Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 at 10:45am

Silence and Pay Unrest at Sheriff’s Department

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Silence and Pay Unrest at Sheriff’s Department

Almost three weeks ago, The Right Side of the Lake posted an interview with retired Lake County Sheriff’s Captain Mike Ford in which he made some stunning allegations against Sheriff Gary Borders, which questioned his core character and leadership in regards to his leadership of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.  Prior to releasing the interview, we reached out to Lieutenant John Herrell from the Sheriff’s Department Office of Professional Standards to give him an overview of the allegations and let him know that Sheriff Borders would be given an opportunity to rebut the column.  We also publically offered Sheriff Borders an opportunity to refute any of the allegations in the column itself.

Silence

Sheriff Borders’ silence on the allegations made by Retired Captain Ford is deafening.  What is he saying with his silence?  Ford’s allegations are very serious, and he contends that everything he has said can be corroborated by multiple witnesses still employed within the department.  Here is a brief recap of some of Ford’s allegations:

  • Ford confirmed the FBI interviewed him in their investigation of Sheriff Borders giving a car to an inmate.
  • Ford believes Sheriff Borders has engaged in inappropriate relationships with some “mostly young and new hire” employees.
  • Ford contends that fellow Deputy Lee Piper was given special treatment by Sheriff Borders, and an incident Ford had with Piper was used against Ford.
  • According to Ford, other inmates claimed to have seen then Major Borders grope an inmate, and that Ford transferred the inmate to Seminole County at Border’s bequest to “make it go away.”
  • According to Ford, Deputy Scott Stone does not have to follow the chain of command because of his personal friendship with Sheriff Borders.
  • Ford contends there is selective prosecution of Lake County students by school resource officers based on their parents’ status as held by Sheriff Borders.
  • Widespread corruption of gas/vehicle expenses by leadership using the excuse of being “on call” to justify the charges is alleged by Ford.
  • Ford alleges Major David Mass had a Sheriff’s Department employee take the Administrative Officer’s Program by the Southern Police Institute for him at a cost of $12,000 to taxpayers, so he could get an increase in salary.  He discussed the matter with second in command Peyton Grinnell who said leadership was aware of the Mass situation and that “it was not a fire-able offense and nothing could be done about it.”  In short, Ford contends that Sheriff’s Department leadership sanctioned the fraud of Major Mass.
  • Ford says Medical Director Kevin Lenhart does not have medical certifications to administer treatment to inmates and that he only got the position because of his friendship with Sheriff Borders.
  • Ford alleges that six to seven current Sheriff’s Department employees are on staff to hold community meetings in gated communities, and these meetings are really campaign events for Sheriff Borders.

These are very serious allegations; and, quite frankly, since these stories were released, we have been flooded with other people, including current Sheriff’s Department employees, coming forward with additional allegations.  In our experience, in Lake County politics when a story or column is run in which the politician disagrees with or questions the facts, we will see immediate denials or information brought forth, which rebuts the story.  It is human nature for politicians to defend themselves and offer a different view point when they feel they are unjustly attacked.  We are dumbfounded by Sheriff Borders’ silence on allegations of this magnitude.

Pay Unrest at the Sheriff’s Department

A big issue that is bubbling up in the Sheriff’s Department is the pay discrepancy between front line Deputies and those in leadership.  We have been contacted by two people through our anonymous “contact us” link, who identify themselves as current employees of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.

Here are their comments:

Major Mass’s salary increased $35,000 in five years!!! He is
currently the head of the Jail and has cut more employee incentives and
overtime causing employees to work dangerously understaffed and over
inmate populated. He has also been know to have made the statement to his
employees that “We must do more with less” referring to budget cuts and
lack of funds and “that the employee should just be glad that they have a
job in such tough economic times”.

I believe that the Lake County tax payers deserve to see that their
taxes are not being spent wisely and it is the individuals in high ranking
positions, who manage these funds that are abusing them. Not the entry
level or even the 5-20 year employee who puts his/her life in danger
everyday just too barely makes ends meet.

And the other comment:

Please check into allegation of a pay raise scandal.   Front line officers have not been given a raise in four years.   I understand this economy is in the dump.   Allegations have been made that upper level employees as well as a select few have been getting raises every year.

The state of Florida has a website in which you can pull up salaries of government employees in the state www.floridaopengov.org/index.php/county-payrolls, and we have reviewed both the history of pay increases within the department and the top pay increases from 2008-2011.  We are not going to publically display the salary history of all Lake County Sheriff’s Office employees; however, we are going to release a spreadsheet on the top increases since 2008 (Top Salary increases in PDF).  Frankly, it appears in what we have reviewed that a disparity exists in the pay increases between high ranking officials and deputies.

