasn’t settled, or given up on this long formidable legal proceedings. Congratulations, Laura!!!
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
PENSACOLA DIVISION
LAURA MONTOYA,
Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID MORGAN, Individually and
in His Official Capacity as Sheriff
Escambia County, Florida; ERIC
HAINES, Individually; RICKY
SHELBY, Individually; and FRED
ALFORD, Individually,
Defendants.
________________

For the foregoing reasons, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF

No. 78, is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, as follows:
1. Summary Judgment is GRANTED on all claims of race discrimination
and GRANTED for Defendant Alford on all claims;
2. Summary Judgment on Count I and Count II (First Amendment Retaliation) is GRANTED;
3. Summary Judgment on Count III (Equal Protection/gender) (Defendant
Sheriff , official capacity) is DENIED as to the demotion, GRANTED
as to the termination;
4. Summary Judgment on Count IV (Equal Protection/gender) (Individual
Capacities) is GRANTED for Alford on all claims, GRANTED for Shelby, Haines, and Morgan on claims respecting the termination decision, GRANTED on grounds of qualified immunity for Shelby, Haines, and Morgan on the demotion decision, and GRANTED
as to Shelby, Haines, and Morgan on the hostile work environment claim;
5. Summary Judgment on Count V (Gender Discrimination/Title VII and FCRA) (Defendant Sheriff, official capacity) is DENIED;
6. Summary Judgment on Count VI (Gender-Based Hostile Work Environment/Title VII and FCRA) (Defendant Sheriff, official capacity) is GRANTED;
7. Summary Judgment on Count VII (Race Discrimination) is GRANTED;
8. Summary Judgment on Count VIII (Race-Based Hostile Work Environment) is
GRANTED;
9. Summary Judgment on Count IX (Retaliation/Title VII and FCHR)(Defendant Sheriff, official capacity) is GRANTED;
10. Summary Judgment on Count X (Conspiracy, Section 1985) and Counts XI
and XII (Section 1986) is GRANTED.
Trial will be scheduled by separate order.
DONE AND ORDERED this 30th day of September 2018
M. CASEY RODGERS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Let the games begin…get these “honorable” citizens under oath. The lies will then begin flowing.  The people can then pass judgment.

A Tale to Tell

This came to me today from a source inside the ECSO.

 

We are in a time that society views sexual behavior of our leaders through a microscope, as well as the people in the workplace. We review what is right and what is wrong. Our views may not be the views of everyone. In fact, we have all heard of issues in the national media condemning people for issues that occurred over 30 years ago in some cases. That seems less relevant, but that does cause one to ask why society did not have the same thoughts about sexual harassment as they do now? It simply isn’t possible that people didn’t care about sexual harassment or sexual assault years ago, but there is a hypersensitive to sexual issues now. Story after story about people being affected by #MeToo movement. People are being used to further a movement that treats everybody the same, with facts being omitted, because the point is better made without facts. This is all an insult to people who have to deal with this situation.

CEOs across the country have turned a blind eye to the issues that could cause embarrassment or be problematic. This was done to save themselves all the pitfalls that come with addressing the sexual harassment, such as having spouses of married people becoming involved in the workplace issues. That can get messy, but this lack of formal acknowledgement, it appears there is a complicity to the harassment. If you are not part of solution, you are part of the problem.  The true intent of sexual harassment movements should be to inform the public and others of what is wrong with using sexual actions for any gain personally or in professional environments. In turning a blind eye, the message that this behavior is acceptable seems to rise to the top, not to mention the increase in employee tension, and the increased chance of being sued.  We should trust our leaders in the workplace to ensure that employees are being kept from sexual issues at the workplace because it is not conducive to any professional environment.  Leaders should be the gatekeepers of their employees’ overall well-being while they are at work.  Included in that is the ability to perform the work requirements effectively without undue restrictions or complications.  The responsibility to act appropriately at work falls on the workplace leaders, as well.

The leadership of the Escambia County Sheriffs Office has been questioned many times concerning leadership abilities. Names, such as Chief Deputy Eric Haines, are a frequently associated with criticism of failed leadership. The obvious question then, is why David Morgan as Sheriff does not stop Haines’s tactics are that clearly dismantling the agency? If not Morgan, couldn’t Chip Simmons, the man directly under the Sheriff do something? In fact, recently, a cry for help for went out to Simmons, when Haines held $9million + of deputies’ money and extorted the PBA into giving up rights to receive a reasonable wage. Could it be Simmons is not able to challenge Haines?  Could Simmons be in a situation that Haines controls him? The question would be then, what Haines could have to hold over a law enforcement professional and leader like Simmons? We know it isn’t knowledge, ability, respect, or experience. Haines has not even a small fraction of law enforcement ability that is displayed by Simmons. Simmons was a law enforcement officer for a living long before reaching a leadership position. Haines performed very little law enforcement duties in a brief period before rocketing into a leadership post. With all these things going for Simmons, with deputy support, why not throttle Haines?

Simmons has a reputation for being less than faithful to his marriage. I am not passing judgement but stating what the “shop talk” has always been. Its possible Haines could have information on Simmons that could cause embarrassment or sacrifice a bid for the top office.  It fits the scenario. Haines can be left to destroy lives and Simmons is in debt to him because of the information Haines has in his pocket. Simmons can enjoy the top spot and Haines has the continued joy of playing God judging subordinates and hailing down wrath on the future of others including Simmons. Simmons never answered the cry for help from the employees when their money was made a game for Haines to play with to achieve what he wanted, which was a loss of deputies’ rights in their contract. By not supporting the deputies, Simmons protected himself as well as Haines.

Maybe an investigation should be conducted by an outside agency to determine if this is true. If Haines has information that is being held, it is a violation of law. By federal law, sexual Harassment must be reported if Haines knows about it.  FYI sexual harassment can occur even if the person involved in sexual acts isn’t the victim. If such a thing occurred and two willing parties were sexually active and married, the spouses could have a case to be reported as a victim. Especially if one of the victims was working for one of the offenders in a leadership position and fearful of losing his job if it was reported his wife was involved in an affair with a person that could terminate his employment.

I think this is a subject we will soon be hearing more about. Haines should look deep and decide if he truly feels he has responded with the information he may possess as a true Christian would respond. Should he possess information that tears a family apart for his personal gain or should he do what the law says. I challenge Haines to do the right thing and finally be honest and be satisfied with the turmoil he has created thus far.

 

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.