BSO contract cities meet to discuss grievances, but Sheriff Tony is a no-show

bso contract cities
BSO contract cities

By Dan Christensen,

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony was a no-show Wednesday for a meeting of Broward mayors and other representatives of more than a dozen municipalities that contract, or are considering contracting, with BSO for expensive police and/or fire rescue services.

Cooper City Mayor Greg Ross, who convened the meeting, called Tony’s late Wednesday morning decision not to attend the 1 p.m. gathering – or send a BSO representative – “very disappointing.”

Broward Mayor Steve Geller told the group that while he “understands the concerns” about a lack of communication and escalating costs – specifically noting that BSO demands for 5 percent annual increases is not sustainable – he also made it clear that the county has very limited control over the sheriff, a largely independent constitutional officer.

Broward Mayor Steve Geller at Wednesday’s meeting

Yet Geller offered some practical advice to the cities: if BSO is charging unreasonable rates, consider going elsewhere – specifically, try joining with a larger municipality with its own police or fire department to form a regional partnership.

“BSO has no competition,” said Geller. “Introduce an element of competition.”

One former BSO city, Southwest Ranches, did that in 2014 when it contracted with nearby Davie to patrol its streets and supplement the town’s volunteer fire department.

Margate and BSO

Margate is now in talks with BSO about having it take over the city’s fire rescue services after its current partner, Coconut Creek, decided to end its longtime relationship – without explanation, according to Margate Mayor Arlene Schwartz.

Schwartz told the group that Margate was “one commission meeting from going with BSO for fire rescue.”

Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper

“Don’t go!” blurted out Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper, who was attending the meeting via telephone. To laughter, Cooper said, “I thought I was muted.”

Clearly, though, Schwartz isn’t enamored with BSO’s $15.5-million proposal. “We’re told we’ll save money in the long run, but I’m not sure I’ll still be alive when that happens, from what I’m hearing,” she said.

Mayor Cooper said she’s “been fighting tooth and nail” to get out of her city’s fire rescue contract with BSO that began in January 2020, adding that she’s been “pressing to contract with a third party.”

“This isn’t about boots on the ground. The unions have put the fear factor on residents. This is about managing contracts,” she said.

Cooper City out front

Cooper City, which merged its police and fire services with BSO 17 years ago, has been out front in seeking to form a unified municipal front to deal with BSO. “Unified we have better leverage in negotiating with BSO,” he wrote in an email last month to the mayors of all 13 cities that contract with BSO.

According to Mayor Ross, the city currently pays BSO “just shy of $25 million” for annual police and fire services, with built-in 5 percent increases per year. Ross, and several other mayors, called BSO’s financial demands “unsustainable.”

Ross said the sheriff offered no reason for changing his mind and refusing to participate at Wednesday’s meeting. Previously, in an emailed response to a note Ross sent to fellow mayors of BSO contract cities inviting them to the meeting, Tony said Ross’s allegations about cost and lack of control “is not even remotely close to having merit.”

Other municipalities that sent a representative or appeared via telephone included Dania Beach, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Parkland, Pembroke Park, Pompano Beach, Tamarac and West Park.

The appearance by phone of West Park Mayor Felicia Brunson was curious. Her only comment was to disavow statements made earlier by West Park resident Katrina Touchstone, who complained strenuously about a lack of adequate services by BSO.

“She doesn’t speak for West Park,” said Brunson, who said her tiny municipality is happy with its BSO contract.

The participating cities agreed to meet again at Cooper City’s City Hall on Oct. 26.

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Latest comments

  • When will the govenor finally remove Tony? Deputies are scared to do their jobs after seeing others unjustly terminated by Tony. Deputies have said this during the union president’s case. It’s been proven Tony changed his name and lied numerous times, any other Florida law enforcement officer would of been removed and their certificate revoked by now! The ex Coral Springs chief officially stated he would NEVER of hired Tony if they knew then what they know now about his past. I believe I’ve heard both the FBI and FDLE investigations are still active on Tony. The Broward residents and employees of BSO need some help.

  • We are not happy with our BSO contract here in the city of west Park we share contract with Pembroke and Pembroke allegedly file suit on BSO for over charging and under service. Now why does west Park not join in the suit considering we share the same contract. I also asked the question in a common meeting as to why west park is responsible for finding BSO a new home providing the amount of money we have to be paying them. As a Commissioner I was not satisfied with the answer that I received from the mayor and city manager. Please view past commission meeting for details.
    We are simply not happy. It’s a cash cow on our residence.

  • You REALLY dont see a pattern with Tony? He ignored and shut out his own unions from Day 1 and he is doing the SAME thing to the contract city leaders! Tony has proven he does not have the experience or temperament to be in the position he was gifted through a connected friend.

  • Tony is only a five star sheriff? Doesn’t he deserve a 6th star?

  • Its obvious why Sheriff Tony was not removed from office by the Governor despite his questionable background and current day management practices and FDLE pencil whipped their report. And Desantis likely decided if he is what Broward voters wanted, then they get to suffer. Today what a person does with his pants down matters little with voters. Maybe if he was a white guy with his pants down things would be different.
    Its always wise to check on the opinions of the rank and file when learning about a leader. Go to LEO AFFAIRS on the net and select the appropriate agency.

  • The Mayor has said it has limited control over the Sheriff. The Fire Rescue part of this is part of the Sheriff by virtue of a contract with the County Commissioners. If they were to rescind the contract Fire Rescue control would return to the Commission

  • Where is the FBI with their investigation on Tony? What is going on with FDLE and their “expanded” investigation on Tony? Deputies have shut down due to all the unjust political terminations of deputies. You cant blame the deputies for not being proactive now when they see their fellow deputies wrongly terminated. Deputies have children at home but Tony doesnt care.

    Cities are looking to break away from BSO because of Tony which will cause hundreds of employees to lose their jobs. Tony is wasting millions of dollars fighting these unjust terminations and this is before all the lawsuits start. Where is Desantis , FDLE or FBI?

  • What Broward County city government wouldn’t want an admitted drug using murderer who lied to a Florida governor to con his way into the position of Sheriff ? Those city leaders should keep quiet about contracting police and fire services with a Sheriff under State and Federal investigation for felonies! Otherwise they will be accused of …..wait for it…….White Supremacy!!!! They must be white privilege climate change deniers and non mask wearing Russian loving vaccine haters also!! Why is Greg Tony\Toney not wearing an orange jump suit and eating baloney sandwiches off an aluminum tray by now? It’s ironic that long ago Democrat Broward Sheriff’s , and deputies were actual white supremacist and many KLAN members! But they were indicted and removed from office.

  • I dont understand with all the evidence that was discovered against Tony, how is he still in office?? Just the one crime of lying under oath to FDLE should of been enough to remove him. Any other police officer would of been pulled and arrested by now. Contract cities are fed up with bso under his command.

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