Criminal Justice
 

Gusman plans to pay deputies working city detail; unpaid hours reach back to May

By Matt Davis, The Lens staff writer |

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman admitted today that he has not paid thousands of dollars to reserve deputies working a security detail at the city’s auto impound lot since May, and he said he intends to pay them soon.

Click here to watch Lens reporter Matt Davis discussing this story on the afternoon show with our reporting partners at WVUE-TV.

Deputies claim to be owed as much as $18,000.

Gusman’s office took over the paid off-duty detail, worth as much as $450,000, from the New Orleans Police Department after criticism of the police department’s paid details program as an “aorta of corruption” by the U.S. Department of Justice.

As many as 40 deputies – some reserve officers, other full-time employees – provide security at three city sites, running the city as much as $35 an hour for the services.

Gusman never signed a formal contract with the city for the work, he said Friday. Nevertheless, Gusman said he had been submitting invoices to the city for the work since May. The contract was signed yesterday, after The Lens began asking questions.

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman said, “It took us a little while to get the contract together.” Photo courtesy of FOX 8

Gusman declined comment when The Lens broke the story Thursday, but he addressed the issue with a photographer from our reporting partners at FOX 8 News today.

“When the city asked us to do this job, we really had to scramble at the last minute,” Gusman said. “We didn’t have a contract in place before we got started as things usually happen. We’ve been negotiating back and forth on the contract. I’m glad to say that the contract has now been signed and the invoices that we’ve been sending along will soon be paid, and we’ll be able to compensate the reserves that have been working this detail.”

Gusman did not say when the deputies would be paid, or apologize for the situation.

A deputy who originally contacted The Lens about this story is pleased to hear that Gusman intends to pay the money owed.

Although on a skeptical note, the deputy added: “I’ll believe it when I have the check.”

The Lens is not identifying the deputy, who fears retribution if identified. Gusman’s office has directed deputies to not talk to reporters about the issue.

The sheriff did not appear overly concerned about the issue Friday.

“Look, these things happen sometimes,” Gusman said. “You really want to start everything off with a contract in advance, but in this case, it took us a little while to get the contract together. And like anything you’re always going to have some disgruntled people. Everybody else understood what was going on, and I think it’ll be resolved really soon.”

FOX 8 photographer Donny Pearce asked Gusman about the issue during a news conference marking the capping ceremony for Gusman’s oversized kitchen and warehouse facility, which will feed inmates at his new jail — a project on which The Lens has reported extensively.

The Lens was not notified of the news conference. Gusman’s paid publicist, Malcolm Ehrhardt, has said previously that neither Gusman nor The Ehrhardt Group would provide press releases or comment to The Lens on Sheriff’s Office matters because they believe the news website publishes inaccurate information and has unfairly targeted Gusman for negative coverage.

The press release for this morning’s event said Gusman planned to raise “a tree to the top of the facility to represent growth and grant good luck to the building.”

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  • what

    the money has been in the bank who gets the intrest off of it. it should go to the deputy ?

  • Matt Davis

    Good question: The City of New Orleans will be earning the interest on the balance in their account, because Sheriff Gusman did not have a signed contract with them, so they couldn’t pay the invoices. It’s not clear if Gusman has been paid for other security work with the city, without a contract in place, but we have filed records requests to find out and will update you when we know.

  • concern employee

    What happens if he dont pay the reserve deputies? Why would he put deputies on a detail with out a contract? Is that Legal? Why would he say the shortchanged deputy is disgruntle? would’nt he be if he worked for 6 months without pay? We are treated like mis fits by Sheriff Marlin Gusman. what kind of a Sheriff would treat the backbone of his department like this? I have seen the interview with the reporter and Gusman. Sheriff Gusman is lying through his teeth. He had no intentions of signing the contract. thanks Mike Davis for all your help but I feel like the shortchanged deputy I’ll believe it when i have the check in my hand.

  • Matt Davis

    Thanks for commenting — if you would like to talk more about this story offline, my email is mdavis@thelensnola.org.

    In answer to your questions, we are following up on several aspects of this story, including some of the questions you have raised. And obviously we will be following up with the deputies periodically to make sure that Sheriff Gusman honors his pledge to make sure that they do indeed get paid.

  • I want his commission

    Its my mmoney and I want it no

  • Long Overdue

    Ladies and Gentleman….perhaps we will actually be compensated for hour hours worked. My signed detail forms promise 30.00 an hour but sadly I don’t see that happening. We can feed the entire city…even pick them up in Sheriffs vehicles to bring them to eat but we can’t pay our own Deputies? Why am I suprised…we couldn’t even get a graduation ceremony for our Academy. Oh but that’s right…the Young Marines had theirs at Xavier. Aren’t politics great?

    Thank you to all of you who brought this issue to light…the Sheriffs office is corrupt beyond words. We’ve all been lied too…we were told by Sgt. Reed and Lt. Taylor the contract was signed months ago. Thank you to The Lens….please keep up the good work and keep the pressure on a wonderful politician but a terrible Sheriff.

    RC-211…Academy Class that deserves a graduation…

  • Matt Davis

    @Long Overdue: Thanks for commenting. Again, if you would like to continue this conversation with me offline my email address is mdavis@thelensnola.org.

