Monday, July 14, 2014

St. Pete Police Chief - We are All Still Waiting

The saga over the new St. Pete Police Chief is dragging on.  There have been enough internal conversations that some things are starting to leak out, but the sources are not all that reliable at this point.

But if you know something give me a call 727-510-4266.

Here is a significant fact. What most people in St. Pete, including a lot of City employees, don't know is former Police Chief Chuck Harmon DID NOT have a contract. He was an "at will" employee just like all of the rest of us on the City staff and could be fired at any moment without cause by the Mayor.

Geier, the most likely of the out of town candidates, would be insane to come to St. Pete without a contract. And a good one at that, given the recent longevity of out of town police chiefs.

These contracts typically are for 3 to 5 years, setup the terms of employment and include salary, a termination clause that often requires either a payout of the salary for the time remaining on the contract or a specific and fairly large amount should the Mayor decide to remove the Chief prior to the term of the contract along with the conditions for any termination. Sort of a stop and think clause for the politicians aka the mayor should something happen he didn't like.

Also often included in these contracts are provisions for relocation costs, initial housing allowances, personal cars, initial staffing flexibility at the senior level, outside employment and a host of other issues that either side may feel are critical.

There is some indication, although no factual statements, that there is a bit of turmoil among the Mayor's senior staff over the Police chief issue and that the Mayor may be trying to smooth some ruffled feathers before he makes an announcement.

The contract issues also hold true for Assistant Chief Melanie Bevan; she too would be making a big mistake to take the job without a contract just to get the position.

The Police Chief needs to be able to make decisions without constantly looking over his or her shoulder and checking the political temperature.

The Mayor continues to dig himself into a hole on the Police Chief issue. There has been a lot of talk but no transparency.

Most of the people I talk to give the Mayor low marks on this one and it gets worse every day.

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