Updated with a response from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office below
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has launched a new effort to re-classify all officers down to the rank of lieutenant as "at-will" employees.
Arizona Republic reporter Lindsey Collom described his effort in this piece today. It's on the agenda for the Weds., Jan. 9 meeting of the Pinal County supervisors.
A more memorable response to Babeu's effort came in an email that Pinal County Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Karns sent today to Babeu. In a classic "take this job and shove it" move, Karns cc'd the email to what seems to be hundreds of Pinal County employees. Here's the text:
Sent: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 10:06:09 AM
Subject: Retirement: I want To Thank You
I want to write this email to you, just to thank you. I want to thank you for a number of reasons.
First, I want to thank you for notifying me that you were involuntarily forcing an ‘at-will- position on me. I want to thank you for punitively reducing my pay by approximately $15,000. I want to thank you for ensuring that your executive staff relayed the message to me that once ‘at-will’, I would face termination.
I want to thank you rejecting the open and clear knowledge and the one-on-one reminder from your executive staff that I was planning on retiring in April of this year and to allow me that honor. I want to thank you for rejecting that information out-of-hand and for bulling ahead with punitive measures designed either to force my retirement or to put me in a terminable position. I want to thank you for the loss of critically needed pay-out monies I would have received in April and critically needed months of salary that I and my family are now going to have to re-plan for not receiving.
I want to thank you for seemingly attempting to negatively impact the reputation, career and earned retirement of a dedicated career-long ‘Merit-Employee’, one who has had a stellar career, free from controversy, free from scandal and one who has competitively tested, competed and ‘promoted’ (not appointed, Paul) through every classified-rank that the PCSO has; one who has commanded men and bureaus for longer than you have been a ‘cop’, and one who is an FBI National Academy Graduate.
I want to also thank you for the, what I view as, 'reprehensible' forced ‘at-will’ status change on the Lieutenants. I want to thank you for what is obviously nothing but a career-ending forced reclassification for some of them. Because, you see, Paul, if you were to have a heart-attack, get in a plane crash, gadfly off to some other political office that you deem of greater advantage ‘to you’, then any new Sheriff will, just as you did, Paul, terminate ‘at-will’ employees and replace them with loyal-minions.
Of course, you already know that, so, I want to thank you for that, also.
Why do I want to thank you, Paul, for taking all this (what to me is) dishonorable, unethical and nakedly (no pun intended) selfish action?
Well, I will tell you Paul, I want to thank you for handing me as good a ‘Constructive Termination’ cause of action as I have ever seen. So worry not, Paul, I will likely get the compensation back that your actions are costing my family, unfortunately not from you personally, but from the poor taxpayers of Pinal County who will likely continue to suffer such actions due to what you continue to do. Albeit it is important to note that I will not seek one dime more than what I lost, since that is the only fair thing to do.
I want to thank you for the punitive pay cut for me, my forced ‘at-will’ reclassification and my forced retirement, along with the forced ‘at-will’ reclassification of all the loyal dedicated career-Lieutenants who you have just placed in a position of total and complete control and support, operationally and politically, of YOU.
For, Paul, if they do not bow and accede to you every wish and desire, they face termination, regardless of whether that is your intention, or not. I want to thank you for openly doing this to these men and women who’s dedication and loyalty to the County and to the PCSO, is now repaid with a ‘forever’ atmosphere of constant nagging-fear, constant tension and constant stress, worrying if today is the day Paul terminates me.
Yes, Paul, the bottom-line reason I want to thank you, is that by these actions, you have just done something that has, so far, been illusive to most employees of the PCSO and citizenry at large.
You, Paul have unmasked yourself. You have revealed the ‘inner-Paul’, revealed what appears to be your real character and your true motivations, motives and plans. It is being viewed with disgust by some and I am sure, in some cases, with fear, surprise, disappointment and even horror. You see, Paul, nobody will believe you do not intend to continue this ‘at-will’ action right down the ranks, regardless of what you ‘say’. You have shown what it is that ‘you do’ and that has always been of far more value than what a man ‘says’.
Things inside will never be the same for you now, Paul and the already existing terrible morale, well, it just got worse, much worse.
Congratulations. You, Paul, have engineered an agency-wide epiphany for the employees, and, I believe, it will spread amongst other agencies and certain citizens when the real story makes its rounds. Oh yes, Paul, the facts will make their rounds.
The primary reason I am writing this thank you, is that it affords me the opportunity to put the facts out there, just in case you, or one of your cadre of loyal-minions were to attempt to paint it in some more, dare I say, ‘Paul friendly’ light…
So, Paul, thank you for all that you have done. I would like to say that I wish you the best and wish you good luck in your endeavors, but, well, I am not a liar, so I won’t do so.
All my best,
Captain Jeffrey Karns
Commander, Patrol Bureau
Pinal County Sheriff's Office
"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission." - Ayn Rand
UPDATE: Pinal County Sheriff's spokesman Tim Gaffney sent out this statement by Chief Deputy Steve Henry in response to Karns:
It is troubling Captain Karns reacted in such a manner to this organizational change to improve operations in the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. Captain Karns has always been very supportive of the many organizational changes and leadership decisions Sheriff Babeu has made during the past four years. As a testament to his support, attached is a letter he wrote on behalf of Sheriff Babeu recommending the National Sheriff of the Year Award.
Another interesting fact is just this week, Captain Karns sent the attached email through his chain-of-command commending Sheriff Babeu for his leadership and stance on arming school administrators to protect our children against the type of attack which occurred in Connecticut.
It is truly puzzling why Captain Karns over reacted to an organizational change that has yet to take place and I can only surmise that some other issue is in play that made him lash out.
Captain Karns officially retired today and we wish him well in the future.
The documents Gaffney sent are attached to this item.