Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

Recently, Commissioner Jeff Bergosh challenged Sheriff Morgan on his spending as Morgan acted out regarding the budget of the county. Morgan’s has misappropriated money from the LET fund to aid to private organizations for the political capital and possible monetary kickback, that smacks of backroom deals. No one seems to care. Not the Governor; not the Attorney General. The big question here is WHY?

So when Commissioner Bergosh was the first to MAN UP and say he wanted to see justification of how this money is spent ie fiscal responsibility, I was able to see the light at the end of the corruption tunnel. Such scrutiny, especially retroactively, would uncover numerous “good ole boy” transactions. However, upon looking at the LET report for August, I see further pillaging of the LET fund since that pronouncement by the commissioner. Assuming this was done as a rebellious act by the child Sheriff, I notified Commissioner Bergosh of the continuation of the mishandling of the money that should be going to better use.  Sadly, I was informed that, it will be September 9th, before anyone takes away Morgan’s checkbook.

I was flabbergasted. Morgan can continue to thumb his nose and spend “as he sees fit” just like Haines asserted he would in a recent social media comment. In effect, Morgan has a thousand dollars to just light a match to, without an ounce of oversight for another few weeks. The board agreed to tackle this issue after the budget is finalized.

To the public, this looks very much like the remedy the State Attorney said should put in place in the summer of 2016. In the FUTURE, someone will look into and redirect the crooked Sheriff.  The lack of immediate action gives credence to the Sheriff’s actions or at the least minimizes the wrong of it by not addressing it for what it really is, misuse of governmental money which is what the BOCC is responsible for. Every dollar, hereafter that is spent by the child Sheriff is done so with the blessing of the BOCC and a huge “screw you” to the citizens.

I get that the BOCC is covered up in issues but money management is huge and so is the doing the greater good for the most people. Ethically, that is the contract of trust with the public that is being broken with every check.  Silence consents. The Board is remaining silent until they can get to it, but at what cost?

This quote speaks to the court system but equally applies to the county leaders.

Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger noted in an address to the American Bar Association in 1970: “A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people and three things could destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value; that people who have long been exploited in the smaller transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights from fraud and over-reaching; that people come to believe the law – in the larger sense – cannot fulfill its primary function to protect them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public streets.

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Cognitive Dissonance & Fiscal Illiteracy

I know, I know—Big Words.  Cognitive dissonance is confusion resulting from dichotomous & opposing views about one principle.  Sir David is the personification of cognitive dissonance.  His latest publicly embarrassing rant is about deputy pay raises. Morgan fumes to WEAR:

“It’s nonnegotiable,” Sheriff Morgan exclaimed. “We’ll settle this in front of Governor Scott. We’re not going to negotiate this. This is nonsense, I’m done. I have a board of county commissioners unfortunately that appears to believe that they’re smarter than we are…..It’s OK for an officer to catch a bullet from a thug, but county commission won’t give them a pay raise.”

While these statements have a great deal of truth to them, the BOCC is smarter than any and all the admin at the ECSO & the officers that retired in 2009 had more longevity with greater performance based success that reflect in the crime numbers.  They also had higher standards to pass on a day to day basis. According to sources at the academy, as many as 65% don’t pass the full curriculum.  Of that remaining 35%, a high percentage  (what is estimated to be half) of them find their first couple of months in FTO, proves to them  that a place in this agency is not for them. Now that could be because the people being recruited come from PCC (sounds like a punchline but it is, unfortunately, true) or because the standards have been so low to populate approximately 2.5 times the number of classes churning through the academy than any other point in the last 15 years.

To get back to the cognitive dissonance of Morgan’s latest tantrum on the news lies in the fact that while he accuses the BOCC of letting his deputies “take a bullet for a thug” rather than get a raise, he fails to disclose the increase in the budget at the beginning of this year that he BLEW on hiring an “UnderSheriff” to soak up funds to populate 1 job position for 2 of his followers, Chip Simmons & Eric Haines. Two salaries for 1 job that has been parceled out to 2 people. A colossal waste of funds.  Not to mention the money, he gave Andy Hobbs, David Ingram and Amber Southard that makes every raise in the ECSO look like chump change; his fiscal illiteracy provides the cognitive dissonance we see today.  Yet his strategy is to bitch about and shame the BOCC members when he, not them, wasted approximately $200K in these horrible decisions to stack the top of his agency rather than put the money towards the rebuilding of the agency he single-handedly dismantled by forcing out 62 deputies last year.

Now let’s talk about that number, 62. Of those 62 who left the agency last year, at least a third have entered into civil suits for discrimination, civil rights violations and sexual harassment against Morgan personally and professionally. That is a skyrocketing number of suits against any ONE Sheriff. Another meritorious distinction this non LEO sheriff claims.

