Big Fat Liar!

Eric Haines must have a bet with someone about how many lies he can cram into a certain time frame. Last weekend, I got a copy of an email from internally in the ECSO. It was sent 3/16/18 at 4:41 pm. Literally, the last minute of the business week. It reads:

Sat Mar 17 2018 18_45_31 GMT-0500Sat Mar 17 2018 18_44_42 GMT-0500

I received this and immediately asked Commissioner Jeff Bergosh what fell apart. He had no idea Haines had sent this email, nor was he ever contacted to say that something was wrong. The BOCC ratified and signed an agreement sent to them by Haines and Champagne. Nothing was changed after that. There is even proof in this PNJ article:

Escambia County and Sheriff David Morgan reach preliminary budget agreement

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Five months after Sheriff David Morgan appealed his budget to Gov. Rick Scott’s office, the Escambia County Commission has voted 3-2 on a preliminary budget settlement.

The budget settlement is a four-year agreement that will implement a pay plan for deputies that will increase the sheriff’s budget by $1 million this year and pay the Sheriff’s Office $2.6 million each year for the next two years. The final year of the agreement would provide the Sheriff’s Office with $2.9 million

Morgan filed an appeal in October to the governor’s office asking for more than $2 million in additional funds for the 2017-2018 fiscal year to address pay compression issues that he said are causing his office to lose deputies faster than they can be replaced.

Funding for the agreement will come from cuts to outside agencies. Funding for outside agencies, except for Pathways for Change and Community Health Northwest Florida, will be cut by 50 percent. An additional $125,000 will come each year from the commissioners’ discretionary fund, which represents a reduction of 50 percent to discretionary funds.

The commission voted on the mediation agreement after a closed-door, attorney-client session Thursday morning.

The agreement will still have to be ratified with an formal interlocal agreement between the Sheriff’s Office and the county. The changes to the budget will also have to be approved with budget amendment votes.

“We are encouraged by the progress to properly compensate our deputies,” ECSO Chief Deputy Eric Haines said to the News Journal in a written statement. “Until the final agreement is signed by the BOCC, we feel it is inappropriate to discuss the details of the settlement.”

Commissioner Lumon May wanted to postpone the vote until it was clear how much each outside agency would lose in funding. He added 30 minutes was not enough time to debate a measure that would commit millions of dollars.

A list of 16 outside agencies was attached to the mediation agreement. The list included groups from the Pensacola-Escambia Economic Development Commission to United Way. The agencies were allocated a total of $1.3 million from the county, but it was unclear how much funding, if any, each agency could lose.

According to the county’s adopted budget, the county allocated $1.68 million to outside agencies.

The agreement limits funding for outside agencies in future years to $734,374.

May asked County Attorney Alison Rogers if the attached list was the complete list of affected outside agencies, and she said she did not know.

“That’s valid enough to postpone this vote, Mr. Chairman,” May said. “For the record, your legal counsel has told you, she’s not clear on it, but you’re still going to vote on it.”

Commission Chairman Jeff Bergosh said the agreement is a step forward but will require tough decisions.

“None of this is easy, and there’s a give and a take,” Bergosh said.

Commissioner Steven Barry said the agreement removes the right of the board to set the county’s budget and he was concerned about the language dealing with the law enforcement trust fund.

“The language referencing the LETF funds says ‘if possible’ and ‘when feasible,'” Barry said. “That’s a win on a relatively small dollar amount per year. We’re giving somebody else the authority to not just fund them, but to have another constitutional (officer) to have direct control over the way that we prepare the budget.”

The law enforcement trust fund is made up of money seized by police from suspected criminal activity and can vary in amount from year to year. In the last three years, the balance has swung from $342,000 to $746,000.

Commissioner Grover Robinson said he would do everything he could to support continuing to fund outside agencies any way he could.

“This is an agreement that moves us forward,” Robinson said. “Nothing happens until we have a final document here. I think there is merit in us moving this forward and still evaluating where we go. I think the people want to see us trying to negotiate through this. I don’t disagree, gentleman, with what y’all have problems with in here.”

