Broward Sheriff Scott Israel Didn't Know Ousting Lamberti Brass Would Cost Millions

Stefan Kamph
Israel on the campaign trail.
When incoming Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel wanted to bring in his own people to help run the department, he didn't realize that removing some of former Sheriff Al Lamberti's top lieutenants would cost nearly $4.3 million, including a more than $340,000 payout to one colonel who had never called in sick during 36 years on the job.

Now Israel is lambasting the former sheriff for writing checks "at the taxpayers' expense," according to the Sun-Sentinel. Lamberti told the Miami Herald that Israel's transition team was made aware that BSo would be responsible for such payouts -- for unused, accrued sick and vacation time. Israel said he was never made personally aware of the issue.

"They understood, and were OK with it," Lamberti said.

Among the payouts were $340,653 to Col. Timothy Gillette, $176,471 to Major Larry Rogers, $173,956 to Col. James Winberly, $148,135 to Capt. Milton Wiener, and $143,005 to Lt. Col. Richard Reilly.

The agency spokesman, Lt. Jim Leljedal, received $120,482 and Art Santucci, who Lamberti brought in to run external affairs after being elected in 2008, left with more than $50,000.

Read more:
- Broward Sheriff Candidate Scott Israel: "I Have a Pristine Record"
- Scott Israel Defeats Al Lamberti for Broward Sheriff

The way employees accrue sick and vacation days has changed over time. Today employees' accrued vacation time is capped at 320 hours. They receive 12 sick days a year with no cap on accumulation. Gillette, who received the $340,000 payout, began working before new rules on accrued were put in place, effectively grandfathering him in. During his career he gathered 3,378.53 hours of sick time and 963.19 hours of vacation.

At one point, the office paid out 100 percent of all accrued time, but former Sheriff Ken Jenne -- who held the job before Lamberti and went to jail on corruption charges in 2007 -- changed the rules allowing sheriffs to pay less than the full amount.

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LadyYehenara defines golden parachutes as “Lucrative benefits given to top executives in the event that a company is taken over by another firm, resulting in the loss of their job. Benefits include items such as stock options, bonuses, severance pay, etc.”  Al Lamberti’s officers got golden parachutes.  Broward County taxpayers got golden showers.

frankd4 topcommenter

well i guess all this explains the cars that are parked in the BSO employEE parking lot - mercedes, BMW M5s, porsche, BMW E63 AMG

rothstein was very good to BSO and apparently so are the county TAXpayers

anyway this is south florida where all of this is the accepted culture here for many many administrations and it is self-perpetuating as long as there is "crime" on the streets to keep the officers busy

heaven forbid we should ever invest in mental health or education or chemical dependance avoidance or job apprenticeship programs instead of prison and detention facilities and courts and police payroll including excesive benefits and all types of equipment and expensive vehicles including maintenance pursuant to contracts that include kickbacks pay-offs and bribes

rothstein BOUGHT the BSO because the BSO is and was for sale

colonel "cal ripken" gillette found a loop-hole to ride the gravy train because in 36 years he MUST have seen plenty of money going under the table and he wanted HIS piece of the action

sunny skies and shady people with expensive toys and habits they cannot otherwise afford


Let's be clear. Scott Israel had nothing to do with giving these retiring officers an egregious golden parachute. It was completely due to the very corrupt Lamberti who himself took a tidy sum when he walked out the door. We have had some corrupt sheriffs over the years but Lamberti was the worst. Lamberti states these payouts were up to his discretion, well, his discretion sucks. He screwed the taxpayers in Broward but what else is new. He did that for years.


should get banked vacation time paid at the yearly income he earned at the time each year and not 2012 income rate.


If you don’t use it, you lose it!  Try keeping your annually allotted sick days year after year.  There have to be caps on payouts because sick day pay is for covering your butt when you get sick, not for making a deal with your boss to pay you a lump sum when you leave the job.  And Gillette was fired!  Al Lamberti kept Sheriff Scott Israel out of the BSO before Jan. 8 because he (Lamberti)was giving away taxpayer money.  Such a huge payout to Gillette makes me wonder if Lamberti got a kick-back from these big payouts.  


Lamberti leaves a legacy of lording over a department infused with thuggery, homophobia, greed, cronyism and criminal associations.   Lamberti is outstanding in his lack of concern for the citizens of Broward County and boy, did he let us know!  I’m sure Sheriff Israel will review and change the sick day payout policy so it is fair to BSO employees but doesn’t rip off county tax payers.  


Sunday, January 20, 2013

John W. Scott, Inspector General
Office of the Inspector General
One North University Drive, Suite 111
Plantation, FL 33324

RE: Former BSO Col. Timothy Gillette $340,653 payout

Dear Sir:

Can you imagine never being sick in the past 35 years? In case you are wondering, 35 years equates to:

12,784 days
1,104,537,600 seconds
18,408,960 minutes
306,816 hours
1826 weeks (rounded down)

From reports published by WPLG,

Let’s take the most egregious case, that of Col. Timothy Gillette, who received a whopping $340,000 check on the way out the door, most of it in accrued sick and vacation leave pay. Understand this is above and beyond his pension for life, which is mostly likely in the six figures (he was making $150,000 a year).

Gillette had served at the agency for more than 30 years and had somehow accrued about 422 sick days and 120 vacation days, according to BSO figures. Deputies get about 12 sick days a year and if they don’t use them, they roll over to the next year. Gillette has obviously been a very healthy fellow; 422 sick days is equivalent to 35 years worth of sick time never taken.

Deputies can accumulate unlimited sick time on the rationale that a serious illness could befall them at any time and they deserve the days they’ve saved up. That makes sense, but the normal policy, under union agreements, is that when a deputy leaves the agency, he or she receives about 25 percent of the value of those sick days.

And while former Sheriff Al Lamberti authorized “100% of the payout”, I seriously question the arithmetic behind Gillette’s $340,653 payout.

Therefore, I respectfully request the Broward Office of Inspector General investigates this matter.


The Genius

frankd4 topcommenter

as for colonel ripken i would say such cost to taxpayers is petty cash compared to what miami residents got soaked for in the cost of that new baseball stadium that won't be solvent for 36 MONTHs let alone 36 years of service - forget BSO this guy should be teaching a health class at broward college

frankd4 topcommenter

how does someone "earn" a 2012 pay rate on 1976 sick time ?

this guy WON the BSO LOTTO

according to my math the total paid $340,653 on the total accrued hours of 4,341 comes to $78 PER HOUR - which means even those hours from 36 years ago are PAID OUT in 2012 at almost $80 per hour ! (the rate of $80 per hour equates to $166,400 annually)

the fiction is NOT the time "earned" but the rate it is PAID OUT - in essence this guy gave HIMSELF a raise each and every year for 36 years on rolled-over time accrued until it was finally PAID OUT at $80 per hour

i bet his sick time account outperformed his retirement plan account over those 36 years


@alphonsecandice NOT true.  Remember, it was Israel who forced many of these guys into retirement.  The Chief in Deerfield is one good example.  There are many others.  Lamberti just gave them what was legally owed to them.  Now, if you're upset about that, then get someone to change the rules.  

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