BSO DID NOT GIVE A PRIVATE COMPANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN FREE GAS
Tuesday afternoon, Ch. 10's Bob Norman reported a story that misrepresented the truth. Despite being presented with the facts, station News Director Bill Pohovey doesn't believe a correction is needed as the statements were attributed to IUPA Union President Jeff Bell; however, we want the public to know the full story.
CLAIM: "In roughly one year's time, a private company pumped nearly 6,000 gallons of Broward Sheriff's Office gas paid for by taxpayers into its own vehicles -- and now that dubious expenditure is fueling a no-confidence vote by patrol deputies in an effort to help push Sheriff Scott Israel out of office."
Sheriff Scott Israel contends the only reason IUPA Union President Jeff Bell is pushing a vote of no confidence is in an effort to extort a 6.5 percent raise from the sheriff, as they are currently in contract negotiations.
CLAIM: "…BSO union chief Jeff Bell, who is overseeing the vote, said the gas giveaway is more evidence that the sheriff is unfit for office and that Gov. Rick Scott should remove him from his post for incompetence and neglect of duty."
Jeff Bell first raised questions about the NAPA fuel usage in late 2015, and his questions were immediately addressed. His concerns were satisfied, as he went on to endorse the sheriff for reelection six months later. (See letter of endorsement)
CLAIM: "The BSO gave Napa Auto Parts, which has a contract to deliver parts to BSO's fleet, access to its gas tanks…"
In December 2015, Col. Jack Dale told Jeff Bell the Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue fleet has a contract with NAPA Auto Parts to pick up parts at area locations and supply parts to their fleet. This allows mechanics to work on getting emergency vehicles back in service quickly, an idea adopted from a similar contract with the City of Miramar. The contract requires BSO to cover the fuel costs. It's more cost-effective for NAPA to use BSO's fuel as it is acquired at a bulk rate. (See NAPA Auto Parts Contract)
CLAIM: "…public records obtained by the union show that the company was responsible for taking 5,786 gallons of publicly financed gas from BSO pumps in about a year's time."
If NAPA gets fuel from a commercial station, BSO would be responsible for the retail price plus up to a 10 percent administrative fee. In this fuel usage breakdown, you will note the total fuel cost since November 2014 is $6,047.45 (that's for more than three years).
CLAIM: "Bell said the BSO told him the company was given free BSO gas as a way to offset the cost of the contract, but the union chief said the practice is unsound for a number of reasons and opens up the potential for abuse."
A review of the fuel usage was found to be consistent with the amount of work done for BSO.
Again, per the contract, BSO is responsible for the fuel cost. NAPA has one BSO issued gas card that is assigned to one NAPA vehicle and restricted for use at BSO fueling sites. It is not a take-home vehicle for NAPA representatives and it is parked at a BSO fleet facility overnight. (See section 10 of the NAPA Auto Parts Contract)
CLAIM: "Bell said deputies first discovered that the BSO was allowing Napa to use the BSO gas tanks months ago. He said he personally sat down with Israel to voice his concern about the practice and was told it would stop. Then earlier this month, a deputy spotted a NAPA truck back at the BSO pump behind the gates at Station 32 near the airport pumping gas and took photographs to prove it."
Again, nothing has changed since Dec. 2015 when Jeff Bell first inquired about the gas usage. In April 2016, BSO received a request for records pertaining to the NAPA contract and fuel usage. After BSO responded to the request, the union did not inquire further on this issue.