To simplify this for some of the current admin at the ECSO and the Honorable Sheriff, you can’t bitch about how the BOCC regards your deputies’ pocket book when you already stole from them too. That is cognitive dissonance–berating someone for something they shouldn’t do when you did it as well but don’t think you should be berated or judged. Hypocritical is another term in this case that would apply.  The money in the budget he gave to Chip Simmons, Amber Southard, David Ingram & Andy Hobbs. They got the money that deputies deserved. Morgan mismanaged that money by rewarding his favorites in a grandiose fashion, leaving the rest in the cold.

That brings us to the fiscal illiteracy. The fiscal illiteracy refers to his failing to manage the agency in the way it should be, despite the fact the Honorable Sheriff claims he can. I don’t know, maybe Webster University’s graduate level business classes,  37+ years ago, didn’t prepare Morgan to actually use numbers as high as the Honorable Sheriff has to work with today. Maybe there are too many big numbers for him to understand in one budget. I don’t know.

Let’s look at the over all money issues historically Morgan has had:

*in the military, he allegedly was skimming government money via credit cards, resulting in his early retirement

*the mishandling of the budget regarding the jail that resulted in him losing the oversight of that jail

*the employee that embezzled $150K from the LET fund for years without anyone knowing and his CFO keeping his job even though he facilitated larceny

*the citizens’ complaints on how LET money is spent resulting in an investigation by the State Attorney.

There is a pattern of misappropriation.  It seems very clear to those of us who pay attention.

The conclusion, based on the past history of this Honorable Sheriff leads to the reasonable assessment that, either he is criminally responsible for misappropriation of taxpayer funds as well as mismanaging criminal justice principles and personnel necessary for a LEO agency in the 21st century,

OR

He has been given too much responsibility for his capability.  He cannot seem to handle doing the duties of his post, which is to maintain law and order while sustaining the county’s fiscal well being and safety.

You decide.

I almost forgot to give a shout out to Gerry Champagne for trolling and liking my FB page for Florida Open Gov. Initiative.

CORRECTION:

I mistakenly said that 65% failed the academy. That is incorrect. The cadets go through the academy fine; it is 65% failing out of FTO or discovering this job is not for them.  My Bad.

Food for Thought: LET Seizures

Sheriff Morgan spends his LET money so freely, but considering the amount he is spending, one might question how many drug busts and seizures the agency is doing.  He has spent over $1million. Is there really that many seizures and drug busts, with crime statistics being what they are?  Talking to Amy Lovoy, Director of Budgets for the county, she said no other money goes into that fund. It is strictly drug and seizure proceeds.

High ranking officers who have been with the agency for years do not find the seizures and drug proceeds as being that lucrative. Consider that for any seizure, a case has to be filed with the court that is around $100. Counsel has to draft documents for the court. That cost is taxpayer money in salary. There can be complications with the seizure and the court costs and attorney fees rack up to get the proceeds of whatever was seized. Fiscally speaking, there seems to be a high cost to attaining seizure and their proceeds that come out of a different budget that is not going against the possibly undervalued property, which goes into Morgan’s “charity/campaign” fund.

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We have all seen the recent drug busts and the proceeds of those busts, which have yet to be seen, but at this moment the LET Fund is dry. What does that mean to Morgan?  He needs to push for another rush of money.  His need to buy his votes may be influencing the crimes that deputies focus on. Targeting high money drug dealers for the proceeds of the money could be an incentive here.

Just food for thought.

 

Haines: LET Funds can be used for anything

In the past few weeks, there has been a growing concern throughout the community regarding the  shameless spending of LET funds under this Sheriff’s discretion–more importantly the vexation by citizens about the legality of the LET disbursements. Will these organizations getting huge checks from the Sheriff have to give the money back at some point, because the funds were not legally donated?  To the trusting people of Escambia County, Sir David’s translucent pretext of humanitarianism is becoming hard to swallow. The duplicitous donations appear to be a vice for Sir David  to purchase value in the community elite and in turn, purchase votes. This has been the theme of many conversations over the breakfast tables and within the social media in Escambia County.

To clarify how the LET funds are spent by the most closely associated LEO agency, the Pensacola PD, I called Jeanne Griffin. Ms. Griffin explained the process of requesting and distributing LET money in their organizations. The process is complex as it should be. First of all, Ms. Griffin says the biggest difference is that the PPD does NOT have a checkbook for that fund. The Sheriff’s Office does. He is able to make donations and leave it to the Board of Commissioners to rule on the expenditures after the fact to reimburse the money. There is a glaring assumption that this is expected. In other words, Morgan seems to be fairly confident that he can spend the money and not be concerned because the county commissioners won’t question it. That is a problem and a red flag.

