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Why was fired Broward transit chief rehired despite ‘gross misconduct’? No one’s talking

broward transit story
broward transit story
Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry and Transportation Department Director Chris Walton

By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org

A Broward transit superintendent fired last year after county auditors found he’d repeatedly falsified payroll timecards and funneled thousands of taxpayer dollars to a subordinate has been quietly rehired.

Jeffrey Scott’s termination was for “gross misconduct.” A county report at the time declared such action was necessary because “the image and perception of the Transportation Department and of Broward County cannot and will not be compromised.”

But late last month, Scott’s “discipline” was transmogrified into a 10-day suspension and Scott got his old job back at the same annual salary he was earning prior to termination – $93,359.24. Scott also received $47,500 in back pay, plus a restoration of a third of the sick and annual leave he would have accrued had he not been fired, according to a copy of the county’s Sept. 23rd settlement agreement with Scott and his union.

Scott returned to work at the county’s Copans Road bus garage on Sept. 28. He was greeted by balloons, a cake and a welcome-back banner, according to a county employee who works there.

Florida Bulldog obtained a copy of the six-page settlement, which is signed by County Administrator Bertha Henry and Transportation Department Director Christopher Walton, as well as a grievance filed by Scott and Government Supervisors Association of Florida (GSAF) Local 100 shortly after his termination on Feb. 13, 2019.

Broward Transit

Neither Henry nor Walton responded to Florida Bulldog requests to discuss why Scott was reinstated.

broward transit story
Union president Greg Blackman

Scott’s union representative, GSAF Local 100 President Greg Blackman, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Reached without even an arbitrator’s review of the facts, the settlement amounts to a repudiation without explanation by county leadership of County Auditor Bob Melton’s 33-page December 2018 report detailing timecard and payroll fraud at the Broward Transit Division. The auditor investigated after receiving several anonymous complaints.

The capitulation to Scott and the union is unusual because the county typically doesn’t settle such matters, which normally are heard by arbitrators and/or judges. In Scott’s case, the settlement does not contest, and by its silence appears to accept, Scott’s argument that he was fired as a result of a “rush to judgment” triggered by a flawed audit. The audit also led to the firing of Broward bus traffic controller Clifford Combs, who apparently did not contest his dismissal.

Here’s what Scott’s grievance form has to say:

“We believe that this rush to judgment is a result of the County Auditor’s shoddy report in which they did a quick but not thorough investigation and did not question all potential witnesses or review County equipment that verified that Mr. Combs was working on many occasions when they said he wasn’t.

“This report was then printed in the Sun Sentinel and has been followed up by additional reporting. Instead of supporting their management staff they are running in the other direction for fear of being tainted with the rush to judgment initiated by the shoddy Auditor’s Report and perpetuated by a newspaper trying to up their readership,” the grievance states.

Auditor’s response

In response, Melton told Florida Bulldog on Tuesday that his office’s report is “solid as a rock.”

Broward Auditor Robert Melton

“I can’t really comment on why they settled as they did. I was out of that loop as far as their proceedings,” he said. “We do our investigation and we issue our report and it’s up to management to take appropriate action.”

Scott’s reinstatement is quite a reversal of fortune for a man who 20 months ago was branded by the county as having “violated the most basic tenants (sic) of an employee in a supervisory capacity, to conduct himself in an honest and trustworthy manner and to lead by example,” according to an employee notice issued to Scott the day he was fired. “Mr. Scott is advised that this type of gross misconduct is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”

The notice lays out the case against Scott and the various disciplinary meetings with Scott that allowed him to respond to the auditor’s accusations. Among other things, the notice says Scott contended that while his documentation of timecard adjustments was not good “there was never any intent to steal time or defraud the county.”

The notice says that “based on all the available information, including reports and Mr. Scott’s own admissions, the Transportation Department has determined that in his supervisory capacity Mr. Scott displayed extremely poor judgment, violated attendance/punctuality policies, falsified timecard documents and failed to properly carry out his supervisory responsibilities.”

Scott has been a county employee since 1996 and a Broward transit supervisor since 2000. He was nearly fired in 2010 after the county’s Professional Standards Unit, investigating complaints of sexual harassment and discriminatory behavior, found Scott “utilized the County’s email and Internet access to send and/or receive email communications for non-work related activities, including but not limited to email communications of a sexual or discriminatory nature in violations of the County’s Anti-Harassment Policy.”

Instead, Scott was given a written reprimand, a five day suspension without pay and a so-called “Last Chance Warning that any future incidents of the same or similar nature…will result in immediate termination.”

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  • Broward County, under Administrator, Bertha Henry, has quite a history of making poor decisions.

    First, the Administrator’s position is too broad for one person to manage. It should be split into multiple parts.

    Second, if the facts, as stated, are accurate (and there is no reason to believe they are not) it is inexcusable the transportation supervisor was rehired.

    Third, Bertha is also responsible for Broward County Animal Care and Adoption. The shelter is a disaster and the animals have and are languishing because she has no idea about proper animal care and makes poor decisions related to shelter management. Dale Holness hates the shelter and openly declares he feels the county spends too much money and time discussing the shelter! With effective management, neither would be a concern. There is ZERO community transparency as it relates to shelter decisions, as well. What is Bertha & Co. hiding?

    The auditor’s scathing report and his recommendations have been basically ignored. Only 1 or 2 recommendations have been implemented (and with little thought to the execution).

  • Well, the Superintendent has something on some higher up and they think no one is watching. Turn up the Heat Bulldog.

  • Nothing new at BCT another example of the buddy system of Mr. Chris Walton and his buddy Jeffrey Scott. For those not aware Mr. Scott and Chris are best buddies as Jeff handles everything Chris wants. On a different note a lot of competent Superintendents as well as supervisors all with over 30 years of bus maintenance experience were actually forced to retire so that Chris could make the mess they currently have no purchasing contracts in maintenance and a zillion cores hidden in the yard (transmissions and engines as well as generators and electric motors) and tbat is only the tip of the iceberg. Please keep investigating you will find more than sufficient pertinent stuff going on at BCT

  • Great example of what is going on at BCT Chris Walton has a buddy in Jeff Scott he is known as Chris’s boy and will do anything Chris wants. That is why BCT is a mess Chris has forced Superintendents and supervisors to retire ( these are all individuals with over thirty years experience in bus maintenance) maintenance is in shambles thanks to Jim Fourcade no contracts for services needed and overhaul of components. They have a zillion cores of transmissions, engines, generators, electric motors, etc. By the way thwy are all hidden throughout the garage. This is only the top of the iceberg keep investigating and remember Chris got rid of all competent personnel so he can do what he wants including bringing back his buddy Jeff Scott no surprise

  • I guess Mr.Walton & Sidekick Bertha Henry are in hiding after forcing the hourly labor forces to be put into the electronic timekeeping system named “Kronos” they conveniently excluded themselves Claiming they are Salaried employees !!! One would think after spending taxpayers money upper management would be “required” to swipe in/out on Kronos daily to document their salaried Positions a little thing called Accountability !!! Sounds like business as usual do what I say not what I do!! And just going out on a limb wanna bet they gave Jeffrey Scott his administrative privileges back in Kronos so he can get back to his old ways ??? And the auditor was correct his findings were air tight every time you make a correction in Kronos it’s date/time stamped with your login !! Yes sir it’s a 3 ring circus 🎪

  • I wrote the county mayor and half of the Broward county commissioners to answer the question posed in the headline of this article. 18 hours later there has been zero responses to my emailed correspondence. I CCed Michael Putney but I don’t expect Channel 10 to pick up the story, hope to be wrong. Government is supposed to work for its constituents not us tax payers paying for thieves and incompetency that leads to government waste. Thank you Dan Christensen for shedding light on such poor government.

  • Broward County has a duty to the taxpayers to rid its labor force of problematic employees and this jewel Mr.Scott should have been terminated for degrading a female co-worker on his county email putting her face on a fat pigs body ? Really Bertha ? Zero tolerance policy? He’s also required to take annual online training classes and still felt he’s above discipline? Furthermore he’s incapable of following his own inter-office communications in reference to electronic time card adjustments in Kronos again is he above discipline?
    And the only reason you have no replies from Bertha Henry and Chris Walton is very simple its a dirty deal when you don’t let an outside federal arbitrator make an impartial decision.