Commissioner Doug Underhill said the board showed leadership by cutting their discretionary funds, but said he expected commissioners to get calls from the outside agencies facing cuts.

“The only answer to that is, is your budget more important than public safety in Escambia County, and obviously the answer to that is going to be no,” Underhill said. “Most of them will recognize that these are tight times, and we’re tightening our belts.”

Underhill said the only other option was to raise taxes, which, he said, nobody wants.

“We are moving away from that kind of personality-based politics and more toward policy and procedure-based governance,” Underhill said. “It took a lot of courage. I’m in a campaign this year, and so is Grover. And both of us voted for something that’s going to be unpopular with a lot of people. I think that says a lot for the type of government we have now here in Escambia County.”

Jim Little can be reached at jwlittle@pnj.com and 850-208-9827.

Even Underling leaves the table saying this is resolved to both sides satisfaction. Haines, Underhill, Champagne aka Team Morgan are all fine, but when it comes times for Hefe Morgan to sign on the dotted line after his representatives, Jack Brown, Alison Rogers and the commissioners, he refuses to sign.

An internal source at the ECSO claims Morgan never agreed to the 50% of the LET funds going towards SRO’s. That was the deal breaker. However, Haines goes to painstaking, agonizing levels to say that it was all these other issues in a video he does this past week full of charts. He goes on a 30 minute diatribe of how the county wants to “SCREW” the deputies. One absolutely false statement was that Henrique Dias was part of the negotiations leading up to the signing of the Interlocal Agreement. Henrique Dias has not been at work, or in Pensacola even for at least 6 weeks. Why would he chime in yet his name never appear anywhere at the 11th hour but not resume his duties as the CFO in this arrangement?  After all, Haines only took this position in negotiating because Dias was MIA.  He would be the one to argue the numbers being that he is the CFO and the Svengali of this chaos.

Putting aside the absolute ridiculousness & lies of this video, Rick Outzen even points out in an article titled “Is the BCC-ECSO Mediation Agreement Binding?”,

…However, the question is the mediation agreement binding. The mediation agreement only had one contingency -“3) This Agreement is contingent upon approval by the Board of County Commissioners.”

Outzen had another article in which he quoted Amber Southard as saying, “the mediation is a two-phase process that the ECSO considers the mediation agreement an ‘agreement in principal’ and  ‘then the Interlocal agreement is definitive.'”

This is the press release from Hefe Morgan on the 19th,

“The attempt to resolve the budget appeal through mediation appears to have been unsuccessful.

“Based on communication after the mediation, the BOCC staff wants to include any future contributions or cost increases to Worker’s Compensation, Unemployment Compensation, Florida Retirement System, and Health Care, as part of what was agreed to as a salary fix.

“The BOCC will be free to increase their own subsidies and the other constitutional officer’s subsidies over the next three years while keeping the Sheriff’s Office at current levels. There would be no way to project what an employee’s salary would be in three years if subsidy increases have to come out of the salary dollars.

“We cannot go into the details of the mediation per a confidentiality agreement. More work was to be done to flesh out the details of the Mediation Settlement as evidenced the BOCC’s County Attorney (who was present during the mediation) drafting a more detailed Interlocal Agreement that was sent to us last week for review and input. There now seems to be some internal conflict between the Commissioners concerning the agreement.

“In addition, the BOCC is now attempting to unilaterally define the Mediation Settlement by casting aside the more detailed draft Interlocal Agreement. We asked the BOCC to join a conference call with the mediator on Friday to clarify the issues. They declined.

“If the Commissioners are now being told that the mediation settlement was always meant to be the final language in the Interlocal Agreement, we would encourage them to individually and directly contact the mediator for clarification of that point.

“We will not accept any settlement that prevents the full implementation of the salary study or fails to correct the gross underfunding of ECSO salaries. We are fully confident that when the facts are presented to the Governor that he will decide in the ECSO’s favor.

