By ALICIA LEONARD
In a landslide vote, members of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office(WCSO) stopped an effort at unionization dead in its tracks this past week.
According to the State of Florida Public Relations Commission, the vote counted on January 22 was a victory for those against union organization inside the WCSO. Out of 128 eligible voters in the issue, 70 cast their vote. Of those, 50 voted against the union effort and only 20 supported it through a yes vote.
The issue had become quite a hotbed of controversy when it first became public knowledge that the effort was underway after then incumbent Sheriff Ralph Johnson lost in last year’s Republican Primary to now sitting Sheriff Mike Adkinson.
Adkinson released the following statement on the vote, “I am proud to announce that the Public Employee’s Relation Commission (PERC) has announced that, effective 1/22/09, the PBA’s attempt to form a collective bargaining unit at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office has failed. The vote was not close and deputies rejected the PBA by almost a 3 to 1 margin. I consider this a vote of confidence and will honor your choice by continuing to work toward making this the finest sheriff’s office in the state of Florida.”
Two efforts to have Florida Police Benevolent Association representatives comment on the vote went unreturned before going to press.