SAN ANTONIO — Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau has proposed appointing lieutenants and captains instead of strictly promoting from within her department, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by the I-Team.
The plan, which BCSO has included in its proposal for a new labor contract, has been widely panned by rank and file members of BCSO.
“I think it sends a negative message to our people. ‘You know what, you all aren’t good enough to fulfill those positions’, and we don’t believe that’s true,” said investigator Juan Contreras, president of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Bexar County.
The association represents more than 1,100 employees of the sheriff’s office.
“When you tell the rank and file ‘I can only go this far in my career’, of course that’s not going to sit well with them,” added Contreras.
BCSO currently promotes sergeants to lieutenant and lieutenants to captain using a written test and internal review board, according to Contreras.
State law allows the sheriff to make ten appointments for chief and deputy chief positions. This proposal would allow the sheriff to appoint more than 40 more positions, according to the association.
Sheriff Pamerleau declined a request for interview Monday, citing the on-going labor negotiations.
Lowell Denton, BCSO’s lead negotiator, told the I-Team via telephone Monday the proposal would put BCSO more in line with sheriff’s offices in other major Texas counties.
Denton added the plan allows the sheriff to appoint people from other agencies, such as the FBI, who have a highly valuable skill or expertise in areas such as cyber crime or body cameras.
“I am confident we will find a balanced solution to this,” said Denton, who said he does not expect the deputy sheriff’s association to accept the proposal, but hopes the union will move toward a compromise on the issue.
BCSO’s current contract expired Sept. 30. It remains in place as negotiations continue, thanks to a two-year ‘evergreen clause,’ according to the deputy sheriff’s association.
Both sides are scheduled to resume negotiations Wednesday.