Thursday, November 15, 2012

PEER blasts DEP manager's "shockingly draconian" actions

The following news release was published by the organization, Public Employees for EnvironmentalResponsibility (PEER).  It is reprinted here in the interest of taking advantage of every opportunity to make the public aware of the moronic and inept management decisions being made by the non-professional politicos of the Rick Scott administration.  The dismantling of Florida’s mantle of protection for its unique and fragile natural environmental continues unabated.  We should be asking ourselves, how much more damage might he and his minions reap in the remaining two years of his first disastrous term in office and will the state ever be able to recover?
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Staff Told to “Demonstrate Job Creation” as Colleagues Escorted Out of Building
Tallahassee —The Scott administration has begun laying off environmental employees in a shockingly draconian fashion, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Besides mass firings, state officials are abolishing scores of vacant positions, making it impossible to counter accumulated attrition at a time when environmental performance is already plummeting.
During the past few weeks, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) –
·       Fired 25 employees in the Southwest District Office in Tampa and eliminated 14 vacant positions, thus shrinking the workforce by more than a quarter;

·       Axed 15 employees in the Tallahassee Division of Water Resources while abolishing another 24 vacancies. One manager was fired because he refused to terminate an employee who was ill; and

·       Has told other districts to brace for further “changes.”
The harsh manner of the firings is also striking. In the Tampa office, all 150 district employees were told to pack up their personal belongings and put them in their cars because 25 of them would be fired the next day. They were then told to return to their stations and work the rest of the day. The next day 25 of them were summarily fired and immediately escorted from the building. The surviving employees were then told to retrieve their personal belongings and return to work as if nothing had happened.
DEP deputy secretary
Jeff Littlejohn
“This is no way to treat employees, let alone career public servants,” stated Florida PEER Director Jerry Phillips, a former DEP enforcement attorney. “These callous and needlessly cruel tactics suggest a staggering level of managerial incompetence.”
These moves are being orchestrated by Jeff Littlejohn, the DEP Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs, who has also issued new personnel “criteria” which, among other things –
·       Link any pay raise to a cost savings, thus giving DEP supervisors a bonus only if they fire staff;

·       Require any DEP vacancies first be outsourced to private industry before considering refilling;
·       And Forbid any hiring at all unless deemed “Mission Critical.”
While supervisors are being rewarded for finding creative ways to fire employees, those DEP employees who survive the purge are being directed to drum up instances of how they have achieved “job creation” and cost savings for regulated industries.
“This is supposed to be an environmental agency, not a satellite office for Bain Capital,” Phillips added, noting that basic enforcement of anti-pollution laws in Florida has nose-dived during Governor Rick Scott’s tenure, according to an analysis of agency figures. “DEP has been through some tough times before but employees are saying that this is the absolute pits.”
PEER is also pursuing complaints against both DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard and Littlejohn for violating federal conflict of interest prohibitions due to their prior corporate environmental work. At DEP, corporations that run into environmental trouble have been able to go to both men to obtain “resolution” of their situations.

Contact: Jerry Phillips (850) 877-8097; Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337



  1. During this presidential election I heard many say that we needed a republican back in office because they can always get the economy back in motion. This is a perfect example of the way they infiltrate an institution and manage to take a good system and make it corrupt. I bet they all make a pretty decent salary too.
    Taylor Beardsley

  2. Let's call this what it is. The way in which the Tampa employees were fired goes way beyond "managerial incompetence"; it smacks of sadism, and should have no place in the lifespan of a tax-funded, public agency.

  3. It's not just in the environmental government jobs. Scott is hellbent on reducing the number of Florida Retirement Service employees, anywhere he can. When he came into office he spouted on about the how pension plans and other employee benefits as crippling the economy and overwhelming many state and local governments. Of course that was one of the tea parties national hot buttons, and to be fair, many state and local governments, federal, throughout the Country have problems with their retirement programs because they were too generous or as is the majority of the case, poorly managed. However Florida is not one of them. The Plan was and still is in pretty good shape as it was managed realitively well, and now with the changes made for employee contributions, reduction in benefits (whether you support them or not) the Plan is positioned well to meet it's future committments. However our Governor is on a mission regardless of what the financial projecttions indicate, to eliminate government employees to not only address the current budgets, and forget about any reasonable plan of providing the necessary level of service to the public, plain and simple, less FRS employees means less budget now and in the future, less insurance payouts and finally, less pensions to pay out. Look closely at the tenure of employees that are fired. This is his legacy goal to reach out well beyond his time in office, which I hope is one term. As I mentioned, it's not just environmental agencies, look at what is happening with the prison privatization. Thousands of government jobs lost. Possibly many, hopefully, to be rehired, but at lower salaries, less benefits and NO FRS down the road. The problem is we continue to vote in Legislators that have signed away their future to the party of no new taxes which means no bucking the establishement or risk being shunned by the party.

  4. Not only were good hard working people let go. ---(Redacted)--- kept her job even though she stole hundreds of hours from the District. Not requesting time off as other employees had to, not recording the time off on her timesheet, saying she was working from home but you could never reach her and there were no logon activities for her. All she gets is a slap on the wrist and the District finds her a job in another department when she was told there was not a spot for her in Regulation during the huge staff cut in January 2012. After she is moved into her new department as a Sr. Business Analyst that she has no formal training in. the District spends thousands of dollars to send her to analyst trainging????? Come on where is the District going. Can't believe there is such a cover up. What and who does she have something on??????