Long-Time Sheriff’s PIO Debbie Johnson Fired as Part of Continuing Restructuring
FlaglerLive | January 9, 2014
In the latest of continuing and broad changes at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office affecting ranks and the county jail, Sheriff Jim Manfre on Thursday announced the “layoff” of long-time Public Information Officer Deborah Johnson, whom he’d hired in his first year during his first term as sheriff in 2001, when Johnson was a reporter at the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Johnson filed a grievance early last year when Lt. Bob Weber was appointed PIO director, ahead of Johnson. Johnson will likely be replaced by Paula Prentiss, formerly a public information officer in Putnam County’s Sheriff’s Office, and currently a member of the Flagler Sheriff’s Office’s field training officer program. Prentiss, a deputy, will report to Weber. Re-classification of the position from civilian to a sworn law enforcement position will result in a savings of approximately $10,000, according to the sheriff’s office.
Manfre, at the one-year mark of his second tenure as sheriff–and a year to the day when several firings, demotions, transfers and promotions were announced– revealed several additional changes in the rank structure and operation of the agencies Neighborhood Services and Detention Services Divisions that will take effect January 22.
In an interview Wednesday, Manfre said the changes continue to reflect the modernization of the agency and its restructuring from eight years under the previous sheriff that Manfre has not shied from criticizing, from a managerial and law enforcement perspective, though a running theme of the restructuring has been the firing or lay-offs of men and women he’d previously either hired or promoted. On several occasions Wednesday Manfre said times were changing, and several of the individuals who’d been fired or laid off had not been adapting.
The latest changes were outlined in a release, reproduced below.
In the Neighborhood Services Division, Corporal David Williams, a 12-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, will be promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Corporal Williams is presently assigned to the agency’s Traffic Unit. He will be reassigned as a patrol supervisor on Alpha Platoon. The promotion of Corporal William is the first promotion of an African American to the rank of Sergeant in the Patrol Division since 1993.
The Neighborhood Services Division will also see the promotion of three deputies. Deputy Daniel Weaver, Deputy John Welker and Deputy Michael Miller are being promoted to the rank of Corporal. “Each of these deputies will be assigned to supervise patrol personnel and when needed work in patrol sectors replacing deputies that may be out on leave. These moves will provide Platoon Commanders more flexibility and provide greater supervision of patrol personnel,” Manfre said.
The promotions of Corporal Williams and the three deputies will have minimal fiscally impact on the agencies budget. Corporal Williams’ new position has been created in anticipation of the retirement of Sgt. Larry Jones who will be retiring in October. Two of the three new Corporal positions are being funded as a result of the vacancy being left by Williams’ promotion and the retirement of Cpl. Joe Leflar who retired in November 2013.
James Troiano, currently the Manager of Accreditation will be promoted to the position of Director. Mr. Troiano will be responsible for the agencies Accreditation, Training, Communication, Information Management Systems and Planning and Research sections. Mr. Troiano is a civilian employee with the agency. He will receive an increase in his salary from $50,000 to $63,000.
Captain Sam Ferris of the Detention Services Division will have his title changed to the rank of Senior Commander. His salary will be unchanged. The rank of Lieutenant in the Detention Services Division has been eliminated, as it was in the Neighborhood Services Division several months ago. Lt. Brian Pasquariello will serve as Executive Officer under Sr. Commander Ferris. Lt. Annette Henry will oversee Facility Operations and Lieutenants Lou Miceli and Tammy Stakes will oversee daily operations in the facility. There are no changes in the salaries of the Commanders.
“Over the past year I have witnessed the commitment that each of these Commanders has demonstrated to the safe and efficient operation of our Detention Facility. As we move forward with the construction of the County’s new Detention Facility, I feel it is essential that we have a solid rank structure in place so that the transition into the new facility will be as smooth as possible for both our inmate population and our facilities staff,” Manfre said.
Over the past several years, the Detention Facility has operated without the middle management position of Sergeant. Sheriff Manfre believes that the rank of Sergeant is an essential position and must be part of the command structure of the facility. Sheriff Manfre has therefore promoted three Corporals to the rank of Sergeant. Corporals Timothy Abruzzo, Manuel Sa and Hilda Arrieta will be promoted to the rank of Sergeant and will each oversee shifts within the facility.
Joining them to provide coverage across the facilities four squads will be Sgt. Glen Davis who is being reassigned from his current position with the Integrity and Accountability Unit to that of a shift supervisor. “In examining the command structure that was in place within the Detention Facility I found there was a need to add the rank of Sergeant back into hierarchy of our organization. I looked at what we had instituted in our Neighborhood Services Division and felt that it is working and decided to mirror the same structure on the detention side,” Manfre said.
Deputies Randy Vickers and Deputy First Class William Vazquez will fill two of the positions being vacated with the promotion of new Sergeants. These two promotions will bring staffing in the Detention Facility to four Corporals. The net result of the changes in Detention Services will be an increase in salary for three newly appointed Sergeants’ and the filling of two vacant Corporal positions.