Ford discussed three people (Kevin Lenhart, Lee Piper and Scott Stone) who have had close friendships with Sheriff Borders.  We decided to evaluate if there was a correlation between their pay increases and Ford’s allegations.  We also peeked at Major David Mass’s pay increases to see if he received a  large pay raise in the last few years.

We reviewed these four salaries from 2006-2011 (the time period Sheriff Borders has been in office).  Medical Director Lenhart’s pay increases only reflect a period from 2008-2011, because he is a newer hire with only three years of service.

  • Scott Stone’s salary increased from $30,321 to $50,945 or 68%.
  • Lee Piper’s salary increased from $51,289 to $68,661 or 34%.
  • Kevin Lenhart’s salary increased from $45,488 to $77,495 or 70% (in just three years, and this is for someone who can’t even administer a flu shot).
  • Major David Mass’s salary increased from $78,330 to $109,558 or 40%.

There is no doubt about it-these huge increases in salaries suggest there is credibility to Ford’s allegations that friends of Sheriff Borders are treated better than others.  This could open up serious EEOC issues.  Also, how many private sector employees have seen wage increases every year since 2006, and at these amounts?  These numbers also call into question Sheriff Borders’ entire budget.  Attached is the detailed information (Four Employee Wages in PDF) we collected from the state of Florida on their salaries.

Once again, we call on Sheriff Borders to come forward and explain to the taxpayers why these individuals are receiving pay increases of this magnitude during such terrible economic times.

One Response Defending Borders

Last week, we received on our website a comment posted from a person purporting to be an official with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.   He/she said the following about our coverage:

This site represents the epitome of irresponsible journalism and is a disgrace to reputable media everywhere. There can be no validity found in the unsubstantiated, untrue and at times slanderous allegations made in these reports and posts. The editors of this site shoulder the responsibility of ensuring that the information is verifiable and accurate of which they have failed miserably.

And then this person made a comment about the presumable Retired Captain Mike Ford and those who made comments on the site after the story was posted.

Don’t assume that the ranting’s of a few disgruntled employees or from people that are to cowardice to provide their identity as true.

In this person’s lengthy comments, the writer did not address the detailed allegations made by Ford.  In his interview, Ford admitted he was a disgruntled employee and stated the reason why.  Does that minimize the seriousness of his allegations?  In fact, are allegations of corruption ever made by someone who is not disgruntled?

Some have called our columns against Sheriff Borders a smear campaign; however, a smear is something you know is not true and the allegations are usually made by an unnamed source.  These are allegations made by a long-term employee who has publically identified himself.  In addition, our group notified Sheriff Borders’ office prior to the release of the newsletters to make sure of Ford’s credentials.  Sheriff Borders was welcome before and after to rebut the comments of Ford.  Yet, he has chosen silence.

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54 Responses to “Silence and Pay Unrest at Sheriff’s Department”

  1. I have to compliment him on how liberal he is in posting comments that oppose his point of view. I’ve submitted some unflattering comments about him and Romac, and he did post them. Farewell, your complaint is not justified.

  2. Just how many posters misspell though-t- ? on a regular basis? LOL

  3. admin says:

    We try not print emails and links on blogs because of spam and virus issues, some times they slip through. In addition, we try to not allow any emails or contact information of other people to be posted because it may be a hoax. Never attacked Bainter’s son, and her daughter was a campaign official for Metz.

    Finally name one website or local paper that allows this much honest debate on it- you can’t.

  4. Don.

    Thank you for being undependable Don M, and deleting both of the contact information for Mr Powell. We though perhaps you might find the decency to leave either the phone number or his email address for those who would care to contact him concerning this matter.

    Once again we have used another media source to provide that information to those who would like to have it, the people with brains knows where that is. The un filtered one.

    I hate to agree with the likes of people like Richard Riker but, for the like of me you are about as dependable as diarrhea.

    Hey, Robuck owns this game and he can set the rules and he can change then every hour if he so want too. But it all goes to crediblility and you have ost every ounce of what little but you once had.

    Rules like you don;t attack wives and families, Yea; just as long as that doesn’t include Marilyn Bianter’s son and daughter.

    Your manipulation of the truth is such a shame.. I mean how in the heck you you expect all these bloggers to know who is protected by the Right side when we don’t know who all has been married to the she coon of the republican party of Lake county?

    Farewell………….

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