Gerald Bailey: Sour Grapes and Political Payback?

Last month, Gov. Rick Scott accepted the resignation of Gerald Bailey, the eight year Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, from his post.

Now a month later, former Commissioner Bailey accuses Gov. Scott and his aides of political meddling and claims his resignation was forced.

Given the timing, it seems less than credible and a political hatchet job as failed gubernatorial and congressional candidate Alex Sink and other Democratic voices have come out of the woodwork to criticize Scott.

When one reads his resignation letter, there is no mention of these new allegations against Gov. Scott and his current and former aides.

Various allegations from Bailey go back to March 2013.

If they are true, why did he not speak up then?

Why did Bailey not become a whistle blower like myself and file a complaint with Leon County State Attorney Willie Meggs or Attorney General Pam Bondi?

Either the allegations are not true or he did not want to walk in my shoes.

Are we to believe that aides to Gov. Scott bullied and badgered an FDLE Commissioner with 35 years of police experience?

As former Commissioner Bailey looked the other way in his response to Adobegate at Miami Norland Senior High School in March 2014, I for one am glad he has left the FDLE.

Perhaps Florida will gain an FDLE Commissioner that will investigate and take actions on serious test cheating akin to Adobegate concerning Miami-Dade County Public Schools and/or other Florida school districts like state police officials in Georgia, Texas, and Pennsylvania as opposed to doing absolutely nothing.

EDITORS UPDATE: On January 24, 2015 Governor Scott’s office issued the following on the Gerald Bailey resignation:

Governor Scott’s Press Office: FAQ on FDLE

Q: Is it true that Gerald Bailey was forced to resign?

  • Prior to December 16, 2014, the Governor’s staff notified cabinet staff (including the offices of the Attorney General, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Commissioner of Agriculture) that the Governor wanted new leadership at FDLE. Cabinet staff raised no objection.
  • On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, cabinet staff were notified that Gerald Bailey would be met with that day about the Governor’s desire for new leadership at FDLE. Peter Antonacci, then general counsel, met with Bailey and said the Governor wanted new leadership at FDLE and requested his resignation.
  • Bailey sent a letter to the Governor saying he was “stepping down” that same day, December 16th.

Q: Is it true that you or your aides instructed FDLE to identify Alan Williams in a daily media report about the Dream Defender protest at the capitol?

  • The Governor’s office, FDLE and DMS worked to produce daily media reports in response to a high volume of media requests for information (including the costs of the protest, activities of protestors and incidents in the capitol during the protest).
  • Representative Williams was first identified by name in an incident report memo from Gerald Bailey emailed to the Governor’s office on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm and then included in a memo to press at 4:57PM that same day.
  • During the protest, it was standard practice to provide as much information to the media as possible without compromising the security concerns of the capitol building.

Q: Did Governor’s staff direct Bailey to target Interim Orange County Clerk Colleen Reilly as part of the investigation of two escaped inmates?

  • No, Frank Collins met with FDLE communications personnel to help coordinate an FDLE press conference. Bailey asked to speak with Collins and FDLE communications staff before the press conference.
  • The discussions with Bailey were about how to provide the most complete account of who could have been involved in the high-profile escape of two inmates, which included both the Clerk’s Office and the Department of Corrections.
  • The discussion was not about targeting any individual.

Q: Did you ask FDLE to get involved in a federal money laundering case so a donor could be appointed to a position?

  • No, the Governor did not ask Bailey to get involved in any type of investigation in any way.
  • While there is no record of an appointment application in the Governor’s office, it is likely he was considered for an appointment at some point because there was a request for a background check. However, there was no request to FDLE to influence any kind of investigation.

Q: Is it true that FDLE was forced to transport staffers from your re-election campaign in state vehicles?

  • The campaign paid an invoice from FDLE for the estimated cost of staff to travel with the Governor and the First Lady.
  • FDLE would not transport Meghan Collins on one occasion, which created some confusion because the campaign was already working to reimburse any cost to the state for staff travel.

Q: Is it true your campaign solicited donations from FDLE on their state emails?

  • Any emails used for campaign donations would have been obtained through lists operated by organizations that included individuals who opted in for communication. Unfortunately, those lists were not regularly cleaned to ensure they did not have any government email addresses on them.
  • The law requires mass emails to include an unsubscribe link that would have allowed any recipient to automatically be removed from a list at any time.

Q: Is it true that Pete Antonacci requested FDLE to delete public records?

  • No.

Q: Is it true that campaign aides asked for FDLE to help develop campaign policy by getting on a phone call?

  • FDLE did the right thing by ignoring a campaign staffer’s inappropriate request for assistance.

Q: What about the allegation from Bailey that your administration forces agencies to make certain hiring decisions?

  • Our office frequently makes suggestions on qualified candidates, but we do not require agencies to hire anyone.

Q: What about the allegation from Bailey that the Governor’s office stopped FDLE from briefing the cabinet on their plan to increase pay for crime lab employees?

  • In October, the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget advised FDLE to not include any pay increases in their Legislative Budget Requests because pay increases for all state agencies were to be considered as a whole at a later date. The Governor’s full budget proposal will be released next week.