Escambia County Wants Governor’s Office To Enforce Budget Agreement Settlement With Sheriff

March 30, 2018

Escambia County is asking the governor’s office to enforce a signed mediation agreement with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, according to a document filed Thursday.

The county and the Sheriff’s Office have been battling it out over funding for most of the last year, with the parties signing a mediation agreement on March 9. After the mediation agreement was announced, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan announced a few days later that the agreement appear unsuccessful, citing issue over workers compensation, unemployment compensation, retirement and health care issues.

The county disagrees, based upon mediation wording that stipulates increased funding was “inclusive of all benefits and all raises for the implementation of a pay plan”.

The motion to enforce settlement filed by the county Thursday states the “Sheriff has had a change of heart as to the settlement reached. Sheriff may argue that his representatives at the mediation conference were under the impression or believed that the terms of the settlement could be renegotiated as part of the execution of an interlocal agreement. However, mistaken assumptions or misconceptions about what terms mean are unilateral mistakes which will not relieve the Sheriff of his obligations under the agreed upon settlement. It is black letter law that mutual assent or a meeting of the minds is determined. by the external signs of mutual assent and not the motives of a party in reaching an agreement.”

But the Sheriff’s office disagrees with the county, calling he motion “disingenuous” at best in a released statement:

We are aware of the BOCC’s most recent attempt to stop our appeal from going to the Governor, through a motion to enforce settlement to the Administration Commission. It is disingenuous at best. First, the County’s own General Counsel, Allison Rogers, sent over the first draft of an Interlocal Agreement that was supposed to outline the details of the mediation settlement showing that she knew there needed to be more work done as she modified portions of the original Mediation Settlement Agreement (MSA). Second, the county defeats their own argument by their actions of another one of their attorneys, Charles Peppler, who attempted to have the BOCC enter into a one year settlement with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) for one million dollars through the Governor’s Office just last week. This also shows they knew the MSA was not binding in its current form. The strongest evidence that this motion is futile is the mediation settlement itself. Paragraph 5 of the Settlement Agreement provides: ‘The parties shall cooperate in the dismissal of the appeal with the Administrative Commission after all parties approve the settlement and execute a mutually agreeable Interlocal Agreement.’ …It’s quite obvious that there has never been a mutually agreeable Interlocal Agreement and as such, the Sheriff’s appeal will move forward. The ECSO has been in contact with the appropriate offices in Tallahassee and will respond if they request.”

From a previous (March 15) story regarding the original mediation settlement:

Under the four-year agreement, Morgan will receive an extra $1 million for the current fiscal year that ends September 30. The commission will increase Morgan’s budget by an additional $2.6 million in the next two fiscal years, and $2.9 million in the final year. The funds will be for benefits and raises for the implementation of a pay plan.

Beginning April 1, 2018, the BOCC will reduce budgets for discretionary outside agencies by 50 percent, except for Pathways for Change and Community Health Northwest Florida (formerly Escambia Community Clinics). In fiscal years 2019-2021, funding for outside agencies in the general fund will not exceed $734,374. These funds will be used for the implementation of the sheriff’s pay plan.

Discretionary funds for each commissioner, previously at $50,000 each, will be cut by half to $125,000 total ($25,000 each) for the next three years, with $125,000 going to the sheriff’s budget each year.

Under the agreement, Morgan agreed that 50 percent of Law Enforcement Trust fund monies will go toward funding school resource officers. If that is not possible, the remainder can be used to offset other ECSO general fund expenditures as allowed by law.

Commissioners Steven Barry and Lumon May voted against the agreement.

Morgan asked for over $2 million when he appealed his budget to Scott last October to help with pay compression issues.

Pictured: Gov. Rick Scott and Escambia County David Morgan during a meeting October 5, 2017, at the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center concerning then Tropical Storm Nate. Pictured inset: The signature page from a mediation agreement between Escambia County and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. Photos for, click to enlarge.


11 Responses to “Escambia County Wants Governor’s Office To Enforce Budget Agreement Settlement With Sheriff”

  1. David on March 31st, 2018 6:58 am

    If you wanna dance, you gotta pay the band.

