Earlier this month, deputies from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) voted to form a union for collective bargaining. Florida sheriff’s deputies have had the right to form unions for collective bargaining since 2003, and this is the first time that LCSO has approached creating a union.
Matt Puckett, executive director of the Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA), said the LCSO union is planned to form separately from the Big Bend PBA, which represents the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) and other police departments.
Puckett said he thinks the decision to form separately was the right call because of the potential for competing interests if the LCSO union formed under the Big Bend PBA.
“Tallahassee police right now, at this moment, are locked in a pretty contentious contract negotiation, and the Big Bend PBA really needs to focus on that,” he said.
Puckett said the top focuses of the LCSO union are still being discussed, but one issue could be deputy salaries. He said deputies want to have direct conversations with Sheriff Walt McNeil to identify issues.
Puckett also emphasized that the goal of forming the union was to give deputies a sense of stability as well as influence on the future of the sheriff’s department.
“This was so much out of love for the agency that these deputies wanted to join and form a union,” he said. “They want to have a role in the future of LCSO because they love it.”