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In a Telling Surprise, Cops and 5 Public-Sector Unions Endorse Staly for Sheriff Over Jones

| September 23, 2016

staly sheriff endorsement

Rick Staly, center, saying goodbye to deputies in April 2015, a few days before he left the agency, when he was its undersheriff. A majority of the sheriff’s deputies have voted to endorse him as their next sheriff. (© FlaglerLive)

It’s a surprise, but not too big a surprise: the union representing the Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies voted by a significant margin to endorse Republican Rick Staly for sheriff last week, snubbing Democrat Larry Jones, even though Jones’s biggest selling point is that he was among the deputies’ ranks for 30 years, and had himself been a union member until his retirement two years ago.


Endorsements are not usually newsworthy or consequential beyond the rack-card blurbs they afford candidates receiving them. In this case, the endorsement is significant for several reasons: it’s the first clear indication of where a majority of the sheriff’s employees stand in an election year that combined the tumult of a combative election with disaffection over Sheriff Jim Manfre’s administration.

More significantly, it is actually six endorsements in one, as the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association is part of the new Flagler County coalition of public sector unions–the United Public Employees of Flagler–all of which have pledged to support each other’s candidates. In essence, Staly has won the endorsement of cops, teachers, school service employees, county and Palm Coast firefighters, and Palm Coast’s blue-collar workers, representing in all a block of 2,000 employees and many more family members, friends and neighbors.

The fact that the endorsement is also, in a sense, an upset of Jones, who should have been expected to win his peers’ vote, suggests that in a year when Republicans are far outpacing Democrats both on the county’s voter registration rolls and in early indications of voter turnout, Jones’s path to victory has narrowed further than it already was. Staly’s money advantage is also overwhelming. While booth candidates have spent most of the money their campaigns have raised, Staly outraised Jones by more than 10 to 1, and what money he has left, about $11,000 (after spending $128,000 so far) is more than the entire amount Jones raised. Jones has less than $1,000 left in his coffers, based on the latest available campaign finance reports.

The vote of the police union was also significant: it was not close despite a four-way choice. Cops could have chosen Jones, Staly, Thomas Dougherty—an independent whose campaign has been a puzzle—or they could have opted for no endorsement. The union has 180 members, 122 of whom cast ballots. Of those, 55 percent voted for Staly, 29 percent for Jones, and 15 percent voted for no endorsement. Dougherty got one vote. The vote showed little ambiguity.


“We’re excited at the prospect of electing a new sheriff. We’ve had the same two sheriffs for the last 16 years.”
 


“I think we’re all looking forward to a fresh start,” said Jon Dopp, a corporal at the sheriff’s office and the vice president of the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association. “I think we’re excited at the prospect of electing a new sheriff. We’ve had the same two sheriffs for the last 16 years, so we’re excited about some new thinking and perspective coming into the agency.”

Dopp was part of the interviewing process the union put the candidates through. Staly was chosen over Jones, in the end, because of his experience in leadership and his expected ability to steer the agency through challenging years of growth ahead, when experiencing with budgeting and political savvy—to deal with the county commission and the Palm Coast City Council—will be key. “All in all I think the members felt Staly was better suited to accomplish those goals,” Dopp said.

The union did not endorse anyone during the primary, preferring not to repeat what it had done in a past election, when a primary endorsement fed into the factionalism already created by a field of five candidates.

The union interviewers particularly grilled Staly over his two years with the current administration of Jim Manfre, when Staly was seen as the heavy, executing Manfre’s firings, demotions and transfers, which demoralized the ranks. “The majority of the membership understood that those decisions were made by Manfre, that Staly at times was put in a position that he had to act at Manfre’s request,” Dopp–who was promoted by Manfre–said.

larry jones

Larry Jones. (© FlaglerLive)

Staly in an interview today said he was “humbled” by the endorsement. “I think they looked at the qualifications, the experience and the vision,” he said. “When you look at that I think I’m the clear leader in those categories, so I think that’s why they went with me. They chose a proven leader and that’s what they want, they want someone they know will back them, will fight for what they need, and has a vision. The employees want to work, they want the handcuffs taken off of them and they want to serve the community, and I think they know I’m that leader. They feel like they’re not being backed currently, that they’ve been throttled on the ability to go out and do their job. Whether it’s accurate or not, it’s their perception.”

