Lies and myths surround my position on policing

Mar. 12, 2013 @ 08:45 AM

Lies and myths surround my position on policing

There is much misinformation, half truths and urban myths floating around out there let me try to clarify with fact and logic.

 The first myth that needs to be dispelled is the “They have always wanted to start a police department and this is only a ploy to do so” myth.

This is completely unfounded and an out and out lie.

About six years ago Gary D’Onofrio and Jeff Goodall ran and won seats on the Town Council. From day one they were accused of wanting to start a police department. This accusation continued until their very last day in office.

 When Darlene and I ran we were accused of wanting to start a police department even though we repeatedly stated to the contrary.

For two solid years your town council had 4 of the 5 members being accused of wanting a police department. So why didn’t it happen? It only takes a 3 to 2 vote to make it happen. It’s because we didn’t want to start a PD.

The second myth is that a contract negotiation means we are dissatisfied with the service from the Deputies. No, it means the contract is expiring and we want more clarity and a better contract for the residents of Indian Trail. Why do you think we never wanted a Police Department…We are happy with the Deputies service.

That said let’s look at the facts and the chain of events.

 The existing UCSO contract is a “Service” contract. This “Service” contract expires in July. (Copy attached) The relevance of the existing contract to the new one is “none”. We desire to negotiate a new one.

 For years the UCSO has told us that they wanted us to define the level of service we wanted. That is what a contract does. A contract answers the who, what, where, how and when of the agreement. It is important that the terms of the agreement be clearly stated. The terms of the contract--the obligations, expectations, and responsibilities of all the parties--must be detailed and without ambiguity. Once all the parties have read and understood the contract, the parties sign and date the contract. The contract is legally binding which means that once signed all parties are legally obligated to do what they have agreed to.

The 5 person Council deliberated. “Deliberation n. the act of considering, discussing, and, hopefully, reaching a conclusion, such as a jury’s discussions, voting and decision-making”. And came to a 4 – 1 consensus. “Consensus decision-making is a group decision making process that seeks the consent of all participants of the council.”

The Council appointed Town Manager Joe Fivas as our representative to present and negotiate our proposal. Contrary to some Luther and Allen do not make up a majority. A minimum of 3 are needed to make a decision and it was a 4 (Council Members Allen, Cohn, King & Luther) to 1 (Council Member Waddell) vote to send the First Draft Contract Proposal to the Sheriff. Town Manager Joe Fivas delivered our “First Draft” and we awaited the Sheriff’s counter offer to begin the negotiation process. (See attached draft contract proposal)

What we got back was an email filled with insults and name calling (see attached) where the Sheriff refused to negotiate at all, not a professionally prepared response stating what he would agree or not agree to, as we expected.

Remember by the Sheriff’s own admission they currently provide 85% of what we are asking for in the proposed contract. So what is the problem with putting it on paper? If two parties are in agreement why not put it on paper? Besides shouldn’t it be in writing guaranteeing that the interest of Indian Trail is protected in the future?

The remaining 15 percent falls into “Negotiation”. “Negotiation describes any communication process between parties that is intended to reach a compromise or agreement to the satisfaction of both parties.”

The Sheriff completely refuses to negotiate, that leaves the Council with two options: accepting the existing contract that says nothing or start an Indian Trail Police Department that would be accountable and answerable directly to Indian Trail.

The motion was to cease the negotiation process with the Sheriff and to instruct the Town Manager to begin immediately the steps necessary to start a Police Department with “No Tax Increase” and to extend to all Deputies assigned to Indian Trail an invitation to work for ITPD. (In North Carolina retirement benefits transfer from one NC law enforcement agency to another.)

As far as who knows the financials best I’d say the Town Manager and the Finance Director not the Sheriff. We can have our own PD without a tax increase.

See view/ page a11

If you want to see a tax increase watch what happens when they add 10 more deputies. That’s about a million a year or 5 million in five years bringing the total to the UCSO to 15 million. And you can’t even ask them where they are going or cap their increases under the existing contract.

So what do they do when they want to win but refuse to play by the rules? They cheat and deceive. Let’s face it this contract represents almost 10 million to the UCSO over a 5 year period just as it stands not including the additional deputies being pushed for by this political activist group. That’s a heck of an incentive.

First scare everyone with the lie that their taxes are going up. See the above motion. Wasn’t going to happen. Then you terrify the Deputies by telling them they would be out of work. See above motion. Wasn’t going to happen. (If anyone has the potential to put Deputies jobs at risk it’s the Sheriff. He’s the one who refuses to discuss a responsible 21st century contract.) Besides UCSO would have been phased out over time just as they did in Stallings and no deputies lost their jobs.

Then you organize an uprising. That did happen and the UCSO was in it to their eyeballs.

Most people don’t know there was a meeting held at Just Chillin’ where uniformed on duty deputies including our “Top Cop” Chase Coble met with others for the expressed purpose of disrupting the meeting and causing chaos. Their goal was to intimidate the Council. It worked.

The entire meeting from the beginning to the end occurred under the watchful eye of the Sheriff standing in the back of the room while his lieutenant, our Top Cop,  Chase Coble screamed at Council and called the Mayor a liar and our contract “trash”. The Mayor said Coble even went so far as to get in his face during break, pointing his finger at him and telling him “Watch Out!” And there is a credible witness that will testify so.

 How do you go back and negotiate in good faith with any organization that will stoop to such a low level.

So what happens if the contract expires without a new one and there is no Indian Trail PD.? Who is going to police us? The Union County Sheriff’s Office does. We pay Union County property taxes in addition to our contract. Add that up.

 The UCSO will get their contract because our Council has the spine of a jellyfish and do not understand the art of negotiation. What some seem to forget is we the Council represent the Town of Indian Trail, not the UCSO or the County. Darlene and my decision to stand tough will eventually be proven out just as it was when we fought for liquor by the drink the ABC Store, The Movie Theater, Road Bonds and the Parks.

It’s always the same group standing against advancing Indian Trail and unlike them our positions are substantiated with fact and logic. At what point do the decent people of Indian Trail get informed, involved and put a shoulder to the wheel of progress?

 

Robert W. Allen

Council member

Indian Trail