Slanker for sheriff...
Posted in the Lake City Forum
#1 Aug 22, 2008
#2 Aug 25, 2008
Communications Problems, Columbia County Sheriff's Office
Dear Editor,I'm writing you today regarding a series of articles in your newspaper that has me somewhat confused. The latest of these articles was dated January 3, 2008, regarding the Columbia County 911 Communications Center.
I am confused because I continue to wonder why our illustrious Sheriff, the County Commission, and your newspaper appear to still be speculating on how to fix problems with 911 Communications. Is this really such a complicated problem? Or, are we just looking at the wrong things? Could the real problem be that we simply have the wrong person in control of the situation? Perhaps a wise City Council will look a bit deeper before making a hasty and costly decision.
Let us take a closer look at the real problems with communications instead of what certain people want us to see. Let's look behind the curtain:
#3 Aug 25, 2008
1) Sheriff's Office radios operate intermittently, at best. Just last week communications channel three was down several times in one day, once without the deputies even being informed of the problem. The radio systems have been failing for at least the past three years. At times, the entire Sheriff's Office communications system has been inoperable and Deputies have had to rely on their personal cellular telephones for critical communications.
2) Turnover of personnel at the communications center is unprecedented. Sheriff Gootee has lost or fired at least three center Directors that I can remember. I was recently told that only two employees currently at the center have been there longer than Gootee's administration.
3) Communications center dispatchers are provided little or no formal training. All training is performed at the side of a more experienced dispatcher. The turnover problem does not help this situation at all. In fact, even the current leadership at the center has no previous dispatch or call center experience. Outside knowledge of proper dispatch operations and procedures is severely limited.
4) Put simply, there has been and continues to be a severe shortage of personnel to staff the communications center. Even if we did have the ability to hire more staff, who would work there? Why would someone return to what has already proven to be a poor environment with terrible management?
#4 Aug 25, 2008
Before Sheriff Gootee took office in 2004/2005 communications for these various agencies was not centralized. Yet, the Sheriff's Office already had many of these problems as mentioned above that are still experienced today. When Gootee consolidated communications with 911 he simply took the problems he had with Sheriff's Office communications, which he had not yet begun to solve, and spread them to the 911 operations. Not only did he combine communications, he combined and likely doubled the existing problems he already faced.
When Sheriff Gootee took office in 2005 he conducted interviews with personnel at the Sheriff's Office. He wanted to know what problems were faced by the deputies and support staff. I can say for sure that he was told, at least once, that the communications system was faulty. He was informed that the system was a severe safety hazard. Again, in 2006, large groups of deputies informed Sheriff Gootee that the system was getting worse and asked why the system had not yet been repaired. Major Jim Wells stepped in for Gootee and placed the blame on Baker's Communications, the Sheriff's Office contractor for communications. With respect for Baker's Communications, I personally disagree and can only think of the word "scapegoat".
In 2006, I had a conversation with Commissioner Porter regarding the communications system in place at the Sheriff's Office and the failures being experienced. She was made fully aware that the communications system itself was faulty and agreed that something had to be done. The point of this conversation was that the safety of deputies and the public were put in jeopardy when this system failed. The system is the single point of communications for deputies to answer the public's calls for service. No radio = no response. Commissioner Porter promised that she would address the problem.
In all of these meetings it was unnecessary to discuss the staffing problem dispatch had always faced. Everyone who had worked even a day at the Sheriff's Office knew of this problem and simply dealt with it as best they could. Often, communications dispatchers are so overworked that a deputy cannot get through on the radio or cannot get anyone to answer. Even the famous Sheriff Gootee had his calls go unanswered a time or two. There is simply too much activity and not enough people.
#5 Aug 25, 2008
This brings me back to my initial point of confusion. Why does Sheriff Gootee continue to pretend that he does not understand the problems with communications? He has been told time and again. In fact, I recently had a conversation with one of his former Communications Directors, a former CCSO Lieutenant, who told me of the many times he informed the Sheriff about the lack of personnel. Indeed, the Director often worked as a dispatcher because Sheriff Gootee would not permit him to pay overtime or hire additional personnel. Of course, Gootee has been through at least three Directors since taking office. To paraphrase the former Lieutenant: He just won't listen!
