FOP Lodge 29, Pasco County is seeking assistance in stopping a Fasano sponsored Bill which will be detrimental to members working towards a fair labor contract with a constitutional official. Although this will not affect everyone, your support for your fellow brothers and sisters who will be adversely affected is requested and greatly appreciated.

On 02/02/2010, members of the Fraternal Order of Police stood in the chambers of the Florida Senate Community Affairs sub-committee, in opposition of a Senator Fasano sponsored Bill. President Jim Preston, Attorney Tad Delegal and Lobbyist Lisa Henning spoke against the Senate Bill 610, correctly pointing out the problems with this divisive bill. 20 FOP members in the audience who all voiced their opposition to this bill. Those voices fell on deaf ears and it was clear the Senators on this committee had made up their mind before the hearing. Only Senator Tony Hill ( had the courage to oppose this bill and we thank him for his effort.

Senator Mike Fasano’s bill would recognize county Sheriffs and other elected officials as a “legislative body” for the purpose of collective bargaining. What this means is that the Sheriff as the Chief Executive Officer of the agency would bargain with the FOP, PBA or other collective bargaining representative on a contract. The Sheriff could simply decide, as they have in Pasco and Clay Counties that they can declare an impasse and then rule on that very impasse, which again they have done in Pasco and Clay Counties and then impose their own version of the contract as in Pasco County .

This is fundamentally unfair. The present system of checks and balances guaranteed by our system of government provides that an impasse be ruled upon by the “Legislative Body” of the county which would be the County Commission . How can the Sheriff objectively rule on his own impasse? Even criminals have their cases heard before a judge independent of the prosecution and defense.

The Sheriffs and their representatives in uniform and “on the clock”, stood before the Senate Committee in favor of this bill and spoke about controlling their budgets as they artfully evaded the issue of collective bargaining. Sheriff Beseler of Clay County told the committee that this bill would not impede the collective bargaining process and that he has bargained in good faith with the FOP even though we have been at impasse for 3 years, even though we have filed unfair labor practices against him, even though the Public Employee Relations Commission has ruled that he is not a “legislative body” and even though he has arbitrarily transferred the FOP leaders in the Clay County Sheriff’s Office to less desirable positions to punish them.

Senator Fasano spoke on behalf of his bill and reminded the Senate Committee that only the FOP opposed this bill while PBA representatives sat silently in the last row during this Hearing. If this bill were to pass the House and Senate, collective bargaining for Deputy Sheriffs is dead. We would go back in time to the 1950’s style of dictatorial rule by one man (or woman) who control all of the power and run a sheriff’s office as their own personal fiefdom (Something over which one dominant person or group exercises control). This would not only affect Deputy Sheriff’s, but employees of the Clerk of the Courts, Supervisor of Elections, Tax Collector, and County Appraiser.

This is bad legislation that strips away the hard fought for rights of deputy sheriffs that the Florida Supreme Court affirmed, recognizing Deputy Sheriffs as public employees guaranteed the right to collective bargaining. This bill will impact every deputy in the state of Florida and must be defeated. The issue goes way beyond Pasco and Clay Counties as Sheriffs or their representatives from Hillsborough, Pinellas, Charlotte , Highlands, Gadsden , Lake and Wakulla Counties were present and voiced their support for the bill. This issue is gathering support through the Florida Sheriff’s Association and will spread across our state to every county when sheriffs realize they no longer have to bargain in good faith with their employees but rather declare an impasse and rule on that very impasse making the collective bargaining process null and void for Deputy Sheriffs.

Let your legislators know that the FOP and the hard working, dedicated law enforcement officers we represent stand together against Senate Bill 610.

Those Senators voting against Deputy Sheriffs and for politics as usual, were:

Senator Thad Altman
Senator Mike Bennett
Senator Rudy Garcia
Senator Andy Gardiner
Senator Gary Siplin
Senator Rhonda Storms
Senator John Thrasher
Senator Stephen Wise

This was the first committee meeting of many to come for this bill as it works it's way through the House and Senate. Today was a set back but not the end of the process.

It is time for the hard working men and women of law enforcement to voice your concerns over “back-door” politics. Contact your local legislators and express your concerns over the perception of one politician (Fasano) doing a favor for one Sheriff, to avoid any attempt at fair contract negotiations.

If this bill is allowed to pass, it may drastically change ALL current and future labor contracts in the State of Florida when dealing with constitutional officers as previously noted.


G. Kling
Fraternal Order of Police
Pasco County Lodge 29

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** Permission was received to use all or part of this document, which was previously posted.