What do the people in charge of your property taxes do in their free time? One Broward property appraiser likes to tweet right-wing talking points, including his love for Allen West and Ronald Reagan.
Juice reader Seth Platt noticed that some of Deputy Property Appraiser Bob Wolfe's tweets were appearing during working hours and that Wolfe identified his job on his Twitter profile. Platt sent Wolfe's boss, Broward Property Appraiser Lori Parrish, an email titled "Your employees are wasting my money and trying my patience."
Parrish quickly responded, asking someone in her office to look into it and then writing that she was "handling" the situation.
Inside, see the email correspondence as well as some highlights of Wolfe's tweets.
First, Platt sent his email to Parrish:
This is how your employees spend their time at work?
This is not the proper use of the Property Appraiser's office.
Feel free to view his twitter page where he names his job position and rants and raves right wing BS.
He followed it with a selection of choice tweets, including:
Parrish responded to Platt an hour later, cc:ing her employees Ron Cacciatore and Erik Reed:
I do not believe this was done on our account or our time. I will have it checked.
Ron/Erik: Does this show our office name or his job title? On our time?
A while later, she replied again with a promise to "handle" the situation:
Seth. 2 of these comments are during working hours. The others are not. It is from his personal account. However, the profile makes it appear as if it has to do with our office, I am handling. Thank you for letting me know.
It's unclear what she meant by "handling." Update 11:59 a.m.: Parrish explains, "He received a written warning in his personnel file from me." Wolfe recently served on a county ethics commission tasked with tightening the county's ethics rules that were designed to keep local politicians from profiting from their positions.
Here at the Juice, we're not entirely convinced that any rules were broken, although it was probably a pretty dumb idea for a civil servant of relative stature to spend his working hours tweeting partisan talking points. Arguably, if New Times staffers were critically evaluated based on workday tweets and Facebook posts, we'd all be out on the street.
We decided to call the Property Appraiser's head of media relations for a comment on whether this is above-board, but... surprise! Bob Wolfe is the head of media relations. Awwwwkward. We left him a message and will update when he calls back.
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In the meantime, you'll have to make do with this tweet about the failed DREAM Act, which would have given immigrant grads and veterans the right to citizenship and was rejected by Republicans:
1. Lori instructed Bob to remove "Deputy, Broward County Property Appraiser" from his "calfloridia" Twitter profile. "Calfloridia" is Bob's personal Twitter account, and his use of his job-related title could certainly mislead people into mistakenly believing Bob was speaking for the office.
2. We have no problem with Bob expressing his personal beliefs on his own time and using his own personal social media accounts on his personal Blackberry. Bob is a vocal, conservative Republican activist in his free time who often campaigns in support of Republican candidates (candidate, I would note, who are often opposing Democrats whom Lori has endorsed in her personal capacity). Bob has every right under the first amendment to post his political views before/after work, or when he takes his daily lunch breaks.
3. Our office has never posted any tweets which contain the Twitter tag #gowest (or encourage a vote for or against any candidate in any race).