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I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.








Thursday, December 14, 2017

Olive Branch Part III

the most recent discussions on potential revenue sources for ECSO were condescendingly called "limp-wristed, disingenuous entreaties" by our sheriff...


Tuesday morning at the committee of the whole, I brought forward some ideas that could help address our budget impasse with the sheriff.  I brought these idea(s) in good faith, in a spirit of cooperation and compromise.  Having deferred my item to the end of the meeting, the commissioners were fatigued and several had to leave to make other engagements.  I totally get that and I appreciated the discussions with the individual commissioners about each aspect of the Blue Penny plan --despite the late hour at the end of the workshop..

Within the discussions, though, I found several areas of plausible common ground between myself and my counterparts as it relates to a potential offer that might be presented to the sheriff.  (translation:  I think there may be 3-4 areas of the plan for which I could get three (3) votes)

So next month, at our January Committee of the Whole, I will bring a document that reduces these items where I perceive potential agreement into a draft agreement.  I don't want to sound like a broken record here--but there are areas where a compromise can be brokered among the commissioners; I have the information--from these discussions at the tail end of Tuesday's COW. I simply  need to write an agreement. Which I will do.

Such an agreement would serve as a starting place for a larger discussion on the sheriff's budget---because as everyone knows, the Governor and his cabinet are not in the business of solving our problems and we should be proactive in moving forward in our continuing effort to show good faith in the process.  The appeal process is meant to be, and designed to be, a method to compel mediation of these disputes between the parties.  This is why only 3 of these appeals have gone all the way to the Governor in the last 30 years.

Meanwhile, disappointingly but not surprisingly, the BCC discussions on brokering a compromise were mocked yesterday on the radio by the sheriff.  at minute 10:00 of the interview from WCOA yesterday, the sheriff characterizes proposals to increase his budget funding as "limp-wristed, dis-
ingenuous entreaties."  This is not surprising but it's shocking; sadly, though, this is simply more of the same:  ad hominem, condescending, personal attacks made by the sheriff against those of us


 working toward a solution.  It's bad enough to be called a bullshit artist by the sheriff, told I can't hear, can't read, can't find the nose on my face, that we're liars, etc. etc.  Nope, now these attacks are hitting a new all-time low.  Now it's decompensating into  homophobic, demeaning slurs.  The BCC is being called limp-wristed ??"  He should apologize to the listeners and to the BCC for saying that.

But it's easier to duck, deflect, and call names than it is to deal with facts.  The name-calling histrionics distracts from the specifics during a debate over an issue....So let me be perfectly clear:

 1.  I've said all along the fifth cent requires legislative changes--it does and I said that from the start.

2.    I also stated that the starting place for a fixed budget would be the ending point, the final number from the FY 2017-2018 budget year--which sheriff knows is not yet finalized (we will either settle on that amount or the governor will set it)  and finally

3.  --he did not address two important components of the plan:  Does he want us to return 50% of his year-end unexpended funds?  Would that help?  Would he welcome a 100% match of BCC money to all eligible expenditures up to $350K yearly from LETF to offset the SRO program? (translation--this would free up to $700K yearly for the ECSO to address payscale issues)?  How about addressing these two items, these two we could implement easily, quickly and locally and produce $800K yearly RIGHT NOW!  

Instead, he does not address these aspects of the plan and stays on the attack--characterizing our movement toward compromise as "limp-wristed, disingenuous entreaties"

But the continuous attacks are getting old.....

I know there are pent-up frustrations that may be contributing to these non-stop, personal attacks.  But I'd simply say--don't take these out on us. It is not our fault you got into a heated shouting match with the Secret Service at the Bay Center at the Trump rally and you were told you could not bring your gun into the arena--that you had to take it to the car.  I know that was probably very humiliating and humbling and embarrassing to be told by 2 secret service agents, in front of multiple persons "we don't care if you're the sheriff of this county: you either take that gun to your car and you can come back inside with an empty holster--or you can leave!"--but that's not the BCC's fault.  Don't take that out on us. We don't have any control over the level of support you provide to the secret service (or don't provide) and we didn't create that mess, and we didn't tell you to leave--they did.

 So meanwhile--I'm looking forward to solving the problem--not genuflecting or capitulating. I don't do that.  I work for rational, fair compromises that move the needle. 

