Friday, May 18, 2007

Bill Fitzgerald gets a clue

Good news for Bexar County probation officers. Your boss backed off and for now your jobs are secure. The SA Express News reports today ("Probation director calls off interviews") that the Bexar probation department called off its "retention interviews" announced at Christmastime for all employees:

Bexar County's Community Supervision and Corrections Department Director Bill Fitzgerald sent out a late morning e-mail saying, "It has come to my understanding that this process has been misunderstood in a way that has caused unnecessary confusion."

A group of probation officers who are suing over the interviews declared a partial victory at the news. "They're being called off because my clients sued him. What he did was flagrantly retaliatory," lawyer David Van Os alleged.

Fitzgerald has contended all along that the interviews were not in retaliation, but an effort to improve the department.

Fitzgerald's announcement that he would reinterview every employee in Adult Probation caused great consternation when he sent it out in a terse e-mail just before the winter holidays. People were told they would have to reapply for their jobs and be interviewed starting in January.

Fitzgerald later said the process was so that he could better understand his people's issues, and that no one would be fired. He just wanted everyone to take it seriously, and was slowly working his way through the department in alphabetical order.

But many in the department that already struggles with low pay, high workload and a lot of internal politics saw the move as a threat in reaction to some officers' attempt to organize with Service Employees International Union. They'd had a meeting scheduled with Fitzgerald that he had canceled shortly before sending out the memo. Fitzgerald has said that he is not against unionizing.

The activist officers continued to work with SEIU for a while, then broke off that relationship and have begun meeting with United Steel Workers representatives. Several also filed the lawsuit against Fitzgerald, demanding that he stop the interviews and hear them out on their concerns.

But that won't end the litigation. "There are some other aspects of my clients' lawsuit that this action of today does not deal with," Van Os said.

Uh, gee, Mr. Fitzgerald, it's just NOW come to your "understanding" that the interviews were perceived as hostile? Hmmmmm. Was it the employee protests, the barrage of negative media, or the lawsuit that tipped you off?

See prior Grits coverage of this topic:


Anonymous said...

Dear Grits readers, Just a short message to let you know that the employees at the Bexar County CSCD (Adult Probation Department) need to continue their fight against this egotistical angry little man. As a former employee of his in Arizona, I can attest to hs present actions being the same as exhibited here in Yavapai County, Arizona. We have been through the same issues with him! Thankfully he is no longer here, but I do feel for the officers and the citizens of Bexar County who are suffering because of his actions

Anonymous said...

Well thanks for the warning! You're a little late, kind, and of like those folks in Arkansas who were so happy to get rid of their Governor Bill "Not inapprpriate sex" Clinton. Let him screw up the whole country insead of their state. Anyway, the lawsuit will go on and we'll see what a jury of our peers decides in a Federal District Court. Many officers are more worried now than they were before!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Arizona- may need you soon!
We will try to send him packing to another state and protect Texas and Arizona. Lets send him to a northeast state where the employees will attact at the first sight of his behavior.

Anonymous said...

Will someone please let others know that Chief Bill Fitzgerald has requested a written disposition from Google, they are asking for all anonymous comments, posting, entries made on the bexar-me blogspace? Is he trying to control what his employees do outside of work hours? Doesn't our First Amendment allow us freedom of speech?

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

You are going to have an uphill battle against this fellow, I assure you. I worked under his regime in Yavapai County (Arizona) and he was a smooth politician, which is how he manipulated the judges into siding with him year after year. He hates guns and fears any officer discretion. Fitzgerald loves power and will not hesitate to bully line staff, so his retention interview idea is not in the least bit surprising. If I recall correctly, he left Arizona just as officers were forming a union and began requesting permission to carry firearms. This tells me he will buckle if there is enough political pressure if he sees a losing battle ahead of him. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

The District Judges of Bexar County are to blame for the misery Fitzgearld brought to ex-employees.Speaking of you, Jd. Mary Roman and Jd. Sharon Macrae