Paul Babeu's January Proposal to Strip Lieutenants of Employee Rights Was Done Deal, E-mails Suggest
Who could possibly forget the scathing, sarcasm-riddled message Karns blasted to every PCSO employee on January 8 over Babeu's plan to strip Karns and PCSO lieutenants of their employee protections.
See also: Paul Babeu, Pinal County Sheriff, Lambasted by Newly-Retired PCSO Captain Jeffrey Karns See also: Babeu's "Elite" Staff Overcomes Bad Behavior with Loyalty
Karns sent his e-mail (and retired) on January 8, a day before the Pinal County Board of Supervisors was expected to consider Babeu's request, which including cutting Karns' pay by $15,000 a year.
The day the e-mail was leaked from the PCSO, Chief Deputy Steve Henry -- Babeu's No. 2 -- issued, in part, this media statement: "It is truly puzzling why Captain Karns overreacted to an organizational change that has yet to take place, and I can only surmise that some other issue is in play that made him lash out."
New Times came across a few other e-mails that Karns sent, and from them we can surmise that Karns had good reason to believe that Babeu's plans were as good as done.
Babeu wanted to reclassify Karns and all the department's lieutenants from "covered" employees to "at will" workers -- meaning they could be fired on a whim and had no right to appeal the decision.
On January 4 at 1:34 p.m. Karns wrote to Deputy Chief Harry Grizzle about pending employee evaluations: "I haven't finished all of them yet, but since all the lieutenants are now at-will, do I need to do them or not?"
Note Grizzle's response at 2:01 p.m.: "Yes, due to they were not during the time they worked. It would be fair to them and to their benefit." (emphasis ours)
Mr. Henry, what's "truly puzzling" is why the pair was talking about Babeu's proposal as though it had already been approved. How could they be so sure that the Board of Supervisors would agree with Babeu's plan?
Ten minutes later, at 2:11 p.m., Karns send a separate e-mail to Grizzle -- no message, only a subject line that says: "I am fucked."
An interesting find, we thought.
Here it is, January 4 -- five days before Supervisors are supposed to decide whether to allow Babeu to strip the lieutenants of their employee protections -- and Karns and Grizzle, one of Babeu's No. 3 guys who oversees law enforcement services, are talking about it as though it had already been approved.
Makes you wonder.
Yet, Henry puts out his dutiful statement, feigning confusion over Karns' e-mail.
Supervisors initially postponed the matter on January 9 but came back on February 13 and voted 3-2 to grant Babeu's request, expanding his ability to fire as many as 34 employees. Babeu asked Supervisors to approve for more pay for the lieutenants -- a seemingly kind gesture since they were losing their job security. They denied bumping their pay, and Babeu reclassified them anyway.
No job protection. No raises.
Doesn't seem that Karns -- who was able to retire -- was really the one getting screwed in this political fray.
On January 6 at 12:18 p.m., two days before he sent his infamous e-mail, Karns sent an e-mail to himself with talking points he apparently planned to share with the Board of Supervisors about the pitfalls of allowing Babeu to reclassify employees.
As we know, he opted instead for sending an e-mail.
And here's the "thank-you-Paul" e-mail, ICYMI: