Sheriff, guild say 'positive steps' being taken

Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer and Deputies Guild President Michael Rodrigue issued a joint statement last week about ongoing talks between the administration and staff.

The one-page statement was the first public act of solidarity between the administration and the guild since union members voted no confidence in Boyer Nov. 6.

The Sheriff’s Office and the guild, according to the letter, “are working together toward positive and productive problem solving ... and the sheriff and guild take responsibility for improving communications and are taking steps to enhance the communications and processes throughout the agency.”

The letter was issued to show Kitsap residents that service won’t be affected by the discussions, Rodrigue said Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Boyer said deputies will continue to do a good job and work hard.

The guild submitted a list of complaints to Boyer after 82 percent of members voted no confidence in the sheriff. Before last week, the administration had made no official comments about the vote.

Rodrigue and Boyer had hoped to work out tensions and discuss the no-confidence vote internally. But in response to public disclosure requests, the Sheriff’s Office released the no-confidence letter Thursday, Nov. 15.

In the letter, Rodrigue outlined grievances he said were caused by communication breakdowns since Boyer took office in 1999. Among other things, the letter claimed Boyer “either by neglect or design avoided confronting and deciding in a timely manner major issues affecting employees’ personal safety, quality of life and working conditions.”

Contacted Tuesday, Rodrigue said he is cautiously hopeful that talks are continuing to move in the right direction. Boyer agreed.

“It is still really early on,” said Rodrigue. “We have just begun.”

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