BALANCE SHEET BLOG – HOLLYWOOD, FL


Election Violations – Police Union
November 7, 2012, 12:36 PM
Filed under: City Staff

Update: March 8, 2013. We just learned that after earlier unsuccessful service of process,  the City finally served the PBA’s registered agent on Feb. 26, 2013.  Arraignment is set for April 4.

November 8, 2012.  Police Union Charged with Illegal Election Activity

Editor’s Note:  This post is not about the candidates.  We now have winners and it’s important that we unite in helping them succeed.   Campaign finance reform is the subject of this post.  The Charter Review Committee wanted citizens to know who was financing ads supporting or opposing candidates for the City Commission. The Commission agreed, and the Charter now requires it.

Alleging election-related violations of the City Charter, Hollywood’s City Attorney, late last month, charged the City’s police union with unlawful conduct.  The Police Benevolent Association’s failure to file the campaign finance reports required by Section 3.12 of the City Charter is set out in a Municipal Information** filed in county court.

The City Charter, amended in 2010 to include a section on campaign finance reform, requires disclosure of all contributions received and expenditures made by an “Express Advocacy Organization” in City Commission elections. The City’s charge against the PBA relates to its activity in the District 3 City Commission race. Under the City Charter, the public is entitled to know the source of the union’s funding for its electioneering activity targeting Commissioner O’Sheehan.  The union has refused to file the required reports disclosing this information.

The penalties for City Charter violations are limited by State law to a maximum fine of $500 or 60 days imprisonment, or both. We are unaware of the union’s rationale for noncompliance.  Perhaps it considers the penalty a slap on the wrist.  Or perhaps it has a legal argument for considering itself exempt from the City’s campaign finance requirements.  In due course, the matter will be resolved.  Meanwhile, it is disquieting that the union representing those responsible for enforcing our laws is charged with violating them.

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**”An information is tantamount to an indictment in that it is a sworn written statement which charges that a particular individual has done some criminal act or is guilty of some criminal omission. The distinguishing characteristic between an information and an indictment is that an indictment is presented by a Grand Jury, whereas an information is presented by a duly authorized public official.” West’s Encyclopedia of American Law


17 Comments

It is my understanding that all appropriate finance reports have been filed with the Secretary of State , and ARE available to those who want to find them.

There are many instances , thruout the history of the Hollywood PD , of not only bad issues but bad officers. That cannot be denied. nor can their refusal to comply with the citys changes to campaign election law be viewed with anything but question.

But what also cannot be denied is that the Police Union has given far more BACK to the city than its Fire Department counterpart . One cannot deny that in this wondeful campaign that was just concluded in District 3 , police officers FAMILIES were labeled as ” special interest groups” Does that make everyone who works for the city AND THEIR FAMILIES special interests ? That was, and is , one of the most despicable statements made by a sitting comissioner in the hostory of rotten Hollywoood politics.

While the legal issues of how both Callari AND Biedermann will or will not be able to vote on issues affecting their respective spouses ( and families) are still to be detailed , I think that once they actually find out just how complicated the situation of running a city government is , their views will take on a different look. Its always easy to sit on the outside and make judgements. Once you understand what really goes on inside , it forces you to reevaluate previously held ideas.

i also see no condemnation of the recent takeover of ASFCME by enterprise fund workers , WHO RECEIVED NO PAYCUTS, NO REDUCTION OF BENEFITS AND STILL GET PAY RAISES !
if you are going to beat up one union for political activity, be fair and beat them all up. Or, real;ize that the people who actually work for the city , the ones who answer YOUR calls , listen to YOUR problems , are tired of being dumped upon and have taken steps to help control their own future.

I see the fact that for the first time in my memory we have elected officials who DO have spouses working for the city as a good thing. Perhaps , some sanity will dispersed to those who do nothing but criticize the system.

Wait , its Hollywood .After all” its like nowhere else ” !

Comment by Jeff Brodeur

Jeff…You state that the PBA has given back more to the community/city than their fire department counterpart. First, I’d love to hear any facts or evidence you have to support that claim. Second, a union exists for the employees. The employees themselves make up the fire union ( the PBA president is not a Hollywood police officer, but the fire union’s representatives ARE hollywood firefighters). I have been a Hollywood firefighter for 8 years. I haven’t been keeping track of how much we’ve given back to the community, nor have I been comparing our community contributions to what PD has done. I didn’t realize it was a competition….

Comment by Brian Wilkie

It’s disheartening to me to see so much time and energy expended in an effort to further widen the divide between the employees and residents of Hollywood. It’s time to put our differences aside. We have new representatives. Let’s move forward and create a new, positive identity for this city. We should collaborate constructively and respectfully in an effort to find fair and sustainable solutions to the challenges we face. Stop the negative conversations and start discussions that will contribute to positive results. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Comment by Brian Wilkie

After receiving the fear mongering, misleading, direct mail pieces full of half truths/lies that the PBA union sent out with Ms. Callari’s stamp of approval, I don’t doubt they do not want to be identified publicly as the creator/authors of such repugnant garbage.
Mard Podesta, resident District 3

Comment by Mardi Podesta

This statement doesn’t make sense. The PBA clearly identified themselves as the sender of the mailings. The bottom line is three new candidates were elected to the commission and they will all do a great job!.

Comment by Resident

We agree with you that it’s time to unite and help our three new commissioners succeed.

But please understand that this post is not about the candidates, not about winners and losers, not about campaign tactics. It is about the City’s campaign finance reform that took place in 2010. Candidates for City Commission have long been required to file periodic reports disclosing who contributed to their campaigns and how much was contributed. The Charter Review Committee felt that this same disclosure should be required of electioneering groups active in City Commission elections — not just the name of the group, but the names of those who donated to it. The Commission agreed, and that requirement is now part of the Charter. We believe noncompliance is a bad precedent.

Comment by Balance Sheet Blog

As a member of the 2009 Charter Review Committee, I am shocked that this union would violate the revisions to Article 3 of the City’s Charter. Of course, no one would suspect any individual police officers of violating the City Charter and the Balance Sheet is obviously not insinuating that at all. However, the police union officials who so far, to date, have failed to abide by the revision to Article 3 of the Charter will have to explain to their membership why this is happening.

Comment by Terry Cantrell

Terry,

The PBA leadership are not political neophytes. They are very adept and knowledgeable in the political arena. They have always filed the appropriate forms and reports with the proper agency. It appears obvious that their legal team believes they are in compliance with the appropriate governing bodies holding jurisdiction in this case.

This is a disagreement for the courts to decide, and the last time I checked, the American Flag was still flying in front of City Hall and the United States Constitution still carried some weight. The PBA and the officers who make up its membership have every right to contest the City’s opinion.

I think the real scandal here is the inappropriate influence Heidi O’Sheehan has placed on the City Attorney to pursue this matter in criminal court.

Comment by Enoch Thompson

Just a thought, but other than the possable conflict of interest of her being the wife of a HPD officer (Mrs Callari), I can’t help to think that there might be another being the employee of a public hospital located in the district she will oversee (Memorial Regional).

Comment by Craig T

I agree. How can either Ms. Callari or Kevin Biederman vote on issues that affect their spouses? Additionally, how can they be party to the confidential information regarding salary negotiations? It would be quite difficult to keep from accidentally disclosing such information.

Comment by Charlotte Greenbarg

The Broward County Police Benevolent Association provides labor relations assistance and collective bargaining services for contract negotiations. They also operate political action fund that contributes to local and state political races which in turn helps influence their candidates to take a strong stance on law enforcement. I can understand if you have questions concerning the actions of the Broward County PBA and their P.A.C. Fund, but the suggestion you made in this blog that the Hollywood Police Department and/or their officers violated any laws is factually inaccurate.

Comment by Matthew Gouthro

There was no intention to imply that individual officers or the department violated any laws, only the union that represents them. We have changed the language slightly to make that clearer. Thank you.

Comment by Balance Sheet Blog

I appreciate your attempt to clarify this issue, but I along with many other readers of your blog are finding it difficult to differentiate your stance on this when you have this blog post filed under “city staff”.

Comment by Matthew Gouthro

This is so detrimental to the City, to the voters and to democracy. It is patently outrageous, but falls right in with the sorry history of Hollywood.

Comment by Charlotte Greenbarg

Charlotte,

I understand that you’re upset because your political soulmate, Heidi O’Sheehan lost the race, but aren’t you being a bit over dramatic? The PBA has every right to disagree with the City’s interpretation of the rules governing elections. The PBA membership has every legal right that you or any other private citizen has. I’ve noticed that you’re not shy about speaking you’re mind and criticising the decisions of others, but god forbid the police officers express their constitutional rights.

I’m not surprised with your attitude and response, because I have witnessed other derogatory statements you have written or spoken about the Hollywood Police Department.

Know this; the Country spoke last night and they are tired of the Tea Party mentality. No longer will police officers and firefighters allow themselves to be portrayed as the causes of society’s economic ills. No longer will they allow themselves to be relegated to the status of serfs by jealous narrow minded people. They will exercise their constitutional and legal rights and defend themselves when they are unfairly criticised by those who think they are more deserving of the American dream.

Comment by Enoch Thompson

“Enoch Thompson” methinks thou dost protest too much. The least you could is identify yourself. Or are you just following orders?

Your delusions about what you’ve witnessed me say only serve to diminish those whom you would defend.

Lest we forget the FBI sting that caught some of the police, but was truncated when the then-chief told the mayor, etc. what the FBI told him not to reveal. Had any one of us done that we would have been charged with obstruction.

And that is awful for honest, hardworking officers who only want to do a good job to protect and to serve.

Comment by Charlotte Greenbarg

Nucky, It is quite telling that you choose to use the name of a real 1920’s mafia, union gladhandler. By the way, his real name was Enoch L. Johnson…..Just saying.

Comment by Craig T




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