Broward Sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Calderin is among the 28 sheriff's employees who got an email this week saying their services will no longer be needed.
“It basically stated that Sheriff-Elect Israel had made a decision not to retain me as part of the agency and, if I were still an employee on Jan. 8, that there would be paperwork forthcoming for my termination,” said Calderin, who oversees Broward Crime Stoppers.
Sheriff-Elect Scott Israel is sticking to his promise to replace many of the command staff at the agency with people close to him. To make room, he is letting go of long-time employees, such as Capt. James Fondo.
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Fondo says he is proud to leave the agency with a clean record and letters of commendation.
“I’m proud that I've helped people,” he said. “I'm proud that they were able to get some benefit from something that I did. As far as going 30 years in this job without getting in trouble once, it's a very difficult feat to do.”
Neither had a bad thing to say about the decision to let them go. They said that’s what happens after an election.
Calderin said he would have preferred to have received a phone call instead of an email. But he said he is grateful for the heads up.
“I am grateful for having received a notice before Jan. 8, because I wouldn't want to be sitting at the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 8, or at my office on Jan. 8, and told, ‘Thank you for your service but we don't need you anymore.’”
As for Capt. Fondo, he chose to retire like long-time spokesperson Jim Leljedal did recently. Both were at the Sheriff’s Office for 30 years and Capt. Fondo will even go down in television history.
“Back in 1989, when they first approached Sheriff Navarro, they came to Broward County to film ‘COPS,’” he recalled. “I really didn't know what it was about but I was one of the first people chosen to participate in the show.”
Here are the names of the employees who were told they’re no longer needed under Sheriff-Elect Israel’s administration:
Maj. Randy Smith, Director Kristina Gullick, Capt. Walter Laun, Capt. Louis Fontanazza, Capt. Mary Kopp, Director Teddy Meisel, Director Debra Lesniak and Manager Bridget Walsh
Chief Neal DeJesus
Liaison Alan Berkowitz, Grants Dir. Michael Somberg, Liaison Danielle DiNicola, Dir. Donna Council, Lt. Col. Louis Cavallo, Chief Peter Sudler, Chief Marc Dugay, Capt. James Fondo, Cmdr. William Robshaw, Capt. Milton Wiener, Col. Timothy Gillette, Lt. Col. Richard Reilly, Cmdr. Brian Jerome, Maj. Larry Rogers, EEO Dir Verenda Daniels, Liaison Dean Williams, Communications Mgr. Kim Rubio, Site Mgr. Anne Bukata and Cmdr. Michael Calderin