No-confidence vote on Sheriff Gregory Tony underway as union letter alleges lies and unfair firings

The union that represents Broward's deputies cites several reasons for the vote, including allegations that Tony has lied about his career and that he has fired deputies without due process.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Broward branch of the International Union of Police Associations officially opened the ballot for a no-confidence vote on Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony on Tuesday.

It came a week after Tony said he anticipated that move during a fiery press conference in which he lashed out against BSO deputies union president Jeff Bell.

“The next strategic assault that he’s planning is to have a no vote of confidence. Anticipate that to come,” Tony said on April 7. "For sake of what? Politics? That’s what destroyed this agency.”

With that vote opening Tuesday, union members have until next Monday afternoon to cast their ballots.

A day earlier, the union sent an email to its members saying in part, “While the sheriff has chosen to muzzle and threaten us, rather than work with us, the union cannot sit back and watch the safety of the membership be jeopardized for what appears to us to be political reasons.”

In the letter, the group cites several reasons for the vote, including allegations that Tony has lied about his career, that he overexaggerated his experience as a law enforcement officer, and that he has fired deputies without due process.

Tony has not responded to requests for comment about the no-confidence vote Tuesday.

It’s been almost two years since BSO deputies voted no confidence against Sheriff Scott Israel in the fallout of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre. Israel was later removed from office by Gov. Ron DeSantis and replaced by Tony.

Tony and Bell have gone back and forth — each accusing the other of choosing politics over leadership during the coronavirus pandemic — culminating in Tony suspending Bell and placing him under administrative investigation. On Monday, an attorney representing Bell held a news conference to discuss a forthcoming lawsuit over his client’s discipline.

As of Tuesday, the Broward Sheriff’s Office has 72 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, and 69 other staff members are being monitored. A source tells Local 10 News that those confirmed cases include at least 35 members of BSO’s communications staff, 10 law enforcement staff, 20 department of detention staff and six firefighters.

BSO has 452 employees who either tested positive or were monitored and have since returned to work.

Tony joined Local 10′s “This Week in South Florida” for an interview Sunday morning that can be seen below:

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony discusses concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak and his suspension of union president and deputy Jeff Bell.

About the Author:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.