Monday, May 28, 2007

Bexar Probation Director Seeks Anonymous Employee Blog Commenters' Identity


As part of an ongoing feud with his employees over whether the department will unionize, Bexar County probation director Bill Fitzgerald is seeking the identities of anonymous employee blog commenters on a relatively new blog called Bexar Me the Pain. (Click on the image above to enlarge the relevant portion.) Grits has had quite a few Bexar probation officer commenters but so far I don't think this blog has been included in the request.

More on this as I get it, but this looks to me like a dangerous precedent. Bexar judges, who are Fitzgerald's boss, should tell him to back off and leave his employees to exercise their free speech in the blogosphere. The only reason for him to want the information is to retaliate, and that will only worsen problems at the already troubled department. See more background on the lawsuit here and here.

20 comments:

IWTS said...

The Government hates blogs and alternative media.

TDCAA wants a "secret forum" to keep Grits from snooping, Bexar Probation wants names of employees who blog....

Bureaucracy always seeks the path of least disclosure. Why? Aren't government officials proud enough of the work they do to allow the public to know about it?

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.

- Patrick Henry

Anonymous said...

Hi, can you tell us something more about the lawsuit. Is the Plaintiff an employee of the Probation Dept? What is the suit about? Who is Fitz's attorney and who is paying Fitz' attorney's fees if not the County?

whitsfoe said...

You know, the fundamental of democracy is absolutely unjust in this case.

We know retaliation exists. It may disguise itself in some form or fashion, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

If in fact Bexar County Probation called for this inquiry, and if Bill Fitzgerald is seeking the identities of anonymous employee blog commenters on a relatively new blog called Bexar Me the Pain, then Bill, get a life man. I don’t even work for you, but I’d say your ousting is much needed with this non-sence.

You choose to be a public servant. That was your choice, not any of ours. The people you serve have the absolute right to express critisms, even if they are your employees.

If they are being liabious, and unfairly damaging you as an individual, and if you can prove damages, then go for it. You may be in the right.

However, if they are just disagreeing with you and your decisions, well, they have the freedom of expression to do so, and thus they are protected under the constitutional rights of free speech. If the latter is the case, you have no business serving if you are truly seeking their identies.

If that’s the case, how is this not McCarthyism at best? But feel free to look me up because I know my tax payer dollars goes towards your salary as well. You can expect a counter-suit my man.

Anonymous said...

In answer to Anonymous:
Plaintiffs in this case are about 15 probation employees who hired an attorney on their own. Fitzgerald is represented by the State Attorney General and taxpayer dollars--the probation officers appear to be getting harassed by very odd requests that smack of reprisal. Where are the Judges who are supposed to be in a supervisory overwatch? I am a federal criminal justice official following this with some interest...

Anonymous said...

well as the outside watches there tax dollars hard at work - the retaliation continues(it is very obvious why he wants this info). the problem is the ones whom supervise him may have put him up to this (what do you think). i believe in an effort to squash any attempt to form a union which we need because he as chief as well of the judges refuse to take care of there employees. since they dont, we have no choice. if he is truly for unions in the work place (as he claims he is)why does he refuse to talk to us with union reps and provide a meeting place in the building (that does not sound like anyone who supports unions to me rather a person whom is out to bust them up before they get started). let me remind all - i am a po in this department. i am a union memeber. i will remember the judges who support him and allow his behavior to continue. this nonsense should be been stopped before it got out of hand. now it is to late. so mr firtzgerald may you lay in your bed the one THAT YOU MADE FOR YOURSELF.

one more point - i think they (judges) are scared that something may be uncovered.

Anonymous said...

Fitzgerald claims to want to put this behind him, but his actions says otherwise. He has no desire to do anything, but RETALIATE. Our dept. is shameful and an embarassment because of him. Fellow Probation Officers and citizens keep your voter registration cards up to date. A strong message needs to be sent to his bosses. As a p.o. I can say that things will only get worse with him violating our freedom of speech.

Anonymous said...

Bill Fitzgerald- I am going to pray for you. I am praying that some day, you wake up with the realization that this world is not about you. It's not about who you can control, what you look like, what you can get, what or who you can manipulate or what you can rationalize to make your actions appear right.
This world is about thinking beyond yourself. It is about putting others first. It is about doing things that are good and positive; even if there is no benefit for yourself in doing it. It is about doing the right thing, even if it costs you.
I pray that you wake up and realize all of this some day and what it really means to be a good person and a good man. You are on a much different path than that. But, I hope you find your way back. I hope you do. You might actually wake up one morning and not have hate and paranoia in your heart. You might actually walk by a group of people who are talking and not automatically assume it's about you. You could actually hear someone laugh and not assume it's at you. You may even come to realize that day- a long time ago, when you helped someone and it felt good. It must be exhausting to be you right now since you can't realize all the things just said. Maybe some day. I can only pray.