    It has proved quite difficult to report on Sheriff Gusman’s operations since his publicist stopped answering our questions, so any insight you can give me into the workings of the office, particularly on a couple of specific points, would be much appreciated.

  • Long Overdue

    I quickly wanted to say as well…to all the members of the OPSO Reserves…our problem has been placed in the public view. Do not stop now!! We need to stand together and work together until this.problem is resolved. One thing I know is that unless we keep up the fight for what we are owed we will continue to be blown off. Truthfully we should have never let it go this far…we should have refused to work the detail as a group.

  • Matt Davis

    @Long Overdue: If there were strike action planned, that would certainly be newsworthy. But it was my understanding that there isn’t any collective bargaining amongst sheriff’s deputies, right?

  • Long Overdue

    That is correct…but as Reserves we don’t really count in the eyes of the Sheriff. If we get hurt on the job we aren’t covered under his insurance. We pay a 60 dollar membership due that gives us a 2000 dollar bond in case we damage somthing but that’s about it. I forwarded you my info and will certainly be happy to answer any questions you may have. The bottom line is this. Sheriff Gusman is a lawyer not a Sheriff. The conditions in the jail are terrible…transparency is not somthing the Sheriff wants. If the public knew how unsafe the jail was…how many doors don’t lock…how many are heheld closed by shackles they would flip. The Sheriffs favorite word is “temporary”…hopefully his time as Sheriff is just that.

  • Matt Davis

    Thanks for the tip about an alleged lack of insurance for reserve deputies. This was an area we had been probing in various conversations, but your steer there helps a lot. We can now file a targeted public records request with Sheriff Gusman’s attorneys, asking for records showing the details of insurance arrangements for reserve deputies — including the $2,000 bond you mentioned. Also, if you know any reserve deputies who have been injured on the job and compensated, or not, then we would be interested to hear from them, too.

  • Redd

    WOW, YALL DONT HAVE ENOUGH INSURANCE AND YALL ARE DOING ARMED SECURITY DETAILS WITH NO RADIO COMMUNICATIONS. WOW, YALL ARE ONE JACKED UP RESERVE DIVISION. WOW SHERIFF REALLY SHOWS HIS APPRECIATION FOR YALL ,, . YES WE HERD ABOUT IT AND WE ARE BEHIND YOU GUYS 100%. DONT GET DISCURAGED YOU ALL ARE DOING A GOOD THING. TOO BAD WE CANT COME TOGETHER AS REGULAR DEPUTIES AND DO THE SAME THING. TOO MANY ARE AFRAID OF RETALIATION FROM THE UPPER STAFF. THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT IS AWARE OF OUR PROBLEMS. READ THE REPORT THEY DID ON THE SHERIFFS OFFICE, THAT IS AS FAR AS IT WENT. WE ARE STILL WORKING SHORT HANDED. FOR EXAMPLE TODAY I AM WORKING 3 TIERS BY MYSELF. SOMETIMES I WONDER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF ALL THE DEPUTIES JUST WALK OFF THE JOB. GUSMAN IS SO MUCH OF A POLITICIAN HE WOULD PROBABLY CONVIENCE EVERY PASTOR IN THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS TO WORK IN OUR PLACE WHILE AT THE SAME TIME TELLING THE MEDIA THAT WE ARE HOLDING A BIBLE STUDY CONVENTION IN THE JAIL. RESERVE BROTHERS EVEN IF YOU CANT GET YOUR MONEY FROM THIS POLITICIAN AT LEAST YOU WILL LET THE VOTES KNOW HOW LOW THIS POLITICIAN IS. WHERE IN THE HELL IS CHARLES C FOTI, JR. WHEN YOU NEED HIM.

  • It’s a shame

    It’s a shame how they treat the deputies in Orleans Parish. The people don’t even know who or what we do. It’s a shame how Gusman treat his deputies assigning us to a “paid” city detail with no contract.It’s a shame how a politician came try to run a sheriffs office. It’s a how the Orleans Parish SHERIFF has no law enforcement experience know at all. It’s a shame it’s a damn shame……..

  • so sad

    Any new info on when we can expect our hard earned money? I would hate to be called disgruntled by Gusman again. Maybe you should pay the Deputies working Methodist Hospital what you are charging the city and not 9.69 an hour. At least give them some power and a proper place to use the restroom. Sitting in the dark watching an abandoned hospital…nice. I do know the security company who secured Methodist was paid nearly 3 dollars an hour more…and they were garbage and not POST certified.

  • want to know

    when is the next update for the auto pound lots
    concerning the sheriffs office. do they know when exactly gussman is going to pay the deputies.

  • cmore

    I wonder what sort of retribution/retaliation from rank that these deputies are afraid of? Are they afraid of getting fired or hurt?

  • Long Overdue

    Hey Matt…any new news on when Gusman will pay us? Christmas is around the corner…I’m sure he doesn’t care if our families go without but we do!! Thank you for all your help…can you please turn up the heat on this liar!!!

  • osiris2rule

    I know first hand qhow the reserve unit is treated coming from and being trained by another agency I can tell you. Those deputies are under equipped, severly undertrained in just just about every aspect of law enforcement standards, and the working conditions are demoralizing, horrible,and tottally third world, its a mockery ans how this so called agency continues to operate is mind boggling.