In 2007, Sheriff Gootee hired an outside firm to evaluate Columbia County's communications center. On May 3, 2007 your newspaper reported the cost of this evaluation as $49,000. In addition, you reported that "Gootee has promised to abide by the consultant's recommendations given in the study...." Your latest article quoted Sheriff Gootee as stating, "The firm revealed that the center needed 54 dispatchers due to the amount of calls handled by the center." Gootee also revealed that the center currently operates with only 20 dispatchers. Interestingly, your latest article featured a quote from Sheriff Gootee which obviously goes against his earlier promise: "It was immediately decided that 54 dispatchers would not be feasible...." Well, we all know what promises are worth to our politicians these days.
So, we know that almost $50,000 was spent on a study that is apparently going to be ignored. Using Gootee's estimate of $89,000 for three dispatchers (as it would be charged to the city), we can estimate a single dispatcher would cost approximately $30,000.
#6 Aug 25, 2008
Does that mean we could have saved the $50,000 spent on the survey and hired almost two full-time dispatchers? Of course, since we already knew that we needed more people in the communications center. Sheriff Gootee had only been told this by three communications Directors and a great many of his deputies and commanders.
Since we're spending money creatively let's take a look at some other interesting expenditures. I'm relatively sure that Sheriff Gootee has spent at least $30,000 on each of the three new vehicles he purchased for himself since he has been in office. That looks like another three positions for dispatchers. I wonder if dispatch personnel were considered when Gootee asked for almost $500,000 for new vehicles from the county commission. In fact, I wonder what it cost him to get his office furniture re-covered? He has to have a nice place to, well, place himself. Finally, those new badges must have been an absolute necessity. Clearly more important than getting a 911 emergency call answered and handled.
In addition to the millions of dollars Bill Gootee has squandered on luxuries we should not forget that he was reportedly provided almost $250,000 from the County Commission to fix the problems with Sheriff's Office faulty radio systems. Supposedly this was provided when the county Fire Department came online, what, almost a year ago? In the Lake City Reporter article from May 3, 2007 Gootee said, "This is a high priority right now...." I suppose "right now" depends on whether or not someone is breaking into your home.
So, why is it that our County Commission cannot acknowledge that the problem is not with money and financing? Why, when they have clearly been made aware of the failures, can they not act? We continually see the same actions again and again. They throw more money at a problem that was created not by a lack of money, but by a lack of competent leadership.
Our Sheriff's Office under Gootee has experienced a turnover in sworn and non-sworn personnel like I have never seen before. Likewise, the communications center under Gootee experiences worse turnover of staff, services cannot be improved, and the situation only gets worse. It even expands to include new communications divisions (911 and Fire) that once operated efficiently.
Albert Einstein once said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". In reading your latest article on this problem, I began to wonder: Have we all lost our minds?
#7 Aug 25, 2008
The MASTER List - Almost half MIA
What you find here is a list of over 80 people who have quit, fired, or simply run away from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office since Bill Gootee took power. The only thing I have to say about this is just how thoroughly disgusted I am with Gootee. How could we let this happen?
Keep in mind that the current total staffing at the Sheriff's Office is at approximately 220. That means he's lost approximately half of the total force in only three years!
*Reasons for departure are not fully clear in all cases.
Note that this list continues to grow and is not complete by any means.