Mr. Perry, Mr. Kimbrough, Mr. Owens and all the others involved in the TYC "mess"- I am praying the same for all of you too.

Anonymous said...

From one Anony to another; thank you for the info. But, I really am interested in knowing what the complaint by the Plaintiffs is. What is the cause of action; the gravaman of their suit.

Anonymous said...

To all who read this: Your hard earned TAX dollars are being wasted because William Fitzgerald has RETALIATION on his mind. The Attorney General is racking up lots of hours on this one. And only a week ago he wanted to know what it would take to make this go away. It is a sad day when I as a probation officer with over twenty years experience have to put up with this nonsense. The probationers that I supervise now have more RIGHTS than the probation officers that SERVE and PROTECT our community! Some officers have approached the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Texas Rangers,but nothing has come of those several hours worth of meetings and information. Stay tuned as this is going to get very interesting over the next couple months.

Anonymous said...

go to BEXAR-ME.blogspot.com for more info

Anonymous said...

Seriously Grits- why you don't allow attorney's to pay you a fee to advertise their name, specialty and contact info here is beyond me. Post after post stinks to high heaven with retaliation, whistleblowers, other civil rights stomping and illegal activity. If nothing else- what about a post dedicated to attorney's willing to give legal advice or pointers to people to know whether they're being screwed without vaseline?

Anonymous said...

gee could the officers that are having lunch with the Chief be the ones only looking out for themselves? maybe wanting to begin another spotlight program? well, if they would have behaved the first time and not committed such horrible things against women then maybe the program would be up and running

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I wrote about the lawsuit here and here.

JT Barrie said...

You are overreacting! Bexar county wants "team players". Obviously, anyone who whines and complains about policy is NOT a team player. They have "personality issues" and they want the public to know about these personality issues before they poison public opinion about how the department works. That's the modus operandi of media reaction to whistle blowers:
1] They [mainstream media] refuse to publish complaints - until they get damaging information about complainer from the employer to package with complaint. It's just another of the many false associations that they use to promote lies.
2] They warn the companies about these miscreants and allow them time enough to respond - and make a case for termination. Often model employees with perfect records mess up just prior to having a complaint disclosed. The complaint is far less credible if it comes from an ex employee - especially a "disgruntled" ex employee.
3] It also give employers time to "fix" glaring errors that might come to light.
Many whistle blowers are now using blogs and online videos to sidestep the noxious mainstream media - who are no friends to reform efforts anywhere. Anonymous blogs can pinpoint problem areas for outside sources to expose. The media is not your friend if you are honest and corrupted towards integrity and justice!

Anonymous said...

What kind of idiot would further trample upon his workers' right to post blogs anonymously when he is already the subject of a retaliation lawsuit? Is there not a legal expert in the house to advise this guy to keep his mouth shut and stop handing the lawsuit complaintants more ammunition? It's time for the Bexar Co judges to take a vote and send the schoolyard bully back to Arizona.

Anonymous said...

wow funny thing you mention law expert - my geroge i think it might be kathy kline (which was placed there by roman). i wonder why

Anonymous said...

Project Spotlight was ended because the funding from the Governor's office was cancelled, not because anyone from the Bexar County CSCD did anything wrong. Stop throwing stones and get your facts straight before making yourself look foolish. I know what I'm talking about because I attended several meetings with individuals from the Governor's office. Our previous Chief couldn't get along with anyone either, remember L.C. Garcia. Blame him if you must blame anyone. Or call Bexar County Juvenile Chief David Reilly and ask him. By the way I'm named as one of the plaintiffs. Fight for Fairness and Equality for ALL officers, join the union and make a difference!

Anonymous said...

Where are all the Judges in this. They are probably all on the phone to the Dallas Co. Judges trying to learn how not to lose their jobs. If the Judges won't get involved, get to the voters and let them know what is going on. I assure you, they will not be in office long. As for you Mr.F. please call the former Dallas Co. Chief, ummmmm, he had to retire..

Anonymous said...

Join the Union and be counted. You are a professional, and YOU should be treated that way.

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