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From Region 1 Employee of the Florida Department of 'Corrections'

October 15, 2004

Dear Mr. Bill Warner, FSECC Fiscal Agent

It is my understanding that as a Fiscal Agent for the Florida State Employees Charitable Campaign (FSECC), according to Chapter 60L-39.006 Florida Administrative Code, you are charged with:

"Training employee key workers and volunteers in the methods of non-coercive solicitation and helping to ensure that no employee is coerced or questioned as to the employee's designation or its amount, other than for arithmetical inconsistencies."

I also am aware of the fact that, according to Chapter 60L-39.002,

"Truly voluntary giving is fundamental to FSECC fundraising activities. Actions that do not allow free choices, or that even create the appearance that employees are not free to choose whether to give, are contrary to FSECC fundraising policy."

United Way of America has a very clear policy against coercion as well (excerpted here):

"Any semblance of pressure whether real, implied or perceived is contradictory to the operating standards of United Way.  United Ways continually try to prevent the use of coercion in their campaigns by encouraging peer solicitation, rather than solicitation of employees by managers.  In addition, United Ways conduct training programs for fund-raisers that stress information and education, and discourage the practice of seeking 100 percent participation in a campaign, as that may inadvertently encourage coercion."

To underscore their conviction about this policy, United Way of America's Board of Governors adopted the following policy statement:

"The Board of Governors of United Way of America believes that the most responsive contributors are those who have the opportunity to become informed and involved.  A well-planned campaign with an effective communications program, conducted by committed volunteers, will ensure responsive contributors.  While we have always been unalterably opposed to coercion, we do recognize a responsibility to state our beliefs formally, as freedom of choice is a basic tenet of our democratic society. Giving is a personal matter and decision; no form of coercion is acceptable to United Way of America."

Does it concern you, as a Fiscal Agent, to know that blatant violations of both of these policies are taking place within at least one region of the Department of Corrections in their efforts to force employees to contribute so that management can claim 100% participation?

DOC's coercion and intimidation tactics include, but are not limited to:

1)  requiring employees to meet individually with two high ranking superiors and having them give their decision whether or not to contribute to the campaign in person to said superiors (and in writing by filling out and signing their FSECC pledge form in the presence of said superiors);

2)  holding meetings of supervisors and other administrative personnel and "hammering home" management's objective to achieve 100% participation;

3)  requiring a show of hands of any present in such meetings who do not give/do not plan to give;

4)  going to the "totally disrespectful of human rights" extreme of calling employees at home on extended sick leave with terminal illnesses to obtain their pledges; and

5)  making it unmistakably clear that retaliatory actions will be taken against employees who choose not to participate and then taking such action.

It has come to my attention that, after he received a complaint from the president of the United Way of Florida, Inc., the Secretary of DOC sent a "PR" e-mail to all of DOC saying basically to "cease with appearance of coercive measures and pay attention to 60L-39.002(3) F.A.C.

In my humble opinion, this is too little, too late!  This e-mail was nothing more than a public relations move, a "CYA" measure, as it came long after DOC managers within the region had gone far beyond the appearance of coercion and were already bragging of 100% participation -- region-wide.  At that point, civil rights of DOC employees, as well as FSECC policy, had long since been violated.

Why being able to make this claim of 100% participation is so important to these power abusive people is a mystery to me.  Perhaps their narcissistic personalities just need this validation when the FSECC Awards Ceremonies are held in early 2005.  They obviously feed off the power they hold over their subordinates, whose lives they have no more regard for than a bug they might brush from their shoulder and squash under their feet.

As you have been given the responsibility as a Fiscal Agent of FSECC, if you feel that anything is wrong with this picture, please act upon this information.  The civil rights of certain DOC employees are violated by management on a daily basis (another entire chapter), but all DOC employees have become "fair game" to some upper echelon within that agency during the FSECC pledge period.  Although the campaign doesn't end until December 1, the pledge period is basically over in the region this letter is in reference to, but perhaps there is hope for DOC employees during future years' campaigns.

Obviously, as a victim of the above abuse with mouths to feed and bills to pay, I would prefer to remain employed by the State of Florida, therefore I have no choice but to submit this information anonymously.

cc:    Susan Coleman, FSECC Fiscal Agent
  Ted Granger, President United Way of Florida, Inc.
  United Way of America, Inc.
  Governor Jeb Bush
  Lucy Morgan, St. Petersburg Times
  Bill Cotterell, Tallahassee Democrat
  Kay Lee, Making The Walls Transparent


Extortion In It's Many Forms

To Area Ministers and Local Leaders

To The Florida Democratic Party

To Bill Warner, FSECC Fiscal Agent

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