Florida police union cusses Gov. Rick Scott in newsletter

Herald/Times Tallahassee BureauJune 14, 2012 

TALLAHASSEE -- Fed up with the closed-door treatment from Gov. Rick Scott, the Police Benevolent Association sent a nasty gram using a word game in its quarterly newsletter, Roll Call.

The sixth page of the March newsletter notes that the union that represents police departments, sheriffs and other law enforcement officers has repeatedly asked Gov. Rick Scott to submit a guest article to the newsletter as part of its practice offered to every statewide elected official.

"While we know he and/or his staff receives our email requests, we have yet to receive any kind of response from him,’’ the message said.

It urged members to write and call the governor to urge him to write about how he feels about law enforcement officers. Then, it added: "If you would like to know what we really think of the governor and the staff member who refuses our requests, go back to page four and write down the first letter of each paragraph."

A careful reading of Executive Director Matt Puckett’s column provides the answer: "S-H-*-*-H-E-A-D-S."

Reached Wednesday, Puckett had no apologies. "The governor’s office and the governor, since he ran for that office has closed the door to the PBA,’’ he said. "We’ve reached out to him or his staff and we get no response. His policies have a very important effect on our membership and we get a closed door. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it."

Puckett, a mild-mannered fellow not prone to using cuss words, was also head of the organization when it ran misleading campaign ads against Scott in the 2010 governor’s race, claiming his budget plan would “release tens of thousands of prisoners early” including rapists and murders.

He admitted the new message could offend.

"We want people to look at it and read it,’’ he said. "The fact that it got some people’s attention that’s good and if it offended some people so be it.’’

He noted that Scott’s fellow Republicans — Sen. Marco Rubio, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — have regularly submitted columns in the quarterly newsletter. Not Scott.

Brian Burgess, the governor’s communications director, said Wednesday he was not aware of the invitations but urged the PBA to try again. "I invite them to call and ask for me or a member of my staff and I promise we’ll get back to them,’’ he said.

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