Broward Sheriff Scott Israel says a multi-million dollar budget shortfall will force him to institute massive layoffs, as many as 300 by some reports, at his agency if it doesn't get more tax money from the county.
But county commissioners are roundly rejecting his request so far. Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca referred to Israel’s tactic as a “threat.”
“That’s a very unfortunate thing to hear from a legislative perspective that someone would use [layoffs] in their budget hearings,” said LaMarca. “I think it’s far too soon to start making threats.”
LaMarca said that if layoffs were to take place, the sheriff should start with some of his own recent hires.
“I’d like to see him lay off all the political hires that he made and keep the deputies that are in uniform,” said LaMarca.
That list of political hires continues to grow. The sheriff recently hired campaign supporters Stephen Greenberger and Patrick Jabouin on the public payroll as community service aides. Greenberger sells political tchotchkes to candidates and helped raise campaign funds for Israel while Jabouin is the former president of the Caribbean-American Democratic Club. The sheriff also hired the sister of campaign supporter Ron Cacciatore as a grant writer. These come on top of at least nine other civilian campaign supporters and political operatives hired at the agency since Israel's election
“There are people that I have met in the political campaign that have been hired and there are people who have applied who have not been hired,” Israel said about the political hires in a recent interview. “It's all about integrity and honor … I’m not a person who deals in political payback.”
The sheriff won’t speculate on who might come on the chopping block should those layoffs occur.
“That has not even entered my mind yet,” he said.