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Deputies vote no confidence in Sheriff Boyer

Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer has been given a vote of no confidence by 82 percent of the Deputy Sheriffs Guild.

“He’s a nice guy and we like him,” said guild president Detective Mike Rodrigue. “We just want him to be the leader we know he can be.”

Guild members claim communications with Boyer have broken down during the last three years. They expressed their grievances to Boyer in a letter dated Nov. 6.

“The vote of no confidence was issued to show Sheriff Boyer that it’s not just a few employees or the guild board that has an issue with the administration. It’s his entire staff,” Rodrigue explained.

Boyer had no comment Thursday, saying only negotiations with the guild are ongoing. Undersheriff Dennis Bonneville also said talks are headed in a positive direction.

“We are expecting that this can be resolved and that the agency will end up stronger than it is now,” said Bonneville.

Rodrigue confirmed that meetings are being held.

“They have been great meetings and we’re moving down a positive path,” Rodrigue said, admitting he worries about how the public will perceive the discussions.

Boyer’s office released the guild’s letter and other correspondence in response to public disclosure requests this week.

“We didn’t want this broadcast because we are afraid that it’s not going to reflect positively on the department,” said Rodrigue. “At no time has public safety been an issue. We are going to continue to work hard for the public, which is what the public deserves.”

The letter details five issues troubling the guild:

l A perception among deputies that the sheriff and his administration have been untruthful or deceptive concerning shift schedules, grievances, state mandates and deputy probation periods.

l That the sheriff and his administration have failed to comply with policies and the bargaining agreement by not meeting timelines for collision review boards and not bargaining when necessary, the guild said.

l That Boyer and Bonneville lacks confidence in the rank and file, citing a policy on how baseball caps are to be worn and by commandeering duties performed by supervisors and questioning whether sergeants would make good lieutenants.

l Boyer doesn’t communicate effectively with his staff. Since talks on other matters have halted, there has been no action on some morale issues, according to the guild.

l The guild says the sheriff’s administration has made disparaging comments about the weight of deputies and prospective deputies, at one point claiming the undersheriff said the administration would not accept “fat bastards” for employment.

“This has all just been a communications gap,” said Rodrigue. “The vote wasn’t about trying to boot Boyer.”

According to the letter, “The vote was taken with no personal or political prejudice. It is submitted in the hope that you will acknowledge issues that have been brought before you and now act on them decisively and in a timely manner. We intend to support you in these efforts because we truly want you to succeed in bringing this agency to the highest level of efficiency and professionalism.”

The guild asked Boyer to submit within 14 days a plan for addressing the concerns.

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