Staly said he’ll remain a hands-on leader who’ll continue to himself on occasion make arrests or patrol on certain nights. He also spoke of the agency’s need to add personnel. He’s already been having conversations about that with Craig Coffey, the county administrator. As it stands, and going by the national standard of deputy-to-population ratio, the agency is about 50 deputies short. He’s not expecting to close that gap and acknowledges that it would be too expensive and too heavy a burden on taxpayers. But a combination of deputies and other types of personnel, like the so-called public service agents used in St. Johns, Orange and Seminole County, would help begin closing that gap. Public service agents are typically former cops who can still be employed in less-than uniform capacities to conduct such things as investigating non-violent offenses—larcenies, criminal mischief—before turning those over to detectives, thus freeing other deputies to focus on more serious crimes.

As for funding, Staly intends to put a greater focus on grants, such as federal community policing grants (though those typically are funded by the federal government for up to three years, but the ranks they underwrote must then have to be paid for locally.)

“It’s all force multipliers when you put it all together, but you use different ways to achieve the goals so it’s affordable,” Staly said. He stressed that he wasn’t interested in steep tax increases, noting that he owns three properties himself. “I’m a taxpayer too, I don’t want to raise my taxes, either.”

Staly also said that the policing contract with Palm Coast, which hasn’t increased its ranks in years, would have to be renegotiated.

Jones had little to say about being passed over for the endorsement. “I didn’t know what to expect, a lot of the guys don’t know me,” Jones said, referring to the heavy turn-over at the agency since he retired about two years ago. But he said the endorsement is “not carrying much weight at this time.” He would not gauge the effect of the endorsement beyond that, even when factoring in the satellite endorsements of the five other public sector unions. “It’s up to the voters,” Jones said.

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36 Responses for “In a Telling Surprise, Cops and 5 Public-Sector Unions Endorse Staly for Sheriff Over Jones”

  1. Jim Bob says:

    They wouldn’t support Jesus Christ if he were black and a democrat.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Staly won’t be endorsed by me! There are to many people that know the real Staly by what we have all read in the local news-NO EMPLOYEE DOES THEIR EMPLOYER THE WAY STALY DID MANFRE! Staly even pretends he is the sheriff by concealing the “FOR” on his campaign signs with white on yellow making it nearly impossible to read when it should be predominately displayed. Jones has my vote and if he gets the support in the General like he did in the Primary he will be our next Sheriff!

  3. Haw Creek Girl says:

    #teamjones

    Larry can’t and won’t be swayed by PAC and Unions.

    #keepyourendorsementwewantvotes

  4. real truth says:

    White Supremacy at it’s best.

  5. Back to back says:

    You sir, are a bafoon.
    Jones has nowhere near the experience or the Davy to run a police agency. I don’t care if he’s a purple independent.

  6. The Geode says:

    Hopefully, the LOCALS will see past the “shiny cosmetically pleasing (white) guy” and vote for one of their own who has proven himself over the years. Seeing as how almost everyone here is NOT local and let’s face it, this IS a racist County – he don’t stand a chance…

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love Larry. He’s a great guy, but not a leader. Slim pickings again.

  8. JohnnyLaw says:

    Real Truth it’s not about white supremacy, it’s about the vision of moving the Sheriff’s Office into the future. If you don’t believe me then search on YouTube for Flagler PBA and watch the 3 interviews of Staly, Jones and Dougherty. Jones offered no ideas on how to improve things while Staly laid out a ton of ways to improve your Sheriff’s Office. Utilize your rignt to be informed.

