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A deputies’ union said Thursday afternoon that it has “no confidence” in Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. The union revealed the results of a vote, which indicated 534 out of 628 who voted said they had no confidence in the sheriff.
Jeff Bell, the president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, said the union’s “members have displayed great courage to come out and vote under threat of retaliation and reprisal from the sheriff.”
Bell said he phoned the sheriff, but could not reach him, instead leaving a voice message. He said the plan is to present the union’s vote to Gov. Rick Scott and ask him to “please make change and replace the sheriff with somebody who is capable of amazing leadership.”
Bell added, “Amazing leadership starts from the top, and there is no amazing leadership here. We are a ship out at sea with no power — adrift.”
The sheriff released a statement after the vote results were released.
“I am accountable to the citizens of Broward County,” the sheriff said. “My job is to continue to do the job I was elected to do, which is to ensure the safety of Broward County’s 1.9 million residents. I will not be distracted from my duties by this inconsequential IUPA union vote, which was designed to extort a 6.5 percent pay raise from this agency. Those who purportedly voted in this straw ballot reflect only a small number of the 5,400 employees. The unions representing the vast majority of our employees solidly support the leadership of this agency.”
A union of rank-and-file deputies on Thursday afternoon will reveal the results of its “no confidence” vote in Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association initiated the vote last Friday, citing crushed morale amid national criticism of how the agency handled its response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The association’s 1,300 voters have been casting votes electronically since Friday.
The outcome will be announced at 4 p.m. Thursday at the union’s office in Plantation.
The organization is a chapter of the International Union of Police Associations and represents 1,050 members and its contract covers 1,300 deputies and sergeants. The vote is open to all of them.
Israel has said he’s appalled at the union’s boss for trying “to use the Parkland tragedy as a bargaining tactic to extort a 6.5 percent pay raise from BSO through this vote-of-no-confidence ploy.”
The association’s president, Jeff Bell, denied that was his motive, saying the union had a “long laundry list” of complaints about the sheriff.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, under orders from Gov. Rick Scott, is investigating how the sheriff’s office and other law enforcement agencies responded to the school shooting. Their findings could be used as the basis to remove Israel from his elected post.
Bell said he’ll share the union’s vote, which he expected to show no confidence in Israel, with FDLE and would support the sheriff’s removal from office.
Meanwhile, another union, the Federation of Public Employees on Monday announced it had renewed its contract by a vote of 1,111 to 38, which correlated with a vote of support and confidence in the sheriff.
“This is also a vote of confidence in how you treat us and how our bargaining unit feels about you,” the union’s director, Anthony Marciano, wrote in a letter to the sheriff.
At 2,500 members, the federation is the largest union representing sheriff’s office employees, the letter said.