M. Hunter - Major
A. Hunter - Patrol
C. Brown - Patrol
K. Martin - Detetective
D. Brown - Detective
G. Kimble - Detective
J. McCardle - Detective
S. Lee - Patrol
J. McFarland - Patrol
J. Swisher - Patrol (later returned)
R. Nydam - Detective Lieutenant
D. Braswell - Patrol
J. Joyner - Patrol
R. Metrick - Task Force
J. Ward - Patrol
W. Ross - Patrol
S. Bivins - Patrol
J. Jewett - Patrol
C. Campbell - Patrol
D. Crosby - Patrol
G. Moore - Patrol
J. Lucas - Detective Lieutenant
R. Johnson - Dispatch Lieutenant
M. Williams - Patrol
#8 Aug 25, 2008
C. Ogden - Dispatch - Resigned for better position
V. Carter - Dispatch - Terminated
A. Hollingsworth - Dispatch - Resigned for better position
Y. Ball - Dispatch - Resigned for better position
J. Gross - Dispatch - Resigned for better position
M. Hall - Dispatch - Resigned for better position
C. Collins - Dispatch - Resigned for better position
V. Williams - Records - Resigned under Investigation
T. Simpkins - Records - Resigned under Investigation
J. Robinson - Clerk - Resigned
S. Solis - Dispatch - Resigned for better position
L. Hosleter - Crime Scene - Terminated
T. Hicks - Dispatch - Resigned for better position
D. Sauls - Dispatch - Terminated @ Election
W. Keen - Admin.- Resigned
J. Siegmiester - Admin.- Resigned under Investigation.
D. Lee - Admin.- Termintaed
G. Rooney - Crime Scene Asst.- Terminated
B. Minnich - Dispatch - Resigned
S. Weeks - Dispatch - Terminated
A. Bryant - Dispatch - Resigned for better position
S. Dwyer - Dispatch - Resigned for better position
S. Howard - Dispatch - Resigned for better position
V. Stock - Warrants - Resigned
V. Smithey - Jail - Resigned
R. Adler - Corrections - Resigned
C. Allan - Corrections - Resigned
P. Barcia - Corrections - Resigned
A. Biss - Corrections - Resigned
R. Biss - Corrections - Resigned
R. Brott - Corrections - Resigned
D. Burgess - Corrections - Resigned
J. Collins - Classification - Resigned
J. Cook - Corrections - Resigned
T. Craver - Corrections - Resigned
T. Daughtry - Corrections - Resigned
K. Dunmore - Corrections - Resigned
G. Duren - Corrections - Resigned
H. Glover - Medical - Resigned
P. Green - Corrections - Resigned
T. Hester - Corrections - Resigned
A. Hill - Corrections - Resigned
S. Hill - Corrections - Resigned
M. Howard - Corrections - Resigned
J. Jackson - Corrections - Resigned
M. Jerry - Food service - Resigned
D. Jones - Corresctions - Resigned for retirement
S. Riley - Corrections - Resigned
T. Lamonda - Corrections - Resigned
W. Main - Corrections - Resigned
P. McKee - Corrections - Resigned
A. Meeks - Corrections - Resigned under investigation
M. Sexton - Corrections - Resigned
P. Nicely - Corrections - Resigned
S. Patel - Corrections - Resigned
M. Pellicer - Corrections - Resigned
B. Rucker - Corrections - Resigned
F. Brookins - Corrections - Resigned
C. Smith - Corrections - Resigned
C. Smith - Corrections - Resigned
J. Southerland - Corrections - Resigned
A. Tunsil - Corrections - Resigned
R. Worden - Resigned under investigation
R. Yarborough - Corrections - Resigned
Total - 40
Courthouse / Civil Services
#9 Aug 25, 2008
Once again, I would like to take a moment to thank those of you who have helped make this site a success over the past two years. In discussing the site just yesterday, I remembered how much each of you have contributed to the project. Many of you have even researched issues and come back with such interesting facts and figures like those presented on Gootee's newest home on the river. Even more of you offer information that you have experienced firshand. Of course, everyone has an opinion on these topics, especially the disasters at the 911 center, and we all enjoy contributing our thoughts to these threads.
It is each and every one of you who have made this site such a success. But let us not forget those people who have helped the cause simply by spreading the word around town. Some of the most important people to us are those who become concerned about what's going on at the Columbia County Sheriff's Office and help just by telling someone else. It really does make all the difference in the world.