  9. Richard Mikola says:

    I’m voting for Larry and I’m a Republican. I wouldn’t vote for anyone the teachers union endorsed.

  10. No surprised but disappointed says:

    If my calculations are correct…roughly 27% of the Sheriff’s Office employees are represented by the vote that endorsed Staly. 27 PERCENT! How is that in any way a decisive or majority decision? It is sad because if you examine Staly’s history…looking closely at ALL of the Sheriff’s that he worked for. All of them from Gallagher to Beary to Manfre ALL have stated roughly the same thing. Staly is a backstabber. Good luck FCSO. You may have just made the bed will be soon laying in.

  11. Steveo says:

    Two things

    1) I will be cancelling my CFPBA membership as a result of this vote (I support Larry Jones)

    2) The union members voted for Staly over Larry only because they don’t think Larry will win and don’t want to be on the bad side of Staly who has shown time and time again that he is heavy handed and will axe anyone who posses a threat to him.

  12. Old Lady says:

    I’ll be first in line; to vote for Larry Jones

  13. daveT says:

    Well Staly is not the man for the job, Staly is apart of the good old boy network and that is something Flagler County does not need. Staly could not get it done in Orange County the people finally saw through his scam and he left and I hope people in Flagler County see the same thing. I’m voting for Larry.

  14. anon2 says:

    @Old Lady: I’ll be right behind you in line to vote for Larry Jones.

    I hope that the African-American community takes note and show up in droves to support Jones, not because he’s black, but because he truly cares about all Flagler County residents and has proved it during his tenure as FCSO sargent.

    Palm Coast residents should note that Jones’ opponent intends to “renegotiate” the FCSO contract with the city, already in the millions of dollars. Your county taxes pay for FCSO law enforcement, these millions are over and above what you are already paying.

    Union member take note; your union has made a decision, not for its members’ common good, but out of fears for their own jobs. Elect Larry Jones.

  15. Geezer says:

    Ignore the racial undertones, and vote for Mr. Larry Jones!

  16. happeningnow says:

    Larry Jones does not have to promise anything right now. Talk is what it is ALL TALK. SO dept. has certain amount of funds. The real story MR Jones will NOT have to watch his back as the ones who will work with him will be honest, TO SERVE AND PROTECT!!!Not this childish behavior we read and see now.

  17. Tomo says:

    I don’t know enough about either candidate, by I’m stridently against broken windows. Anyone care to try and convince me where my vote should go? I am officially on the fence.

  18. rst says:

    I don’t particularly care who the union endorses. They do so for political reasons. I support Larry all the way…

  19. Since1987 says:

    Really, throwing in the race card? Just look at the qualifications, Stay is also an FBI Academy graduate. Get over it.

  20. real truth says:

    Uh, “UNIONS” did it ever cross your minds that Staly came into the Department as a Trojan Horse? Guess what he now knows whats in every one your files. Your strengths, secrets and weaknesses. If you don’t think he’s going to use it against you or clean house then you guys are nuts. At least you would have been able to work with Larry, now your just going to get WORKED!

    There’s nothing Larry could do that’s good enough for these haters if he won all they would do is blame him for whats going on in the middle east.

  21. MMuller says:

    PSA? Does Mr. Staly not realize the current COP volunteers who give countless hours already do duty at the courthouse as assistant bailiffs and respond to an average of 65 traffic crashes per month. They also work countless other duties. COP’s work for free PSA’s get paid. Too bad Mr Staly ignores their services.

  22. Heading North says:

    What a shame that they can’t (or won’t) support one of their own! Doesn’t say a whole lot for the PBA, which has always been absolutely useless anyway. I was a member for over 25 years, and they never dida damn thing for my department except take our dues!!!!

  23. I am informed...are u? says:

    JohnnyLaw.