“We are attaching the working copy of the Interlocal Agreement that was abandoned by the BOCC. Their initial draft is in black. Our additions and clarifications are in red.”

Everything points to everyone except Morgan on the same page until Friday afternoon. If the reasons they point out were not the REAL issues as all indicators suggest (no balking up until the last minute),  what could be the reason?  Again internally, it is said to be the LET caveat. Morgan doesn’t want his promised political money touched. That seems to be the best explanation offered.

On Friday,  Jeff Bergosh posted on his blog a story that illustrates the facts of what happened concisely. It reads (along with comments):

Haggling over that Brand New Truck…..

What would you think of a dealership that, after haggling back and forth over price with you and agreeing to a $50,000.00 “out the door” deal for your new truck–tried to change the price back to $54,999.99 at document signing???

The Dealership wants the absolute top-dollar for the shiny brand new truck.

The customer realizes the value of the truck, likes the product, does his research, does his homework, figures out what a fair price is, and he goes to the dealership–because he needs a new truck.

The buyer arrives on the lot and spots the brand-new, fire-engine red full-sized pickup he wants.  Shortly thereafter, a salesman arrives.

The buyer takes a test drive, looks the truck up and down, and looks at the sticker knowing he cannot and will not pay that full retail cost of $55,000.00–because that price is an inflated price and other dealerships have sold similar trucks for around $50,000.00.

“Are you willing to make a deal on this truck–are you the decider on the price?”  the buyer asks.

“Absolutely–make me an offer!”  says the salesman.

“I’ll give you $45,000.00  total today–in cash, out the door” says the buyer.

“Okay, I’ll see if I can go that low, I’ll go run some numbers with the sales manager” The salesman states.  A few minutes later, the salesman returns, and he looks the buyer in the eyes and says “We can’t go $45,000.00–but we can make a deal at $50,000.00.”

“Out the door?” asks the buyer

“Out the door” states the salesman

“You’ve got a deal–$50,000.00 out the door!” says the buyer.  As the salesman and the buyer exchange a firm handshake and look each other in the eye, the buyer says “I’m going home to get the cash, my wife will have to approve this but she wants this truck more than I do, so you have a deal!”  Excitedly the buyer heads home to get the $50K.  On the way out the door, he calls out to the salesman “Get it prepped and gassed I’ll be back in half an hour!”

Upon his return, with his wife and a shoebox full of $100.00 dollar bills totalling $50,000.00 in tow–the salesman ushers the couple into a cramped cubicle….

“Here’s the $50k, where do I sign?” asks the buyer.

“Okay, well about that deal………our finance guy has been out for awhile, and the manager has overruled my deal–you see, we need to charge you for tag, title, fees, underbody rust protection, gap insurance, roadside assistance and also the dealer prep fees”

“Okay–I get that” says the buyer–“Subtract that out of the total and balance the deal at $50,000.00–because we made a deal–$50,000.00 cash out the door—we shook on that!”

“I’m sorry sir, the manager told me to tell you NO” said the salesman looking down, not making eye-contact…. “but here is some good news–once we add in the items I’ve been told MUST be added back, your new total price is only…..$54,999.99″  Now, do you want to start re-negotiating, I can go get my manager, we can take all that cash and work out some new terms for the difference……”

“Wow–are you serious?!?”  Says the buyer.  “I don’t want to re-negotiate, I want this truck for the price you and I agreed on and shook on–because that is the honorable way to negotiate!”

“I’m sorry sir,  the manager won’t let me honor our deal” says the salesman looking straight down at the floor.  “I’m really sorry…”

“You ARE SORRY, and Your dealership IS SORRY!” says the buyer

8 comments:

Eric Haines said…

To continue the story, the salesman, who had been burned by this customer before, was smart enough to have had the conversation in front of an independent third party who could, through a phone call, confirm that the agreed upon price specifically didn’t include the tax, tag, title, and insurance and that those issues were to be worked out in the finance officer’s office. He also had another, more informed, more influential buyer in Tallahassee, that in a few short months would likely buy the truck for full price on a payment plan. In addition, the truck was necessary to provide vital services to the public and should have been purchased years ago. Only a year ago the buyer had said he had no money at all for a truck and would for 2 years, but now, 9 months later, he had $50k to buy a truck.