  • As I read this article I cannot comprehend how Bertha Henry and Chris Walton still have jobs and high paying county jobs? I guess the old adage its not what you know but who you know isn’t it right Mr Scott. Mr. Walton hired Jimmy Fourcade in late 2006 and he proceeded to destroy bus maintenance in less than a year as he left late 2007. In 2016 guess what Mr Walton did he hired Jimmy back!!! Mr. Fourcade was brought in with the marching instructions from Chris to get rid of old Superintendents and Shop Supervisors. Mr. Fourcade this time stayed a little longer as he left in the summer of 2020 guess what he did it again. Bus Maintenance is a joke pull out is missed everyday, there are parts all over the shop, the unit shop that was once used to rebuild bus components is a junk yard of cores of rebuildable parts. By the way those cores have monetary value and were bought with money from the federal government but according to Mr. Walton since Jimmy followed his marching orders he did a good job. It is beyond comprehension how the county commission turns a blind eye as to what is going on in transit and you the citizens of Broward gave them a penny sales tax so they could get raises and promotion

  • There has been corruption unethical behavior at transit since Mr.Walton was appointed Director. from continuing to force the purchase of equipment much more expensive and with a higher failure rate than competitive equipment at a huge cost to tax payers but a huge benefit to these special vendors?

    The manipulation of his cronies job titles and requirements for employment is obvious in the failure that Transit has become under his watch.

    How much money has been lost by Transits failure to provide Risk Management proper, or any accident reports in the last 18 months? since the person responsible for this task was lynched by Mr. Walton and his unqualified crony Mr. Fourcade. And with this and much more malfeasance everyone’s taxes were raised.

  • Speaking of the penny sales tax Mr. Scott’s salary as an Operation Superintendent went from $65,000 to 93,000 how convenient. This is for bulldog to investigate Chris used the penny sales tax to create an intermediate level of management basically added another level of managers with high paying jobs that just sit in an office. Meanwhile buses need parts but there is no money for parts, since we are October if you ask today they will say we have plenty of money beginning of fiscal year. The service line at Copans Rd garage had parts of the roof blown off, te years later it has not been fixed and if it has it must of been done recently. Broward County taxpayers wake up your penny sales tax is not being use to what was intended, they have given all upper management raises created another level of management but nothing to the riding public

  • All these comments are TRUTH, especially transit, one big junkyard

  • As the private sector of our community continues to suffer from COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns which will certainly impact the counties tax base funds Broward County Transit employees under the GSA100 union contract Quietly received a 3% across-the-board raise ? The transportation department has suspended all bus fare collections for over 6 months a further decline in revenues but still managed to give raises? This is all going on under a Modified work schedule for county employees only working 32 hours per week and being compensated 40 hours all being paid for by ?? You guessed it the suffering TAXPAYERS!!! People in Broward County are Literally being crushed monetarily and the county administrator Bertha Henry is going to sign off on the Human Resources inabilities to negotiate ?
    Note to Bertha Henry
    We “ALL” suffer together or are you and the taxpayers employees above the people?

  • I want to thank John for opening my eyes as to the going on at BCT as a bus rider I am sick of riding dirty roach infested buses buses that should be maintained properly but now I can see upper management lying to the riding public with false promises while Mr.Walton and his cronies (Jeff Scott) keep stuffing their pockets. I just hope Dan Christensen follows up with an investigation as i can see a lot of dirty deals at BCT. Where is the County’s Purchasing Director and all purchasing protocols that need to be followed I guess Bertha do not apply the rules to all departments Mr. Smith was right the buddy system wonder the Pcard purchases of BCT EMPLOYEES

  • It’s not that no one is talking, it’s that no one wants to listen. the malfeasance at transit has been rampant for years.
    Hurricane Wilma destroyed the maintenance building roof, and under this regime repairs funded by FEMA were never completed by not replacing ventilation units that provided fresh air for employees. No one was listening.
    Years later when a fall protection system was being installed the ductwork for this nonexistent ventilation was replaced at great expense to taxpayers but again no one was listening.
    3 years later and the fall protection system installed has not been used and mechanics have not been issued harness for this safety system. mechanics are currently using dangerous scaffolds not OSHA approved due to unapproved, unsafe distances again no one listens.
    Waltons answer to safety concerns simply remove front line supervisors staff from safety meetings stacking this committee with management. there is so much more but until some entity other Broward investigates Broward this regime will continue

  • Sounds like the best thing to do is hire an outside management team and replace all upper management as they lack the ability to governor,repair/ maintain and conduct themselves in a professional manner? Maybe the newly formed Transit advisory/oversight committee should look into a monetary feasibility study for Privatization of management. The taxpayers should demand more Accountability from the one cent tax, current management thinks just adding new buses will be sufficient is actually comical. If Bertha Henry would actually open her eyes and look at the absence of already Implementing a five year plan as there are no excuses for not having a third maintenance facility with all the necessary infrastructure to support new electric buses and current 60 foot Articulate buses furthermore after a review of ATU 1267 contract it is also void of “high voltage” mechanics Which is a recipe for getting someone killed with Potentially lethal voltages. Currently management is requiring direct current mechanics to work on alternating current high-voltage systems with little to no training and that should clearly be a certified technician. Note to management:
    When you have an open ground on a High Voltage System and someone touches it “YOU” become the ground !!
    Good luck 🍀

  • Why was a Broward County Transit chief rehired? C’mon folks.
    Why does a garbage dump stink?…..because all the crap is on top!

