|F.O.P. sues sheriff, seeks clarity|
|Written by APB Staff|
In an unusual move, the union representing deputies with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in Florida has filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Bob White and the County Commission. The FOP’s lawsuit seeks to get a ruling on who has the final say in an impasse – the County Commission or the Sheriff. Trouble started back in 2006 when Pasco deputies voted to join the Fraternal Order of Police. The vote came with the expectation that they would now bargain for a contract.
But Sheriff White still appears to have trouble accepting that the deputies are now on an equal playing field when it comes to hammering out an agreement on pay and working conditions.
Two items appear to be the most contentious. First, the FOP wants the Sheriff to provide “gap” insurance that will cover their health care between retirement and when Medicare kicks in.
The two sides cannot agree on a discipline process either. The union wants to have the right to appeal while Sheriff White is refusing to give up any of his powers over the disciplinary process.
Deputies were asking to use agency mailboxes and e-mail for sending out union information but a state Board ruled against the FOP in favor of the Sheriff who had banned the union from using any systems in the office to conduct union business.
Stuart Rosenfeldt, an attorney with the FOP, said the unresolved issues fall clearly in the domain of the County Commission. Gap insurance is a budgetary consideration and the Commission has final approval over the sheriff’s budget.
Discipline is addressed in a county ordinance and only the Commission has the authority to change those rules. “For White to have the final say is like being your own appellate court of your own decision,” Rosenfeldt says.