The buyer was pretty upset when he later found out that the salesman had in actuality only been looking at the floor in disappointment at the predictability of the customer. He immediately held his head high and called the customer in Tallahassee as he could care less what this local customer thought about him. He knew that the customer’s Yelp reviews were rarely looked at in high esteem as they were usually twisted and exaggerated.

Jimmie Lee Staley said…

And that Chief Deputy Nonsense, is Nonsense. This stage is open for all to see. Your agency’s actions don’t jive with your words. You cannot change that. What was said and what was done are left to history. No spin from you or Hefe Morgan is going to make this look like anything but what it was….re-neg. Pure and simple…

Anonymous said…

I love the stories. Why don’t you just go to the Governor anyway?

Anonymous said…

I guess this is inside baseball. Though it is quite funny. My take on this is this, So there is a deal, but the owner (Mr. Dupe the Welsh) of the dealership had cold feet and the salesman really did not have authority to sign the contract, so Dupe the Welsh, well, Welshed. And Dupe the Welsh thinks his daddy, who owns another, bigger dealership in Tallahassee, is going to buy the truck at full retail with Uncle Sam III’s money. Unfortunately for Dupe the Welsh, everybody knows how much he hoodwinks and fleeces everyone as his dealership falls apart. Even Tallahassee daddy knows Dupe the Welsh is a con and refuses to reward Dupe the Welsh, well, for his welsh and doesn’t buy the truck. Tallahassee daddy tells Dupe the Welsh to keep the truck and try to sell it next year. Of course, everyone hates Dupe the Welsh, especially all of his beleaguered salesmen who missed out on additional salaries from the signed deal Dupe the Welsh, well, welshed. Dupe the Welsh, who is getting long in the tooth, retires and only one year later, no one remembers him, ever. A new owner comes to power, one who is reasonable, a former salesman and mentally stable who keeps his word. The dealership thrives, car sales increase, car salesmen make money and the world returns to normal.

Anonymous said…

I don’t know why anyone is surprised about this at all. This is Haines and Morgan’s MO. They mislead the public with fake data and string along the employees with visions of grandeur that never happen. This moronic response from the Chief Deputy of a large law enforcement agency should enlighten the public to the toxic style of leadership running the Sheriff’s Office. I have tried to approach this with an open mind, but when one side sends in the incompetent second string to negotiate knowing it would be rejected, I can only shake my head in dismay. In a radio interview Haines said the county had duped them before, well I remember the jail negotiations so the Sheriff seems to be leading in that category now. The Sheriff needs to stop bullying his way to Tallahassee and grow a set. Negotiate in good faith and do the right thing for the deputies. If the Governor sides for the Sheriff now after receiving an offer of $9 Mil over three or four years, then we are all in trouble because Morgan is unstoppable. For God sake don’t let Haines talk for you. Oh yes and Jeff, you really need to tone it down. It is obvious that the issue you are most vocal about are personal and not for the good of the public.

Anonymous said…

I have tried to have an open mind also. I think it boils down to most on the BCC think the sheriff could have given raises with his budget as it was. Perhaps, because the position of sheriff is a direct constitutional officer it is not good practice in Florida since there are really not the correct checks and balances of power like the board, although that is definitely a struggle for funds there also. I think with social media as it is, things have changed as far as the original intent of secret ballots, representative democracy and honoring the system. People always disagreed in the past and the vote was a balance of power with out all the haggling and discussion. The vote was done and it was over, end of deal. Perhaps the idea of a having the board go through a Public Information Officer and release things to a respected press would be better all in all for the board. Look at Facebook..What a disaster..politics and government all co mingled. Unsavory at times..