  2. Andy on March 30th, 2018 10:16 pm

    The department could probably meet its fiscal objectives if it didn’t spend so much money on TV ads

  3. Vance on March 30th, 2018 9:22 pm

    As a fiscal watchdog in Lake County, I have observed the lack of oversight over ALL Constitutional Officers. We have been trying to get our Sheriff to authorize the first ever Performance Audit and he resists. We have asked for public budget hearings for him, and nothing happens. We asked for a DETAILED copy of his proposed and approved budget be posted on the website, and get only about 4 pages. Constitutionals need to be brought into the 21st century regarding oversight, performance metrics, and performance analysis and reporting. Just this week our County Board discussed how to deal with a $2-million budget shortfall and how the Constitutional percent of the total budget drastically grew vs County operation spending, and now they want a performance audit.

  4. Avis on March 30th, 2018 8:12 pm

    If you want to be offended by something then everybody in Escambia County should be offended by the childish bickering and constant drama that goes on in local government. I’m sure all the folks in the South end look at Century like some kind of “special child” but in reality, you’re all the same. Personally I’m about tired of hearing about how the Sheriff is going to hold his breath till he gets what he wants. How do people like this get elected to public office? Try to vet your candidates a little better next time.

  5. Bobby C. on March 30th, 2018 4:46 pm

    What percentage of a raise would the County’s agreement provide for employees at the Sheriffs Office? Does anybody know? Also is it for all Sheriffs employees or just Deputies and sworn Officers?

  6. Grand Locust on March 30th, 2018 4:04 pm

    I have always been a supporter of Sheriff Morgan who I think often gets attacked at a personal level, rather than a fair evaluation of an issue. I still support him, but I would really like to see the budget increases in the Sheriff’s Office over the last eight years compared to the COLA index. As a traditional fiscal conservative Republican, I do not think police and fire should be excluded from budgetary review which in my opinion requires reductions in funding to really test what is essential versus a wish list which does not protect taxpayers and citizens. How can you argue efficiency and productivity for taxpayer dollar spent when it has virtually been a blank check over the last eight years. This is not unique to Sheriff Morgan. Since 911 there have been an inordinate amount of tax resources poured into fire and police, and when a fiscal conservative questions government efficiency and allocation of resources, they are attacked as anti LEO or FIRE; This entire budget discussion has now become counterproductive, and dragging the governor in is futile. We need objective discussions of budget cuts and allocation of resources without this false bias that police and fire are above the budget process where no cuts can ever happen…….a formula for disaster. Where are the clear thinking fiscal conservatives?

  7. Well on March 30th, 2018 3:03 pm

    At least when he’s gone that will be one waste of money stopped.

  8. db on March 30th, 2018 11:29 am

    They don’t need a raise. Do the job or leave, it’s not rocket science.
    Quit whining. Many of us have not had a raise in near 10 year, I still go to work everyday. I got bills to pay and kids to feed. DOn’t need a fund raiser. Tired of hearing about this subject. Maybe they need to line by line their own budget? You would be surprised.

  9. anne 1of2 on March 30th, 2018 11:16 am

    The sheriff said they had an interesting sentence on the contract stating he wouldn’t go to the governor again in 2020 if he wasn’t given what he needed. Just like the gov’t to tack on hooks like that. and why he wouldn’t sign it. Maybe they need to read the entire contract. They have a huge problem signing contracts they haven’t even taken the time to read.

  10. mike on March 30th, 2018 8:51 am

    Navy Seal Richard Marcinko said if you get lazy about security you will lose. Me, I think the same goes for trying to scrimp, skimp ‘n save on law enforcement. Give these guys everything they need to enforce the laws on the books, and pay them well. (Imagine the mass exodus if the immigration laws were actually enforced in the USA) :)

  11. Bob C. on March 30th, 2018 5:46 am

    Ah, Thelbert, there you go again. “If I run for a 3rd term don’t vote for me” another broken agreement with the people you should be serving.

    Your LEO’s and others indicate there’s no lack of money at the ECSO for new hires.
    The problem in finding new deputies and retaining the current ones is YOU, Thelbert.

    You try to force your personal agenda by cutting the number of School Resource Officers putting our kids at risk. You removed the funeral escorts putting all motorists at risk plus just being ignorant of Our Customs and being disrespectful of our departed loved ones.

    Thelbert, it must be really tough to develop a budget when the ECSO’s Chief Financial Officer has been “Missing” for over two months.

    Thelbert, I hope that Governor Scott realizes your “Help” in his run for Nelson’s seat is like asking for an anchor on a sinking ship.

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