Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Union skips Pasco sheriff's hearing on contract impasse

Sheriff Bob White said health insurance for agency retirees would be too costly.

Sheriff Bob White said health insurance for agency retirees would be too costly.

NEW PORT RICHEY — Sheriff Bob White sat on the dais in the County Commission chambers Tuesday, ready to hear both sides of a long-standing impasse between his agency and the bargaining unit that represents his deputies.

The union had the floor first.

"At this time, we'll call upon the FOP," White's attorney Wayne Helsby said, referring to the Fraternal Order of Police.


"It appears, sheriff, that the FOP has no representative here," Helsby said.

For all the theater, it was no surprise union members stayed away. They have a lawsuit pending in the courts challenging White's right to even hold Tuesday's hearing. The union says the County Commission should be the final say in resolving impasse issues.

The sheriff says he should be.

Back to the hearing. When no one from the union spoke, Al Nienhuis, the undersheriff, argued the Sheriff's Office side. He said the agency has been "proemployee" on issues including sick and vacation time, pay and promotions.

But he held his ground on the two issues that have stalled contract negotiations for more than a year. The union wants the Sheriff's Office to provide health insurance for members after they retire but before Medicare kicks in. White opposes it for financial reasons.

Secondly, the union wants more rights to appeal disciplinary actions taken against members. The sheriff wants the current system to remain in place.

When Nienhuis finished, White said he would consider the positions of both sides and make a decision soon.

Stuart Rosenfeldt, the FOP attorney, said he expects White will "rubber-stamp himself" in deciding the two issues. So the union is looking ahead to having its lawsuit heard.

"We hoped that Sheriff White would've had the fortitude to wait and see what the court said instead of being his own interpreter of the law," Rosenfeldt said.

That question of legislative authority is an open one in Florida. But the county, for its part, is deferring to the sheriff for now.

"Until the time that somebody says that it's the responsibility of the Board of County Commissioners, we think the sheriff should serve in that role," County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder said.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at or (727) 869-6245.

Union skips Pasco sheriff's hearing on contract impasse 03/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2008 10:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.