Cullen's Second Letter
In the first letter, it was just Cullen. In this letter, I have to do things a little different because Cullen included my questions within her letter. Therefore, I will put my questions to her in a blockquote, set off by them being indented and in red letters.
Thanks once again for allowing me to respond. Sorry for the delay and getting this back to you, but it was a busy week, thanks for your patience. I broke down the sections you had questions about and answered each individually.
However, the part I did not like was the part where I found out that you supposedly didn't understand that you were "management" (#2, pg. 3) and were thus unable to be involved in union activities, which makes me wonder if that is a farce on your part because even I know that if you report directly to the "big boss" and have six supervisors under you and about 100 employees under you altogether, you are "management". The union guy you met with (Clement) advised you that you probably would not be able to participate (#6, pg. 5).
The standard Mr. Clements used, when we met was my ability to hire and fire people. I did not have that authority. When PERC came in and set the union classes there was an approximately 20 minute discussion related directly about those classified as directors and if they could be part of the union because the majority of us did not have the ability to hire and fire people. Eventually the union stipulated in that hearing to exclude the directors, so it was not as cut and dry as it would appear, as is most issues regarding legal guidelines. He did say and PERC agreed in their findings on page 12, until the classes were set, I had the full right to participate, although I just attended the first meeting.
I also dislike the fact that according to the report, you lied about your involvement in organizing the first meeting (#7, pg. 5 & #14, pg. 9). You also, according to the report, lied -- not just about your involvement in the first meeting's organization -- but you also spoke at the meeting (#7, pg. 5) and the report said that the employees at the meeting were given certain promises by you (#7, pg. 6); and the wording of the report leads me to think that you told the employees that the union membership cards were just to say that they wanted "information" on representation by the union (#8, pg. 6).
I never lied about my participation in the first meeting. I freely testified to it during the hearings and prior to that during my deposition. I did tell the employees that information from the CODY Study, not the union, could lead to raises (this study was approved, authorized and implemented by the county. It was freely passed out to all county employees except the Tax Collector's. A public records request was made and then Mr.Northcutt released the information, after he realized it was going to be out for review and a number of employees were given raises based on that study. Mr.Northcutt said the reason he did not release the study was because the employees were too stupid to understand it.)
I never discussed the union cards during the meeting. The only card I touched or had direct contact with was the one I signed.
One other note- The meetings held with Mr.Northcutt's attorney were not your normal, polite, business type meetings. He had either all the managers present or would do one on ones. He would scream, curse, threaten peoples job etc. It was more like an interrogation than a meeting. A number of those involved, including myself, complained to Mr. Northcutt over the tactics used, which were ignored.
Then to top it all off, the report says that you lied to Rod Northcutt about being involved until your exit interview (#14, pg. 9)!
I told Mr. Northcutt I supported the employees and offered to not take the position in Orange County and stay on to help him work out the issues with the employees, but I would do so only if he was serious about helping fix the problems in the office, he refused. I did not lie. Mr.Northcutt did not testify at the hearing. The union attorney agreed, by stipulation to accept his deposition into the record as his testimony without cross examination or question, thus everything it contained had to be accepted as fact by the hearing officer. After I read his deposition and saw what he said about me and the implications it had on my character, I was obviously very upset by that decision. I called and spoke with the attorney and I was told they felt there was nothing in his testimony that would have negatively affected their case, so they saw no reason to cross examine him. Remember their job was not to represent me, just to prove their case.
(A little aside: Your response states that the employees trusted you. If the report hearing is correct, I do not think that trust is still intact.)
Actually I have around 60 members of the Tax Collector's Office active on my campaign team, walking neighborhoods, doing sign waves etc. and probably another 40-50 who support me, but do not want to get directly involved due to fear of retaliation from Mr.Northcutt. I just attended a forum on Merritt Island (Thursday) and even though I was last to speak and it was after 9:00pm, 27 Tax Collector's employees were still present in their Red Shirts supporting me.
They trust and support me because they were there. They knew the office environment and what was occurring. They knew about those who signed affidavits against me and later were promoted and given raises. They know I did not lie, did not sell them out and lie to save myself and supported them in whatever decision they eventually would make about the union and whether to have one or not have one. It was their choice. They know the real truth and the real story, so it's easy for them to support me.
I understand that the hearing was conducted a certain way. I understand that because of that format you may not have been able to say some of the things that you wanted to say. However, the report states that the employees testified to this (I presume under oath) and apparently the hearing officer believed them, then I think that gives me enough reason to hesitate in believing you.
The 4 employees that testified on Mr.Northcutt's behalf were promised and received pay raises and or promotions if they would sign affidavits against me. The affidavits contain most of what is in this ruling. Mr.Northcutt, his attorney or Mr.Strittmatter (Finance Director) approached a number of people and asked them to sign affidavits against me and most refused because they did not want to lie on an affidavit. Mr. Northcutt's attorney approached me and told me if I signed an affidavit saying this was all my doing, I was running everything from the start and was in constant contact with the union on a regular basis, this would all go away, my job would be safe and I would be taken care of. I refused, as it was not true (the PERC ruling shows that to be the case) and I was not going to sign a false affidavit to save myself. I have to look at myself in the mirror everyday and I still can look with a clear conscience.
I stood up to Mr.Northcutt and the "Good Ole Boy" system. Mr.Northcutt and his attorney have tried to make me out to be a monster. I am not. I always told Mr.Northcutt what was going on within the offices and the employees concerns. The problem I faced, it wasn't what he wanted to hear and he tried to kill the messenger, while ignoring the message.
Once again thanks for your patience and allowing me the opportunity to respond. As I'm sure you know from Roger, this keeps you running and in my case, running across the county.
If you have any other questions please let me know. I don't know if I'll see you before Roger's event, but if not, hopefully I'll see you there.
Remember: Anyone who does not give you a wake-up call when they see you being stupid, self-destructive, or both, just plain doesn't care about you. It's those of us who do wake you up who care.
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