  • Why was a Broward County Transit chief rehired even after gross misconduct?
    C’mon folks. Why does a garbage dump stink?
    Because all the crap is on top!

  • LOL!
    Way to go Jeffey!!
    You got “helped along” to supervision.
    Got promoted to scheduling before the job was posted.
    Caused 3 Operators to sue the county over it.
    Got away with your “unauthorized use of a county vehicle” nonsense.
    Anywhere else it would have been Grand Theft Auto.
    Was it one or two Sexual Harassment complaints, I forget.
    At least two “inappropriate romantic and financial relationships”
    with subordinates.
    Expanding the perimeter. LOL.
    Then he steals money via payroll and doesn’t go to jail!

    Did I forget anything? Dongo?

    Retirement is wonderful, The west coast of FL is the BEST coast,
    but it does fill my heart with joy to see “Big Dawg” and Mo’Town
    (AKA “The New Guy”), and Big Bertha spending your tax dollars wisely.

    Cory Gibbs for Acting Director?

  • Let’s look at the answers that were given by HR director KAHN and others in regards to Dan’s article about Jeff Scott and the article in Sun-Sentinel.

    A: County gave Scott his job back because it wanted to avoid a lawsuit stated “KAHN” Human Resource Director. KAHN declined to give an answer of “WHY”.

    However back in Feb 2019 ,HR Director
    KAHAN and HR Manager WILSON and
    Transit personnel all agreed that SCOTT’s actions were DISHONEST,UNTRUSTWORTHY and had GROSS MISCONDUCT so severe that they terminated him.

    Really, the County gets sued all the time and has a legal dept for this.
    So now they are afraid of “ JEFF SCOTT “
    Suing them. Is that going to be the norm now, avoid lawsuits against County for FRAUD, CORRUPTION ,PERJURY , FALSIFYING DOCUMENTS LAST CHANCE AGREEMENTS and
    GROSS MISCONDUCT .
    If it was so severe then , how did it become less severe now. INTERESTING

    Q: Why did WALTON/ BERTHA and HR Director KAHN and HR Manager WILSON change their original decision .

    Q: How could the auditor not be apart of the decision in rehiring SCOTT?
    Mr. Melton was not told about this decision and left out of the process.
    Melton did the investigation for Broward County and was the PROOF.

  • Karma

    Let’s look at the other replies by union President Blackman and attorney Marcus Barswell for the union representing “SCOTT “

    Q Why was there no “Arbitration “
    A Greg Blackman did not respond.
    A Marcus Barswell stated “we reached an agreement without a lawsuit “ there’s that word “LAWSUIT “again.
    Q Marcus Barswell was asked “ did you dispute the County’s findings and what was your replies “?
    A Marcus Barswell reply “ we never went in front of arbitration “ so again
    NO answer to question
    (Sounds like Biden/Harris) lol

    Let’s look at C. Walton and Bertha Henry’s replies.

    Q Explain the reversal in the decision for Jeffrey Scott.
    A Both COULD NOT BE REACHED FOR COMMENTS . There goes that word TRANSPARENCY again or lack of it.
    No answer is an answer big ballas.
    (Maybe there in Biden’s garage hiding from what’s to come)

    There are more RED FLAGS here then at a beach and inquire further investigation into the cover up.

    Hey Chris and Bertha, open up and let the skeletons out because Halloween is
    around the corner as is jail.
    Hey Kahn and Wilson , your closet will be opened also.
    Happy Halloween!!!

  • In conclusion, let’s look how this was set up for JEFF SCOTT from the beginning.
    1. Bertha Henry initially states in Sun Sentinel back in 2018 when Scott was accused of Time Card Fraud “ that no disciplinary action would be administered until her office does its own investigation “ She doubted her own Auditors findings.then and now again. So someone should ask.
    Where is Bertha’s report and findings to compare to County Auditors.

