A 30-year veteran has now become the highest ranking woman ever at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.
The name plate on her office door hasn’t changed yet, but Linda Butler earlier this week was promoted to Major.
Butler started as a dispatcher, worked as an undercover drug agent and investigated hundreds of violent crimes as she rose in the ranks.
“I am proud that i am one of the ladies that’s been able to crack the glass ceiling, to allow others to take the step further,” MAJ Butler said. “So I am hoping that this will allow someone to climb to the very top one day.”
Butler was one of 16 people promoted earlier this week in the wake of a string of DROP-fueled retirements.
By: Julie Montanaro May 11, 2016
A wave of DROP retirements this month has prompted at least 16 promotions at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Wood announced the promotions today, just two days after LCSO’s biggest retirement ceremony ever.
The changes include the promotion of Linda Butler to Major. She becomes the highest ranking woman in the agency’s history.
Here is the list provided by the sheriff’s office:
Captain Linda Butler promoted to Major Captain Steve Harrelson promoted to Major Lieutenant James McQuaig promoted to Captain Lieutenant Ed Cook promoted to Captain Sergeant Kenneth Ganey promoted to Lieutenant Sergeant Bobby Green promoted to Lieutenant Sergeant Wiley Meggs promoted to Lieutenant Sergeant Tim Lawrence promoted to Lieutenant Sergeant Steve Woodcock promoted to Lieutenant Sergeant Lee Majors promoted to Lieutenant Deputy Jerry DeBacker promoted to Sergeant Deputy Morgan Wysocki promoted to Sergeant Deputy Lakisha Snow promoted to Sergeant Deputy Jared Lee promoted to Sergeant Deputy Teresa Howard promoted to Sergeant Deputy Pat McLeod promoted to Sergeant
By: Julie Montanaro May 9, 2016
It’s the biggest retirement ceremony the Leon County Sheriff’s Office has ever had.
13 of its sworn officers – including nine command staff – are hanging up their holsters this year and the sheriff says all of them opted to retire to avoid cutbacks in DROP.
The legislature made changes five years ago and it’s prompting a wave of retirements across the state this spring.
In May and June alone – DROP payouts across Florida will top $1.1 billion. LCSO’s share? 3.3 million.
LT Curtis Parker is retiring after 27 years with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.
“I have mixed emotions,” Parker said. “I’m looking forward to retirement but it’s kind of the unknown. I don’t know what I’m going to do, so I’m a little apprehensive.”
Parker can’t help but laugh when he thinks about all the changes since he started in 1989.
“You know, we didn’t have any cell phones, computers or anything like that … all reports were handwritten,” he said.
Parker is one of 13 sworn officers at LCSO retiring this year. Nine of them are making it official this month. And that is no coincidence.
“2016 is a huge year,” Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood said, “and all of those retirements are directly related to the DROP.”
In 2011, the Florida Legislature made significant changes to its deferred retirement option. According to a spokesperson with the Department of Management Services, lawmakers cut DROP’s interest rate by more than 5% from 6.5% to 1.3% and required employees to start contributing 3% of their salaries toward retirement.
That impending change prompted nearly six thousand employees statewide to sign up for DROP before the July 1, 2011 deadline.
LCSO LT Tim Baxter was one of them.
“If I had stayed another two years, the financial implications would have been drastic,” LT Tim Baxter said. “So I got out while the gettin’ was good.”
DROP essentially requires five years notice, so now everyone who signed up for it in spring of 2011 is actually walking out the door.
“We’ve prepared for it but that doesn’t make it any less impacting,” Sheriff Wood said.
At LCSO, the retirements include the undersheriff, two majors, five lieutenants, one captain, one sergeant and three deputies. Combined, they have more than 400 years experience.
“The down side is the institutional knowledge that we lose, because we’re losing a great deal of experience and you can’t buy time,” Sheriff Wood said.
These men and women are now making plans to travel, fish and spend more time with family.
It’s a bittersweet goodbye, hastened by significant changes to the state’s deferred retirement plan.
The sheriff says there is an up side too. “That gives us the opportunity to put some people in those positions – a new set of eyes, fresh blood.”
The sheriff says the retirements will prompt no less than 27 promotions and transfers in the months ahead.
The first was to name John Schmidt the new undersheriff.
We wanted get some statewide perspective on the impact of that DROP deadline.
According to the Florida Department of Management Services: 5,880 people statewide are retiring over the next two months. 3938 DROP retirements are expected in May and another 1942 in June.
A DMS Spokesperson says the statewide payouts for May and June top 1-point-1 billion dollars.
By: Julie Montanaro May 9, 2016
Today’s was the biggest retirement ceremony the Leon County Sheriff’s Office has ever had.
13 sworn deputies are retiring this year including nine members of the command staff.
The sheriff says it’s a direct result of changes to the state’s deferred retirement plan – called DROP.
All the retirees have between 27 and 35 years on the job.
“I’m a little nervous. I’m excited. It’s going to be a new chapter. I’m going to cry,” Deputy Debbie Fletcher said. She’s retiring after 31 years with LCSO.
“It’s an emotional day…”
“It is. I’ve been there for 31 years and that’s been more than half my life.”
Fletcher says she worked in the courthouse for most of her career and hopes she was able to help people there along the way.
“I’ve seen a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons, most of them not good,” Fletcher said. “Just trying to help and maybe point somebody in the right direction instead of the path they’re going down.”
Back in 2011, the state slashed DROP interest rates and started requiring a three per cent contribution from employees.
That prompted thousands of employees statewide to enroll in DROP before the July 1st deadline. The five year DROP window is now up.