Commissioner: No confidence in sheriff

Pembroke Pines Commissioner says Scott Israel has a truth problem

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – The war of words between Pembroke Pines commissioner Jay Schwartz and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel is escalating.

Schwartz issued a Facebook post on his official page late Thursday night, saying he has "lost confidence in [Israel's] ability to tell the truth and to perform his duty manage the Broward Sheriff’s Office."

That was followed BSO general counsel Ron Gunzburger, who also works as a political strategist for Israel, lashing out at Schwartz, alleging he was being “disloyal” to the sheriff and making veiled political threats against him.

The rift began when Schwartz, who had been a long-time supporter of Israel, began to criticize the troubled regionalized 911 dispatch system that Israel manages. Schwartz said that when he made a move to possibly break his city away from the regionalized system, he got a furious phone call from Israel, whom he said told him to hold off on any legislative action until after the election. Israel faces several opponents in the Aug. 30 primary and another in the November general election.

Israel refused to answer questions about the phone call, but BSO issued a statement acknowledging the call had been made and that Israel asked that he delay the 911 item, but claimed he asked that it be delayed until a consultant’s report was issued. Schwartz said the sheriff was not only lying, but that he was using his agency as a conduit to make the lie, abusing his position further.

Friday Schwartz said he’s willing to take a lie detector test and challenged the sheriff to do the same to settle the matter once and for all. No answer from BSO on whether the sheriff will take him up on the offer.

Schwartz said he found Gunzburger’s social media attack on him inappropriate as well. In it, Gunzburger claimed he was "making up stuff about Sheriff Israel because you are annoyed the city commission rejected your political grandstanding yesterday in an attempt to suck up to the PBA." He also chided Schwartz for polling the public on the issue.

Schwartz said the issue is simple: Pembroke Pines has seen a decline in 911 service since BSO took over the regionalized system in late 2013. He said BSO has failed to live up to its promises and he believes Israel has failed to properly manage the new system.

Fort Lauderdale has also discussed leaving the system because of its performance issues. Wednesday night the Pembroke Pines commission voted unanimously to force BSO to produce a corrective action plan and provide result in four months time.