I'm  told the sheriff will be gone in a few years, that he is a lame duck office-holder that has personally proclaimed he will not seek re-election; meanwhile, there are many mid-level personnel at the ECSO who appreciate our willingness to work toward a compromise to improve pay and create new revenue streams for the ECSO.  I spoke recently  with just such an employee--- and this ECSO employee expressed this thanks to me personally for my efforts!   So I'm going to continue to work to do what I can to help the deputies despite the attacks from their boss.  Those men will still be here when this current administration is gone.  The men of the ECSO deserve our best--- not these attacks that stymie progress.

 Next up, hopefully, a compromise proposal I'm working on this January that can garner 3 votes at the BCC and be moved forward to the sheriff.  Then the ball will be in his court and we will see what happens then.

9 comments:

Eric Haines said...

Jeff,

You have reached a new level of hypocrisy. You say you are reaching out but then twist the Sheriff’s words and attack him. I’m not sure what circles you run in where “limp wristed” refers to a homosexual slur. If you were in law enforcement, or even familiar with it, you would be aware that “limp wristed” refers to not holding your weapon tight enough and it causes you to miss the target and have a weapon malfunction. That is EXACTLY what you are doing with these “olive branches” that just simply aren’t. Your plan would result in zero, zip, nada, not one penny towards this year’s budget appeal process. Your olive branch is simply us dropping our appeal and possible funding sources starting next year. It is a mirage. You are saying “Save money in this year’s budget and we will give you half of that amount next year.” (Hint-There’s not enough money) And, “We will get the state to change the law and then you might get some money of an extra tax.” (Good luck with that. Two commissioners are already against it.) Ultimately, best case scenario, even if it were to all fall in place, it would result in an additional $1.35 Million according to you. As a reminder, your incomplete salary study shows we are $6.5 Million short NOW. That means that to have an additional $1.35 million added to our budget is a huge shortfall. In three years from now it will be even higher. Your ideas are illogical and would be foolish for us to accept. I can’t wait for the Governor’s commission to see what you believe is an olive branch or a legitimate negotiation. As to the Secret Service, your sources are haters of the Sheriff and vastly overblown. I’ve warned you before about them but you just go right on down that path. As for lame duck-please keep giving him incentive to win a fourth term. He’d be the first Sheriff ever to accomplish that.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Erick—Why the constant personal attacks though? Calling a discussion about bumping up the ECSO budget “limp-wristed, disingenuous, entreaties”? Why? And calling us limp-wristed-- in the context of negotiating-- has nothing to do with shooting pistols Eric. Do not be na├»ve. It was a slur, another attack…… But put that aside long enough to answer this one: You all returned about $250,000 this year at end of FY, and you spent about $700K out of LET funds this year(and not one penny for SROs) and you all average about $500K yearly in LET spending over the last decade—so why not set aside a fixed percentage or dollar amount of that for the SRO program, and we will match that amount in additional funding (I think I can get three votes for that part) If we all agreed to that—which is doable-- your characterization about zip, nada, nothing rings hollow. Once we get past this year and set the final budget—which either we will do cooperatively or the governor will do—if we enact just two or three tenets of my plan and things stay static next year—you would have over $800K in a new pot of available money to do something to bump pay for sergeants and lieutenants. That is without the 5th cent. That is a start--- and that’s something your men want to see happen. How do I know this? Well I have spoken to many of them recently and not just the ones who dislike the Sheriff. A lot of them are sick of the bickering. I am too. They want this worked out, did you know that Eric? You know we can’t do an additional $6.5 Million in one year-- you know this. Any deal will need to be incremental, over a 5 to 7-year period, it will need to be structured with an MOU/MOA to make the funding stick and be consistent over the period, and you will likely have to bargain with your PBA to get the pay scale pieces done. What I’m trying to do is move that discussion forward—despite the negative personal attacks. And to the issue about the civic center; I know that was very frustrating—and I know what happened there. Multiple sources told the same story and I know that was embarrassing. Again, we did not do that, we weren’t the ones that kicked the sheriff out of the civic center before the President arrived—it was the secret service that asked him to leave. You know this, right? Several that witnessed this support the sheriff and like him. They were embarrassed for him too Eric.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. The Sheriff feels he's been given empty promises. Then, the secret service made him leave his glock in the car and walk around the civic center with an empty holster. I guess I'd be aggravated if I felt I had empty promises and an empty holster. But, he has a cool uniform with cool medals. That makes up for the empty holster.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Anonymous: I don't know if the sheriff carries a Glock. I know we haven't made any promises yet about his budget--but we are working on that. About his gun, the Civic Center, and the Trump visit: I think he carries a pearl-handled pistol of some variety (maybe a Kimber?) Don't know. But from what I have been told by multiple credible sources is that there is a simmering, long standing issue between the Sheriff and the Secret Service. According to one insider, on Monday of the week of Trump's visit, the Secret Service came to see Sheriff in his office, to request assistance and to "Bury the hatchet" over previous tensions between the two entities (caused by a previous visit when a photo op for the Sheriff and President Obama did not materialize). Sheriff was supposedly upset over insufficient notice for assistance--he says he needs a minimum number of days' notice and in this case he got less notice than that. I'm told the sheriff told them no, he couldn't provide assistance. The next day early in the morning, Tuesday before the visit, I was called by three different Federal and local/state officials and there was frustration because these folks were told ECSO would not provide men for the Trump visit. I told them all to call PPD and the Mayor--they would hopefully carry a larger share of the load. On Wednesday (the week of the Trump visit), on WCOA radio, I heard the Sheriff say "nobody has requested assistance for the visit [from ECSO]" which didn't align with what I had been told the day before by multiple officials. fast Forward to Friday and the day of Trump's visit, and the Sheriff was confronted by two Secret Service agents and he was told to leave the Civic Center. According to multiple witnesses (several of whom are HUGE supporters of the sheriff) Morgan said "I'm the sheriff of this @#$&ing County!" to which I'm told the Secret Service told him "We don't care. take the gun to your car and you can come back in with an empty holster--or you can leave" Wow! I was in the Arena, in the VIP section and I saw the ECSO PIO, another ECSO member in uniform, and right by them an empty chair. That's when I first heard he had been asked to leave, right there and then. One of the VIPs that was there (a former ECSO deputy) said to me "He was furious, he went back to the car and he has not come back in. I wonder if he will come back in with an empty holster?" I never saw him come back in. Empty chair, empty holster.