    Sir what I observed in the PBA interviews was Larry Jones telling the truth. He stated he has to go through a transition planning phase once he is elected before he makes decisions that effect the Sheriff’s Office and the community. That is honest but not always the lip service that is needed to make some voters happy. What I witnessed from Staly was a whole lot of talking with no real substance. I also witnessed Staly break a federal law when he disclosed HIPAA protected information regarding our beloved late Joe Delarosby. Staly has a long history of scamming the press and his bosses into believing that he is a good man. History has a way of repeating itself.

    Rick Staly was an Orange County Deputy under Sheriff Gallagher. This is a clipping that describes how he became the undersheriff there, “Both of Beary’s current opponents supported him that first time out. In fact, Staly – then a watch commander – served as a MOLE for the Beary campaign, feeding Beary’s campaign an analysis of the department’s weaknesses and reporting on Gallagher’s attack strategies.

    After winning the election, Beary put Staly in charge of the transition team, and six months later made him undersheriff, the No. 2 post in the office. “He was a cop that had a good vision,” Staly says when he is exposed as a mole.

    Staly joined the force in 1977, and was a lieutenant when Beary became sheriff. He became Beary’s second-in-command in 1993, a position he held until 1999 when Beary demoted him and cut his pay by $20,000. At the time, the sheriff’s office deemed the move a routine personnel shift. After Staly entered the race, Beary said he demoted him because Staly wasn’t liked.

    In 2000, Staly violated office policy by appearing in uniform and displaying his office-issue pager in a vitamin ad without permission. In the ad, Staly boasted of earning $64,000 in three months selling vitamins to friends and co-workers. He was suspended for a day; the suspension was later rescinded in favor of a verbal reprimand. Then Beary’s chief deputy, and now undersheriff, Malone Stewart, ordered an investigation into a two-year-old incident in which Staly crashed his unmarked car into a tree while responding to a call.

    Eventually, after Staly threatened to file a federal complaint, he Then forced Sheriff Beary into a settlement, which included an agreement not to bad-mouth each other, and Staly retired. In March 2003, he switched parties and became a Democrat, which allowed him to skip a Republican primary when he ran for sheriff. SOURCE Orlandoweekly.com

    I attempted to reach Rick Staly’s former boss, Retired Sheriff Beary. He stated he can not talk about Staly because Staly forced him into that agreement “not to bad mouth each other”. We can talk to Staly’s last boss, Sheriff Manfre. In fact Sheriff Manfre has made it very public that hiring Rick Staly was the worst decision he made as Sheriff. “This is Staly at the heart of him, he is deceptive, arrogant, undermining, backstabbing individual,” Manfre said. “This is a true reflection of who he is and the person I unfortunately got to know.” SOURCE flaglerlive.com

    I think it is fair to say that both of the sheriff’s that Rick Staly worked under have NOTHING nice to about him now….after they have seen Staly’s true colors. Staly’s defense is that they were both unethical and they are mad at him for exposing them.

    Who should we believe? Let’s dig a little deeper. Is Staly the untainted ethical person that he says he is?

    Without revisiting the ethic violations in Staly’s past mentioned previously let’s examine his history here in Flagler County.

    Staly has stated that he moved to Flagler County for a job opportunity. Staly has stated that he will move away from Flagler County if he loses this election (PBA interview).

    Was Staly involved in Don Fleming’s situation with Ginn Resorts that led to Fleming’s ethical fine? YES

    Williams told The News-Journal Friday that Rick Staley told him Fleming had a free membership. Staley owns American Eagle Sentry Security in Palm Coast, which has a contract to provide security for Hammock Beach Resort. But Staley said in an interview Friday he never told Williams that Fleming had a free membership to Hammock Beach Resort. “No, no, that’s not true,” Staley said. “I haven’t talked to Jimmy in years.” Staley added he hasn’t talked to Williams in “probably four years or more.” That’s inconsistent with Williams’ statement to The News-Journal Friday that Staley told him about the alleged free membership when the two men ran into each other about a year ago at a store in Palm Coast. Staley said that didn’t happen. SOURCE Daytona NewsJournal Online

