January 04, 2009

FL: Shirk disease spreads to Lower Alabama

More tomfoolery from Florida, land of elected chief public defenders, from the P'cola News Journal:

Owens shaking up office - Incoming public defender sniffing out staff threats

Public Defender-elect James Owens says "credible threats" have been made to his safety, and he will have police dogs search the public defender's Pensacola office when he takes office Tuesday. Owens, who will replace 36-year Public Defender Jack Behr, said Saturday the threats come from employees in anticipation of upcoming layoffs in his office.

He refused to be specific about which employees made the threats, the number of threats or the nature of the threats. But he said he expects law officers to search for weapons and dogs to search for gunpowder...

Owens himself will lead the search for the duplicate key to the p.d. office icebox from which a quart of frozen strawberries was stolen.

At 4:59 p.m. Friday, the more than 100 employees in the Pensacola office received an e-mail with the subject line "IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM MR. OWENS..." The e-mail... instructed the Pensacola employees to remove their personal belongings by 5 p.m. Monday. It further said security key cards that allow employees entry to the office will be deactivated as of 5 p.m. Monday. The employees were instructed not to report to work earlier than 8 a.m. and were told that they will have to enter the courthouse through metal detectors like the general public...

Via Progressive Pensacola, who seems to underplay how bizarre and unprofessional this shake-up is.

Update 01/07/09, from the PNJ: Bizarre beginning


Derek Cosson said...

I guess you could call it underplaying. I'm not personally familiar with the inner workings of the public defender's office; I only know what I get from personal sources and area media. I did not support Mr. Owens in the election, and generally oppose the kind of tactics he seems to favour, but from what I hear the PD's office could use some shaking up. Now, Mr. Owens could probably be handling the situation better, but for employees to think they are immune to layoffs is unrealistic. I and many other private sector employees live in fear of layoffs in this current economic turmoil; government employees there or elsewhere should not be untouchable. Government, like private business, must learn to live within its budget.

Derek Cosson

Shelley said...

Does the Florida bar not have a professionalism duty? Yikes.

tkr5x said...

Jimmy Owens, and his loyal side-kick Phony Henderson have now had almost four years in office to prove themselves.

They have turned the PDO from a mildly undersupervised, but top quality operation, into a disastrous clown show, infected with cronyism and nepotism. These two are as corrupt and unethical as it comes. Anyone who dares to disagree with the "leadership" is fired. Anyone who was a campaign supporter gets an elevated salary and a reduced work load.

And now, he has hired former Gov Crist's political adviser to consult on his campaign. That's Mike Burns -- he does one day per week of legit PD work, and collects $74k per year spending the rest of his time running a campaign.