Anonymous said…

Anonymous10:42 Hopefully the baseball fans of Dupe the Welsh are left standing there looking stupid and wondering why everybody else saw this and bet on the other teams and they were left holding the ball. But you are probably right the new former sales man will come along and soon most will all be eating peanuts and cracker jacks in the stands again. But some good may have come out of watching the game. Time wounds all heels.

Anonymous said…

How were you duped? Sounds to me like you overloaded your arrogant backside. How can you and the Sheriffs Attorney sign the document after sitting through negotiates, leave the meeting and then cry that you were duped ? Appears to me you went back to your boss with the done deal and he didn’t like the deal you made. In order to save face with your boss and the employees you had to cry “they duped us” . You and the Attorney need to be replaced.

I think that says it all.  Morgan backed out because his minions didn’t get it right.  What a good leader? Why wasn’t he involve in the drafting of the Interlocal Agreement? Arrogance? Or was he and he was asleep at the wheel?

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Escambia County Sheriff’s Office: Apathy for Employees

I posted about Henrique Dias being absent from his post as the CFO of ECSO. It has now been 3 weeks and Dias has not been mentioned. It is implied he will not return. Dias has been at this agency for 20 years.  He’s 54 years old. He has 2 kids in college. Three weeks have passed without anyone actually checking to see why this long time employee just stopped coming to work. He’s not been reported missing.  Admin at the ECSO will not allow people to ask questions; no one has explained why this top echelon employee isn’t there.

Am I really the only one who thinks that his absence, at this point in time, as well as Morgan’s absence for the better part of this time, is really fishy? The county budget for the ECSO was referred to the Governor; it is tax time in an agency with need of fiduciary guidance, yet no one is really concerned about the future of this agency or what it would mean if financial matters came to a halt for the employees?

Can someone who has worked beside people for years be so unimportant as to not draw attention when they inexplicably don’t show up for a prolonged period of time? Would you notice if your long term colleague stopped showing up? Would you call his wife to make sure he’s ok? Would you ask his neighbors if they had seen him? Would you expect your boss (who happens to run an agency that has a duty to locate people in the community) to silence people who ask questions or spread DISINFORMATION about their employee?

That is precisely what has happened here. Why the games? Why the apathy? If this agency can’t be truthful with its own ABOUT its own, can it be trusted to care about the nameless people it is suppose to protect?

Every life matters and this is a perfect example of what this agency thinks of the people in its trust. If there ever was a case where actions are louder than words, this is it.

If you stopped coming to work one day, wouldn’t you wish someone would feel a duty to find out why??

 

Where’s Henrique??

After several days and many, many corroborating sources, Henrique Dias, CFO of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is missing.  These are the facts that have been given to me:

  1. Dias has not shown up for work for 2 weeks. As a CFO of a county agency, that is highly unusual for a professional who makes one of the highest salaries in the agency and who has great deal of responsibility leveled upon him.
  2. Prior to not showing up last Monday for work, Henrique had made one of a series of trips to Tallahassee for “non-sheriff’s office business”.
  3. A new federal grand jury was convened this week in Tallahassee.
  4. The ECSO staff suggests that Henrique will not return to work, despite pending issues only he has the skill set to handle.
  5. Morgan has been MIA for a great deal of the same time.  Supposedly at Florida Sheriff’s Association training (a bit late for that) in Tallahassee. However, the conference for the Florida Sheriff’s Association is being held at Amelia Island for February 4-7, not Tallahassee.

I will let you draw your own conclusions. But my theory of this info is that since Henrique is not on leave, has not been reported missing by his family, is that he is being held or questioned in the illegal money handling that has been long speculated at the ECSO. This has been corroborated by one source, but no OFFICIAL word has been made.

If you have any info on this situation, please contact me.