Ms. Griffin stated in order to spend LET money, a request must be submitted and has to be approved by the administration of the PPD; it is then submitted to the city council. The city council reviews it and researches it, if necessary. After they approve it, it goes to the mayor and then to have a budget resolution passed. Then after more red tape, the check is cut. Dozens of people must approve the spending of funds because the money belongs to the city or in Morgan’s case, the county. They want to be sure that no dollar is spent in haste. This process is standard for most counties and municipalities in Florida. Sir David has been blessed to have broad discretion over the funds. Ironic, since he couldn’t handle the discretion of the jail and the rumors of misappropriation of funds in his military past.  Observing the recent spending, it seems there is still an issue and the funds he is misappropriating is county money—taxpayers’ money.

SIDE NOTE: Funny how his tax returns show the JUMP in wealth after the magnanimous donations started pouring from the county spicket.  Could be a coincidence but I’m not one for coincidences.

Also, the creative categorization of the LET money spent is that of sophmoric ineptocrat. For instance: 100 Black Men, an organization that does stuff through the youth of the community but this particular donation has nothing to do with impacting lives or crime prevention. They want money for a banquet.

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To understand compliance with the statute, the entire process should be laid out for clarification. The parameters of what donations are in accordance with  Fla. Stat. Ann. § 932-7055  fall into the categories of :

1. school resource officer, 2. crime prevention, 3. safe neighborhood, 4. drug abuse education and prevention programs, 5. for other law enforcement purposes, such as defraying the cost of protracted or complex investigations, providing additional equipment or expertise, purchasing automated external defibrillators for use in law enforcement vehicles, and 6.  providing matching funds to obtain federal grants. The proceeds and interest may not be used to meet normal operating expenses of the law enforcement agency

The aforementioned example is a example of how broadly this statute is being stretched.  A banquet is being used for crime prevention, drug prevention and direct support at $5000?  While I am sure there is no doubt this organization benefited from the donation, the issue is this: couldn’t Sir David have used that $5000 for something that more beneficial to more people?

Watch and listen to how Chief Deputy Haines explained in on WCOA.

This is exactly the reason the entire Escambia County Board of Commissioners should be impeached along with this Sheriff. BOCC members have a responsibility to the taxpayers to govern and make sure the money for the county is handled correctly. The buck stops with them but they have become complacent and in turn, the inmate is running the asylum.

Creative accounting for the privileged.

Meet Your Strawman

strawman.jpgThe HONORABLE David Morgan, Sir David, has taken the people for Escambia for a ride. Although that may be common knowledge, when I was talking to a colleague about Sir David’s dense, lack of understanding  of the statute that regulates the spending of the LET Fund (or as he might refer to it, his incentive account for his campaign election), the point was made that Sir David cannot do this on his own. There has to be people on the Escambia Board of Commissioners signing off on that. Well we know about the Doug Underhill “friendship”, but the person who appears to have signed off on much of the mass spending over the last couple of years is Lumon May.

So I went through 2012-15 LET Funds to see if there may be some GOB politics (one hand washing of the other) with Lumon and the LET donations by the ECSO.  I was shocked to see that while the donations seem to go to noteworthy charities, there is a reciprocation. I noted that there was some huge donations over that time to certain agencies and the lack of funding of others.   Here is what I found:

**Correction for 2012–May Brothers got $4250

Now the May Brothers (Lumon & LuTimothy’s) organizations made a huge jump while Gulf Coast Kids House received a drastic reduction. Not to mention, the nearly $7K in church and booster club money that has no impact on anything relevant to this fund.

 Now look at the next 2 years:

Gulf Coast Kids House is the most prominent difference (thanks to the payoff for the deputy sex scandal). The May Brothers went down, because the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners has shifted…coincidence?

There are other things that were horrible abuses of the fund that don’t fit the statutory obligations of the fund, like 2014, Fil-Am Social Club received $7000, Pensacola Inflatables received $1180 under private organization money; 2015-Blue Angels got $20K, Brownsville Assembly of God got $2500 for a church van and again the $10K over 2 years of school booster and Marcus Point Baptist Church donations and another $5K in strictly church organizations like the friggin’ Men’s Barn Dance. Really? This money is supposed to be ear-marked for crime prevention programs, community safety, drug prevention and training material to better the deputies….not this non-sense.  Buying votes and influence is a toxic waste of funds.

While Escambia County becomes increasingly more dangerous and closer and closer to bankrupting itself on frivolous money wasted, your Sheriff, the HONORABLE Sir David, is spending money on everything but the community. He is charitable with taxpayers’ money but not his own…kinda funny how that works.  Most certainly it has been favorable for Lumon & LuTimothy May. From 2012-2015, these organizations who are so honored to be affiliated to this family received $39,000+.

ESCAMBIA DESERVES BETTER!