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interviewed by Robert Kerstein.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (44 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman administration oral history project
Interview conducted on October 11, 2005 in Tampa, Florida.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
During the tenure of Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman (1986-1995), Tom Gonzalez served as the outside labor counsel for the city of Tampa. Mr. Gonzalez discusses the city's union structure, Tampa's union history, collective bargaining, and labor negotiations. There is also a discussion of waste management and the Public Employees Relations Commission. The interview ends with a discussion of Mayor Freedman's support of civil rights, positive race relations, and affirmative action.
Office of the Mayor.
Amalgamated Transit Union.
x Race relations.
Kerstein, Robert J.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
y USF ONLINE ACCESS
C O P Y R I G H T N O T I C E T h i s O r a l H i s t o r y i s c o p y r i g h t e d b y t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a L i b r a r i e s O r a l H i s t o r y P r o g r a m o n b e h a l f o f t h e B o a r d o f T r u s t e e s o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a C o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 7 U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d T h i s o r a l h i s t o r y m a y b e u s e d f o r r e s e a r c h i n s t r u c t i o n a n d p r i v a t e s t u d y u n d e r t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e F a i r U s e F a i r U s e i s a p r o v i s i o n o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s C o p y r i g h t L a w ( U n i t e d S t a t e s C o d e T i t l e 1 7 s e c t i o n 1 0 7 ) w h i c h a l l o w s l i m i t e d u s e o f c o p y r i g h t e d m a t e r i a l s u n d e r c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s F a i r U s e l i m i t s t h e a m o u n t o f m a t e r i a l t h a t m a y b e u s e d F o r a l l o t h e r p e r m i s s i o n s a n d r e q u e s t s c o n t a c t t h e U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H F L O R I D A L I B R A R I E S O R A L H I S T O R Y P R O G R A M a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a 4 2 0 2 E F o w l e r A v e n u e L I B 1 2 2 T a m p a F L 3 3 6 2 0
1 Sandy Freedman Oral History Project University of South Florida Interview with: Tom Gonzalez Interviewed by: Robert Kerstein Location: 501 E. Kennedy Blvd. (Tampa, FL) Date: October 11, 2005 Transcribed by: Rebecca Willman Edited by: Robert Kerstein (09/06) Rebecca Willman (09/11/06) Audit Edit by: Nicole Cox (09/26/07) Final Edit by: Nicole Cox (10/03/07) [Tape 1, Side A] RK: This is an interview with Mr. Tom Gonzalez, 501 East Kennedy Boulevard. Thanks a lot for speaking with me, sir. TG: Sure. RK: Can I ask a little about your background? Are you from Tampa? TG: I am. I graduated from Plant High School in 1968, having grown up in Hyde Park, which is basically where my daddy grew up, which is just a couple of miles fro m where RK: And where did you go to school? TG: I went to Tulane undergraduate, and then came back to Florida State for law school. RK: And when did you start working for government? Or as l egal counsel for government? TG: Probably in 1975, which is the year that I got out of law school. And I started doing some labor relations work, and other work for the Hillsborough County School Board. And then not too long after that I went with a firm that did some work for the City of Tampa, and started doing work there, and have basically been doing that kind of work ever since. RK: And what was your position during the Freedman administration? TG: Really no official position for most of the time. I was the outside labor counsel for toward the end of her administration, when she suffered the loss of Pam Aiken, who was her City Attorney, who, who because Mayor Freedman
2 looking around for new opportunities, and she took a job being the City Attorney in Clearwater, where she still is. And the mayor needed a City Attorney, because you have to have one by Charter. And so I, I was sort of the fill in City Attorney for about nine months at the end of the Freedman administration. RK: Can you tell me what was involved as far as being labor counsel for the administration? TG: Basically advising the city in terms of collective bargaining and pe rsonnel matters, labor relations and defending the city in those same areas. RK: To what extent is the city labor force organized into unions? it has three unions, it has the Amalgamated Transit Union, which basically represent s all of the blue collar, white collar workers of the city. It has the Police Benevolent Association which represents the police officers. And it has the International Association of Firefighters which represents the firefighters. RK: Is that typical in Florida for municipal workers to be organized? as a statewide law. Before that, several jurisdicti on had their own