Do You Really Know Your Sheriff? Part 2

In case there are any questions about the performance of Ye Olde Sheriff, please consider this: the LET investigation of money mishandling is simply another red flag.

For those who may not know, the failure to disclose his military record is because Morgan made a deal with the Air Force. They were investigating him for misappropriation of funds (government credit card). This is the story that has come out of close friends that would be “in the know”, but Morgan eventually screwed them over. That is also how Morgan met Susan. She was with OSI and investigated him. The Air Force allowed him to retire quietly but he had to go. No criminal charges if he chose to do so. This story comes from multiple directions but it is the same account. However, the documentation is not there for the general public.

But I’ll play the devil’s advocate for a moment. If this doesn’t problematic for you as something that is not tangible enough, there are other incidents that show a predilection or pattern of behavior.

LETTER-TO-SHERIFF panhandle politico

Recently a letter came out in PanhandlePolitico.com that was correspondence from an internal employee displaying the in-fighting that goes on with this administration, but the most fascinating thing in that letter is worth noting. It confirms what I have always suspected. The writer talks about flagrant disregard for checks and balances within the accounting department, especially as it pertains to seized assets. Henrique Dias, the CFO at the ECSO, seems to be less concerned about properly handling money than he is about employee retribution. We are not talking about children. We are talking about custodians of your money.

Henrique Dias is a character. He was arrested for soliciting a prostitute years prior to his employment. It was ultimately not prosecuted but after I shared this, last year, with many others via the Escambia Clerk’s site, it disappeared. Expunged most likely, but that doesn’t mean it did not happen. It is not just me but employees describe Dias as sketchy and over the last few years, he has ingratiated himself to Morgan–so much so, that Morgan put him in charge of his campaign money.

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This seems counterintuitive. A supervisor, who has one employee found to be stealing over $1 million but has no clue until she retires, seems like a poor manager. Then, to see that same CFO show reckless disregard in the previous correspondence mentioned, certainly doesn’t reassure a rational person that he is competent to handle more responsibility.

In a private sector job, Dias would be held responsible for the money that walked out the door under his nose–at some level, to some degree. Then when he failed to comply with checks and balances put into place to prevent such an occurrence again, his boss should be questioning his ability to handle the burden of the county’s money. But instead of that, Morgan lets him handle his personal campaign money too.  Things that make you go hhmmm…

Now getting back to Morgan’s money skill. While he was not charged criminally, a source close to the governor claims that the infractions brought to light in Escambia County with the mis-spending of the LET fund were a state-wide plague.  There are 64 counties in Florida and David Morgan’s perversion of this liberty is a symptom of a bigger issue that cannot be handled by arrest and prosecution. The governor opted to change the legislation to address the problem but there for a few days, before this was decided to be the method to which the governor would handle this mis-spending, Morgan got quiet.  He sought counsel with a private attorney.  Why?  There was a moment in time that he was not sure he was going to jail over this action. If his intentions were as pure as he claims, would this have been the case?

Here’s the point here. whether any of the military accusations are true or the LET fund spending was “uncriminal” may be up for debate. However, the fact that Cathy Lister stole $1 million of the county’s money, there is a problem.Read her story.

Then going back to the letter above. It took almost 3 years for a system to be implemented after that to prevent future theft. That is unacceptable. To add insult to injury for the CFO to be resistant to these changes which are beneficial to the community indicates he should not have a job, yet he is given Morgan’s money to “handle” for his campaign.  Why? There is more than a sliver of question as to the integrity of this administration’s money handling.

Where does the buck stop in this administration?

I have not even mentioned the jail. The money grab from the BOCC that turned into them taking away of the jail. Again why?  It was money. Morgan had no interest in the jail or the conservation of that responsibility. He wanted more money to play with and when he was questioned by Gene Valentino, he started a political feud with him and turned over the jail. Why?

If you have any question about the management or mismanagement of county funds, you must consider changing the tide and voting Morgan out. He is the common denominator of all the issues.

“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” – Arnold H. Glasow  

 

 

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