El Jefe

Scott Israel's Lousy Start: Stop the Fire Department Purge

New Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel whacked Fire Chief and Executive Director Neil de Jesus and two other top fire guys, Division Chief Robert Arrighetti, and Division Chief John Holgerson, who was in charge of fire and rescue training.


Nothing against new chief and Margate vet Anthony Stravino, but this massive a change at the department -- where Israel has little experience -- stinks. It smells of poor leadership -- an ugly portent for the years ahead.

It means too much for the new guy to handle. Bitterness is expected -- particularly in a massive upset like the one that occurred in the Sheriff's Department, but whacking so many at the top is likely to mean real concrete problems for taxpayers and citizens for months to come while the new guys get used to their jobs. In the case of a poorly run fire department, this can mean real death and destruction.

Listen up, Commissioner Tim Ryan John Rodstrom. Broward commissioners should step in. Obviously, the sheriff runs his own department, but commissioners can and should -- behind the scenes or publicly --  chastize Israel for trying to move too far too fast.

Clean up the Sheriff's Department. People have rightly claimed for months that it is a mess of corruption and deep problems. But finish that job and start another, please.

This is no way to start a new era at BSO.

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse