“Managers rise to the level of their incompetence,” at least according to the “Peter Principle” made famous by Laurence J. Peter.
The concept is simple: People move up through the ranks based on their past job performance, but that does not guarantee that they’re actually the right person for a higher position. Once they’re in over their head, they stall.
It looks like Broward County, Florida, Sheriff Scott Israel may have just hit his Peter Principle glass ceiling.
Despite boasting that he showed “amazing leadership” in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, Israel has been roundly criticized as politically motivated and incompetent — and now even his own deputies may have lost confidence in his leadership.
According to CNN, the law enforcement union that represents Broward County deputies is holding a vote that may find that the rank-and-file have “no confidence” in the sheriff.
“Jeff Bell, the president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, told CNN on Friday that union members had decided to move forward with the vote, which will begin electronically tonight and will close on April 26,” the news outlet explained.
Bell minced no words in his dire assessment of Israel’s leadership ability.
“There is a complete failure at the sheriff’s office and he doesn’t recognize it,” Bell said.
It’s no secret that Israel’s leadership before, during and after the Parkland tragedy is the core issue in the no-confidence vote.
The sheriff seemed more interested in appearing on television and passing blame for the incident than in getting to the bottom of what happened, even cracking unfunny O.J. Simpson jokes during what was supposed to be a serious interview with journalist Jake Tapper.
But the union’s problems with Israel go even deeper. “Union audits showed that Israel has returned hundreds of millions of dollars to the county that could have been used money for deputy salary increases, training, health care, crime laboratory upgrades and safety equipment,” reported CNN.
“Morale among deputies and sergeants is non-existent, Bell says. He says his members are tired of mixed messages from leadership and confused over some of the department’s policies,” the cable news network continued.
The now-infamous hesitation of school resource officer Scot Peterson, who waited for other officers to arrive instead of charging into the school, is one example of those mixed messages.
“One example, (union president Bell) says, is the active shooter policy, which states a deputy ‘may’ go into a building and engage the shooter to preserve life,” stated CNN.
“But in training, Bell says, deputies learn to enter the site of the shooting and confront an active shooter,” the network continued. “Deputies have to make split-second decisions, he said, so their guidance and training should be identical.”
The decisions made by the school resource officer and other confusions during the incident may be easier to understand if, indeed, training and leadership at the top of the department were lacking or inconsistent.
If the union voting next week does result in a declaration of no confidence in Israel, the next step is not clear. The vote is largely symbolic and would not immediately remove the sheriff, but it would serve as a wake-up call.
“Some of his best supporters are being vocal against him,” said Bell. “The morale just disappeared. The morale is gone.”
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