FHP Bonuses Come with Unintended Consequences

Governor Rick Scott has proposed tying state worker pay increases to job performance, but if approved, many motorists could find themselves spending more time on the side of the road talking to a State Trooper.

State troopers issued more than 800,000 tickets last year. Governor Rick Scott wants to offer $2,500 and $5,000 bonuses to all state workers. That includes troopers, game commission officers, and some FDLE agents.

The agency negotiating for the state has told the union it wants troopers to have three contacts an hour for the $2,500 bonus, four contacts for the full $5,000. Negotiators turned it down.

"You are, especially when you tie a bonus to it, that you are getting into the realm of quotas and paying a bonus for these types of quotas," Matt Puckett of the Florida Police Benevolent Association said.

Four trooper contacts an hour would more than double the number of tickets that were written over last year. State lawmaker Rep. Charles Van Zant of Keystone Heights, briefed on the impasse say negotiators have gone too far.

"I do not support a quota system nor would I support a quota system," Van Zant said. "I think that's wrong. That's wrong. Patrolling, that's wrong. Public safety."

Another member of the impasse committee, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Ft. Walton Beach, is actively trying to stop the would be quotas.

"You're gonna have highway patrolmen pulling people over for going six miles per hour over the speed limit," Gaetz said, "if we lash their pay to how many speeding tickets they write."

Both the Highway Patrol and the Department of Management Services which is doing the actual negotiation, declined to appear on camera. The Highway Patrol said in an email that they have no policy on quotas.

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