Sheriff’s candidates take rival to task
March 27, 2018
Rival sheriff's candidates disagreed with Capt. Joe Duffy's performance standard implementation, which came under scrutiny by the grand jury.
While a spreadsheet documenting deputies' work product was in effect before Duffy took over the patrol division, Duffy admitted color coding and posting it didn't go over as he'd anticipated.
"They identified and addressed legitimate concerns brought before them," Capt. Dan Coverley said of the grand jury report.
"Expectations for job performance should be driven with positive leadership, education and training," he said. "Discipline is one of the important responsibilities of management. Guidelines, corrective action and discipline should be handled firmly but with respect. High morale is critical to retaining our committed and dedicated deputies."
Sheriff's candidate Dave Brady said he felt deputies were placed in a bad position.
"I agree with Capt. Duffy that our deputies do an outstanding job on a daily basis, however, they were placed in an untenable situation by having to write citations to meet 'performance measures' dictated by the command staff," he said. "Such circumstances eliminates their discretion in the field, lends itself to poor morale, and contributes to excessive employee turnover, as cited by the grand jury."
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Grand jurors recommended deputies be evaluated on their individual performance, training received and special assignments, not solely on the metrics of a spreadsheet. All new sheriff's office management staff, either hired outside or within the department should be required to complete management and ethics training. Deputies' performance should not be publicly posted for staff to see, and all personnel matters related to job performance be handled privately between the sergeant or captain and the deputy. Grand jurors also recommended that chronic "underperforming" deputies be reevaluated, retrained or reassigned to take advantage of their individual strengths.
"I understand Joe Duffy's intent in using the chart to evaluate the performance of the deputies but to display the spreadsheet in a manner for all to see was not the correct approach," candidate Dean Paris said. "Then to use a color coded system to highlight the performers and nonperformers is demoralizing."
Coverley credited Sheriff Ron Pierini with developing a strong sheriff's staff over the last 21 years.
"He has dedicated that time to keeping Douglas County significantly free from gang and drug problems, which we see in other communities," he said.
"We have put the safety of our schools and children as a top priority by working closely with the school district and ensuring that officers are assigned to our schools daily."
Full responses in the order they were received: