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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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 email@example.com
Senator Mike Bennett Bennett.firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Rudy Garcia email@example.com
Senator Andy Gardiner firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Gary Siplin email@example.com
Senator Rhonda Storms firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator John Thrasher email@example.com
Senator Stephen Wise firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Director, Supervisor’s Labor Unit
Pasco County Lodge 29
Follow our progress on Facebook. Click on this link http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148013893932&ref=ts If you don’t already have a facebook account, you will be asked to sign up and then your request will be sent to our lodge where it will be reviewed for acceptance into this site.
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Some time ago, the FOP filed a civil action in Pasco and Clay against the Sheriff AND the County Commission, arguing that the County Commission should be the legislative body. There has been debate on this issue ever since the Supreme Court ruled that deputies are no longer “at will” employees.
Read for yourself:
Since the civil action is the union against both the Sheriff AND the County Commission, it is clear that the County Commission is AGAINST being the legislative body!
If the courts decide that the County Commission is the legislative body, then the Sheriff will be bound by FSS 447.309. This will require the CEO (Sheriff) to get direction from the legislative body (BOCC) before negotiations begin and during the process (just like a chief in a police department does today with the City Council). It is important to note that the elected people who give the CEO his/her marching orders (like a city council) are the SAME people who settle the impasse.
“….In conducting negotiations with the bargaining agent, the chief executive officer or his or her representative shall consult with, and attempt to represent the views of, the legislative body of the public employer….”
If the FOP wins, it should remove all doubt that the BOCC is the legislative body and is the “public employer.”
They are also the ones (not the Sheriff) who will have to ratify any agreements. So even if the union and the Sheriff come to an agreement, it will not be settled unless the BOCC ratifies it.
Read it for yourself:
Some say that this is suit is ONLY to make the BOCC the legislative body for impasse issues. Once the debate is settled on who the legislative body really is, the law is clear. There is no way to pick and choose. It is either the elected Sheriff or the elected BOCC, not a combination of both.
That is the reason for the bill before the legislature, to remove the doubt. Both the Sheriff and the BOCC are for the legislation.
If you are a deputy, then you have a decision to make. Do you want your Sheriff’s Office to remain independent, like it has been for a hundred plus years? OR do you want to be answerable to the BOCC, much like our brothers at your local police department? I am sure they can tell you stories about how different it is answering to a city council.
If you want to become more like a PD (with the additional politics that go along with it), then get behind the union! If you want to remain independent (and leave the job of dealing with the BOCC to the Sheriff), then tell the union you do not support this direction. Either way, the decision is YOURS. Do not someone else (maybe with a personal agenda) decide your fate.
The Sheriff’s job will become much easier if the BOCC becomes the legislative body. If he had a personal agenda, he would support this. The entire blame during negotiations would be shifted to the BOCC. That is why the BOCC is AGAINST this idea. They know that they will no longer be able to fight with or blame the sheriff. Think about it.
Is it smart to force this on a group that doesn’t want it?
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