    Did Staly meet with multiple people in Flagler County to discuss his planned run for sheriff when he was still the undersheriff at the FCSO? Pollinger…YES Fleming….YES

    Did Staly orchestrate a political cleansing at the FCSO as a step to prepare for his run for Sheriff? YES

    Why did Staly stay so long at FCSO? Now….He tells people it was to protect certain employees and be a buffer. Then….he told people that he wanted the FCSO TO PAY FOR HIS SHOULDER surgery and that he was planning to resign after he returned following his medical leave….pay during that time. Insurance during that time.

    Staly takes credit for all the good and claims inability to stop all the bad….is this the man you like? Sheriff Gallagher called Staly a mole. Sheriff Beary stated that Staly is overbearing and not liked by cops. Sheriff Manfre called Staly his biggest mistake.

  24. Tinker Mushake-Trumponi says:

    “Steveo”, please hurry and cancel your membership and resign while you are at it. The union members voted for Staly because Jones and Dougherty couldn’t put together a single coherent throughout their interviews with the PBA. Larry Jones is a great guy but he was outdone by Staly. If you watched the interviews and disagree then the fact that you are a deputy is very concerning.

  25. TEAM JONES says:

    This article is a bunch of crap FlaglerLive. Give us a break. Larry Jones beat Jim Manfre and he will also beat Staly. You can spin the support any way you like. No one in this county believes that Staly is the best candidate. No one in the department believes it either. Give us a break please do not pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Stay can spend all of his funds and send out his BS mailers but in the end he will get exactly what Manfre got DEFEAT. The residents of this county will elect LARRY JONES as their next Sheriff and your misinformed media will have to report it.

  26. theevoice says:

    jones for sheriff=heheheheheheehehehehehehehehehehhe

  27. Jim N says:

    The numbers tell it all…..
    2000 employees overall between the 5 organizations yet the union has only 180 members…
    That is less than 10%….
    of the 10% that are members only 122 (roughly 75%) even voted
    of that 55% chose Staley… roughly 70 votes versus 45 votes
    but 70 votes out of 2000 is a mere 4% that makes the endorsement less than overwhelming in my opinion.

  28. DaveT says:

    If Staly wins, it will be nothing but a repeat of the GOOD OLD BOY network in the Flagler County Sheriff dept. I’m not sure 100% of Flagler County residents want that, or I hope not. People we in Flagler County need a change and that change is not Staly.

  29. Ws says:

    Get over it people, Staly will be the winner! Give it a rest please.

  30. Layla says:

    Rick Staly is Not the most experienced candidate in this race. He is the LEAST experienced.

  31. Dan Potter says:

    Rick, place another $250K in your race and you may come in second. Congratulations! Republican for Jones.

  32. The Oracle says:

    RICK STALY, is by far the most qualified person to be SHERIFF. Larry may be a nice guy, but there is a difference between having 30 years of experience, and having 3 years of experience, 10 times over. The citizens and deputies of FLAGLER, will love the professional and ethical approach that RICK STALY will bring to this great agency.

  33. The Oracle says:

    LOOK AT THE EDUCATION, BACKGROUND, TRAINING, LIFE ACCOMPLISHMENTS, PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Try to look past all of the politics and hurt feelings of those who lost. RICK STALY is by far the most qualified person for this position. The PBA MADE A WISE CHOICE!

  34. footballen says:

    I like Larry in this one. I’m not a guy that always votes R anyway. I try to be honest and just pick the best candidate. I try to do a lot of research and soul searching.

  35. Knowledge says:

    I’m a white Republican who has lived here for many decades and I’m voting for Larry Jones, a good and honest person.

  36. Dan Potter says:

    Larry Jones in more like Matt Dillion and Rick Staly is more like Barney Fife. I am a republican that just received my Larry Jones yard sign. Thanks Larry.

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