kind of setups, and I think Hillsborough County in general, and the City of Tampa in particular have older histories of collective bargaining than some of the other places in Florida. n going back to cigars, or is that incidental? my family grew up in cigar factories, so my impression of these cigar unions were they were very weak and sort of ineffectual. So I that really the in terms of the people that first did some of things meaningful with organization, I think in the City of Tampa was the, were history that goes back. Th e Longshoremen were organized forever around the Port, and there were some kinds of things like that. And there were some construction companies, dealing with the publ ic sector unions a little bit more than other places did. RK: So your negotiations, sir, were independent with each union? TG: Yep. RK: And should we go one by one, does that make sense? TG: [Sounds in agreement]
3 RK: Can we look at the blue collar union? TG: Yep. RK: That was the what was the name again? TG: Amalgamated Transit Union. RK: OK. How often did you have to negotiate contracts? TG: Usually every three years. The city the labor, I mean the legal talent for the folks that did in house. That was basically done Director of Administration, and Sarah Lang, who was in charge of HR and labor But they were basically the two that did it, and they would always try for three year contracts. RK: OK. Are you aware of some of the issues that would arise? TG: Yeah. RK: What were some of the major ones? TG: You know, through most of the time in, during the Freedman administration, it was about money. And, and one of the things I think that one of the most daunting challenges I thought to the mayor was, the mayor during her t ime on City Council, I think that any anybody in a labor union would tell you that she was fair with them as a City Council member sometimes fairer than they perceived administrations to be. And Mayor Freedman came to office in a time where you know, the c money, and there were difficult decisions to be made. And I think one of the most, one of the most impressive things that Mayor Freedman did during the time that I worked with her was, was basically doing what she thought she had to do in the context of labor relations, and taking a great deal of heat for it. From people that, that I think previously you know, I think they perceived her as being mo re fair than some of the other folks on [the] council. And, and with the ATU it was almost always about money. RK: And she had to keep a lid on increases because the fiscal situation of the city? TG: Yeah. And doubly so, I think with the ATU. The ATU ju but just by way of background, the ATU is an interesting deal. The City of Tampa used to be served by a private bus company. And when the private bus company was unable to Tampa purchased, or took over that operation. And it became city function. The bus drivers had been represented by the
4 Amalgamated Transit Union, which is a transit union, and always has been. And they were a unionized work force, and when they came to the city they wanted to be a unionized workforce again. And the ATU only wanted the bus drivers. Well the law in the smallest number of bargaining units, in other word s, you have to keep to a minimum the number of different entities that a city will have to negotiate with. So they said, well, take everybody. And so the ATU commen ced a campaign of, of representing everybody, which took several years just because nobody knew who the heck the ATU was, and the made it difficult to have relationships w ith the ATU was the fact that they were really out folks and this is just my observation, my observation is, is they were a union essentially made of white people who were dominating transportation at the time. They really it took a long time for all [of] those things to fit together. And they were very, very hard to deal with bec ause they often did not speak with one voice on the thing. think labor relations, you have constituent groups. And constituent groups, time in and time out, are going to be basically more willing to give money to uniform services, meaning police and fire, than they do the people like the ATU who sometimes get left behind. And I think, as a baby boomer, I have seen the deal where, where you started out sort of that World War II generation that were starting to age up. And, and then as time progressed terms of, in terms of a public purse, I think that the man is always going to be higher for the to take care of the ATU. And the ATU, I think the predominant issues with them were always, first of all about organizing, and then beyond that about money. RK: And would money be specifically wages, or would that include pension and so on? TG: Yeah, the whole gamut. It was an interesting deal, because the ATU is in a differ ent pension fund than the police and fire. And the police and fire pension fund is this incredibly old, really individualized, individually styled kind of thing. And so pension I mean in the city pension fund, but not the police and fire, and that was always an issue with them. As was the classification of work and how you, and how you compensated them for the fact that their jobs changed. I mean I might have gone in to be a you know to just t ake an example out of the air I might have gone in to be a sewer tech, which meant in the old days I dug ditches and put stuff in. As you went along, it meant that I worked with