Finally, if you are new to the site, I'm sure you can easily determine its purpose. All we ask is that you have an open mind and take the time to read even a few of the postings. We have provided links along the left-hand side of this main page so that you can easily reach some of the more popular postings. The FORUMS are certainly the most popular section of the site, where you can contribute your own thoughts as you read others postings. Take note that you can do all of this completely ANONYMOUS. That is our protection for those who may work for or around Gootee.
Again, thank you all for your efforts. Tuesday is ELECTION DAY and our first chance to put an end to the Gootee administration once and for all!
Get the word out and GO VOTENOGOAT!
Your Webmaster ([email protected])
#10 Aug 26, 2008
It came to my attention late yesterday that the Son of A Goat (Gootee's son), or as some like to call him the Baby Goat, has taken one last opportunity to make threats against our very own Deputy Sheriffs. This worthless excuse for a human being and complete waste of air embodies all that we despise about Gootee. Indeed, he is an exact replica of Bill Gootee without any polish. He speaks exactly what Bill Gootee will do and does not think twice about what he's saying. In fact, it's our best way to get any truth from any of the Gootee clan.
Baby Goat took the opportunity to tell a sworn and certified Deputy Sheriff that they knew he supported another candidate and that he would be taken care of after the election.
This is what you can and should expect from Gootee. Vindictive and disrespectful to all. What a way to end such a terrible administration. Have your son go out and threaten your very own deputies so they do not feel free to exercise their constitutional rights. At least we can say he hasn't changed in 4 years.
Get the word out and GO VOTENOGOAT!
Can the PBA and get a "real union" to prevent such BS from ever happening again. Governor, are you reading this? Perhaps it needs to be forwarded to your office? Ok, consider it on its way to Tallahassee then...:)
#11 Aug 26, 2008
Acknowledging receipt of your email
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 2:15 PM
From: "Governor Charlie Crist"
To: James Johnston
Thank you for contacting Governor Charlie Crist.
Due to the volume of emails sent to the Governor, there may be a delay in responding to your email. Please know that the Governor's office is making every effort to respond to your inquiry.
Automatic response to your email
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 2:15 PM
From: "Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp"
I have received your recent email and appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
#12 Aug 26, 2008
Not enough folks saw this thread because I didn't post it early enough.
Trooper Slanker lost.
Hunter & Gootee will have a run off in November.
Hopefully Mark Hunter will prevail...
#13 Aug 26, 2008
Since Slanker did not get in, We all need to back Mark Hunter.
Mark needs all the help we can give him now.
Out with the OLD-TIRED-GOAT!
And yes Slanker is a standup guy, he and Mark Hunter only want the best for Columbia County.
Either one would be 101 percent better then bloated goat billy.
Thanks Slanker for a valiant try for The honorable Job as High Sheriff.
Now let's go get some on the Interstate, remember dope goes one way, and the dopers cash comes back the other.
#15 Aug 27, 2008
Rumor??? Was Slanker's campaign guy dealing with Gootee this morning at Gootee's HQ seeing what kind of deal Gootee will offer Slanker for his support?
#16 Aug 29, 2008
Gootee has this thing wrapped up. Hunter is a wanna be cop. Nobody at CCSO wants that prick back. We just stopped celebrating his leaving last week.
#17 Aug 30, 2008
#18 Sep 3, 2008
Hey Buzz is James Johnston your new screen name. You are the biggest loser in Lake City. I guess since you don't and have never had a girlfriend all you do is post stupid crap all day. How pathetic is your life. Why don't you use your real name Julius Busse Carey. I guess your afraid someone might find out about your child porn arrest back in 1989. I suppose if your on your computer our children are safe to play outside. Scum bag..
#19 Sep 4, 2008
Hey Tin Star Maggot--
How you be this fine Thursday? Awful I hope...:)
~ Hunter for sheriff ~
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