Anonymous said...

I learn a lot from this blog. I can't believe it, but on your blog Chief Deputy Haines announced the sheriff is seeking election to his 4th term. You scooped the big boys. And the sheriff has a pearl handled pistola. Who knew and how dandy. What about the other news sources? How come they don't cover this tiff between the sheriff and the president? He must have sensitive information on the media types. PNJ (calling on the fearless rebel Troy Moon) Rick's Blog or is there any champion. Where's doc holiday, I'm your huckleberry? I'd be worried if I were you. Don't let the Sheriff's office pull you over and plant something on your car like they did on that guy with protein powder going to the gym, but I love that someone keeps us informed, just don't tell him my IP address, I'm not a VIP and I'm afraid he could silkwood me.

Anynomous said...

The citizens voted for Morgan because he provided good Law Enforcement and stayed within his budget. Not always what elected officials do in this day and age.

Now that Sheriff is providing reduced services, and can't work within his budget, the people will become discouraged with him. The citizens will then vote for a sheriff that will work within his budget, AND provide great police services.

I still think the budget offered is reasonable, and the sheriff will have a hard time getting re elected if he continues to whine.

Anonymous said...

I'm encouraged to hear that the Deputies are getting tired of the bickering and lack of cooperation. It is foolishness to not want to try and make something work, I guess the Sheriff is dead set the Governor is going to see things his way........ Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

I cannot wait to get on the ECSO Facebook page and work that into the conversation. Eric gets so angry when he has to defend Sir David for the indefensible.

Anonymous said...

The sheriff and deputies should have secret clearances so they can work with joint terrorism and POTUS detail and be privy to other investigations. This is important news for the citizens of Escambia to know.even the fact the local news station do not run such info is telling in itself. Low quality journalism.

Of course this can be seen as delightful gossip or sensational story or used by others to win a political run but actually the citizens deserve better than this. This is a dangerous country and dangerous times and we need the best.

The BOCC needs to pay for public safety and hold other constitutional officers to high standards.

Perhaps quit funding real estate developers and wasteful spending at the BOCC..

Yes it takes two to Tango..