    2.Instead of letting Jeff Scott resign
    because he was on a “LAST CHANCE AGREEMENT from his previous poor conduct, they TERMINATED him so he could fight it.
    Other employees on last chance agreement aren’t given that opportunity.
    In his last chance agreement it stated” anything with same or similar nature involving Sexual Harassment, Harassment , Poor Judgement and communications will result in immediate termination.
    The hearing which was in Feb 2019 for the time card FRAUD stated “Scott used poor judgement which is listed in the last chance agreement, so why is Scott still here at Transit in his same position.
    3. No ARBITRATION
    No one to hear facts or dispute facts and no records of what was said by parties.
    Remember , No Replies from management and Union officials about
    Jeff Scott case.
    4. Broward County Auditor excluded from proceedings after he was the one
    who did investigation and found the proof. How can he be not included.

    5. Bertha Henry’s job description isn’t to be a part of these issues with wrong doings, the County has Audit Dept, Professional Standards, Attorney’s who handle these issues.
    You have to ask , why hasn’t Bertha done this in the past for other cases
    (The Port) but she’s so interested in this case with Scott and throwing her own Auditors under the Waltons bus .
    The Auditors investigations in other cases are good but not for SCOTT.
    Hey Big Bertha, SHOW US YOUR OFFICE’s FINDINGS and let the public see them.

  • What happened to the following employees at Transit, most if not all of them had previous public transit experience but under Chris Walton watch all were basically forced to retire whether on DROP or not basically these qualified individuals were repla d by inexperienced goonies that have turn maintenance into a dump. The list is as follows:
    Harold Tutt
    Water Jonchuck
    Alex Bengochea
    Ray Molt
    Mike Trimm
    Albert Spinelli
    Thomas Drain
    Joseph Dilapi
    Harold Young

    The list does not include bus mechanics that just couldn’t cope with it anymore i the names above there is over 350 years of bus maintenance experience which Mr Walton forced or helped push out the door. BERTHA HENRY AND COUNTY AUDITORS WAKE UP THIS PEOBLEM IS NOT GOING AWAY ANYTIME SOON

  • What about Superintendent Foucade
    who took the hit for Walton back in 2006-2007 with the bidding fix between Nabi and New Flyer. Foucade picked the highest bidder of the two which is not Broward County policy.(Guess Why)
    Foucade was making approx 98,000 salary at the time and was supposed to be fired but was allowed to resign so he could come back later on. They put in his folder that his mom was sick and he had to leave. (LIE) so he resigned.
    Now back in 2017, guess who was re-hired for the same position and given a salary of $138,000, Jim Foucade.
    Waltons reward for taking the hit with bidding fix. (Who next)
    I see Jeff Scott raising his hand in the back saying “ I’m next”
    Foucade has no degree as required for job., they use that work experience bullshit to get him in. That’s why the maintenance dept is in shambles.
    Let’s go back and look at all the candidates who applied for Superintendent and compare credentials and see what salary they were offered for position at their interview, I guarantee less then 138,000 . This way no one would want the job and it would fall right into Waltons plan.
    Let’s stop the bullshit and lock Bertha , Walton , Scott and all the people involved in his crimes

  • and don’t forget Craig Collins, Safety and Security Manager who was forced to leave his position or commit fraud on the public by ignoring Florida Administrative code 14-90 with regard to bus inspections operated by contracted vendors.

  • I seriously don’t understand all the hoopla.
    Chris Walton was a thief when they hired him, why wouldn’t he continue?
    He found a home and family with BCT.
    It’s only tax money, so why do you care?
    It’s service for poor people, they mostly don’t vote, they certainly don’t
    write checks to politicians, so why do you care?
    The drivers? The mechanics? Overpaid, under worked, unionized, money grubbers.
    So why do you care?
    Jeff Scott? Craig Collins, old buddies from Opa -Locka where Craig was the disgraced police chief,
    (fired twice) and Jeffy was the proud owner of a 6 seat restaurant. It failed.

    They found a home @ BCT, they break the law with impunity. How many lawsuits has Jeffy been a part of? Why wasn’t he arrested for theft? Why wasn’t the money paid back?

    But most importantly, why do you care? Transit doesn’t, Bertha doesn’t, the commissioners
    don’t. The riders don’t count, there will always be poor people needing transportation, there will always be people like Chris & Bertha that will take advantage of them.

    And there will ALWAYS be sniveling conniving, lazy sycophants like Jeffy Scott, circling the table of
    his masters, waiting for some table scrapes. Please ignore the fact that Jeff’s table scrapes are your money, your service.

    Have faith, he WILL screw up again!

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