5 computers, you know and TV probes and stuff like that. And there was always a RK: Different skill level? from the main focus. Yo u had [a] city bus system, and then Hartline which was county RK: And when did that begin? Was that during your time as legal counsel? out. But that was the thing after that, was then it went there. RK: And when that was the case, is it true they no longer bargained with the city when it was Hartline? TG: Well, they no longer had the bus drivers, but the ATU still continued to represent remember them being there. And I remembe r the I remember the folks that controlled that union in the first stage were basically the old folks from the city from the Tampa RK: What about situations, sir, such as with the w aste management? I believe during I believe that they had been city workers. Did you deal with them as well? completely farmed out during that time, there was just some. And my recollection was that that began, that began as a reaction to the strike they had. They had a strike down there where they, they you know, were threatening to go on strike and did go on s trike for a little bit minor work stoppage during the Martinez days and they did bring in some outside contractors. As much to, to see if they could do it, as for any other reason. And I think after that they always kept some of them around in terms of wha t they were doing. RK: So their negotiations were between that company and their workers? union company, RK: OK, great. Can we go to the firefighters?
6 TG: [Sounds in agreement] RK: Now that, I get the impression from what you said already sir, was a different type of TG: Yes. TG: Yes. RK: Were the issues similar? TG: They were similar in that they focused more on money. I mean they focused on money. They were I think much more intense and much more, much more acrimonious in terms of basically just being unwilling to, to take any kind of slow down on their increase or their pay. So they were a lot mo re emotional. RK: And is part of it that they had support from the public or at least much of the public? that if you go back to the old days of politics when, an d about the time when the firefighters had between a 300 and 600 member bargaining unit, when you think back to City Council races and those kinds of things, you you have to consider that you got 300 employees, and you take a spouse and a significant other and some kids, and everything, and you get upwards of 1000 pretty fast. Which in those days was certainly enough before you even started doing the work, was enough to help sway elections for City Council and that kind of stuff. And for a long time, the fi refighters had been very, very adept at politics. In fact, one of the things, when the mayor was on the City Council, there was one time when the firefighters got more than the mayor had proposed I think that was Mayor Poe, and he was overridden by the C ity Council, and the Tampa Times I think it was the Tampa Times, at that time wrote an editorial referring to several of the City Council tow because of the political emphasis they ha d on the thing. And one of the things that I think made it emotional was that I think Sandy Freedman completely was able to rise above whatever the perception was in terms of her feeling for organized labor or anything else. And she called it like she had to call it. Which is I think, a hallmark of her administration, was that she did that a lot. I think Sandy Freedman was all about truth and reality. And I think she paid a price for that, but she doggone sure you know, she was not captive to the fact that just because she had tried being fair to the firefighters before she was not above saying,
7 RK: Were there any work stoppages or slow downs? TG: No. No, firefighters have always been too smart for that. Because I you know you can lose your pension and everything else. There was never, never anything close to that. things and that sort of stuff. RK: I might be wrong about this, I vaguely recollect that at the time the Performing Arts TG: Totally. RK: ...certain negotiations, and was there some issue about it not being able to open TG: Yes. were going to, they were going to stop it that way. Yes, they were very, they were very angry and obstreperous ab out that. Which is, which is the sort of stuff that firefighters are very, very good at doing. RK: Did they influence City Council races during the Freedman administration? he mayor had to I think we went to Special Master a couple of times, but usually we did OK on things. Sometimes the City Council went above what the mayor wanted to do, but TG: Special Master is wh en Master sits down, he or she listens to both sides and writes up a recommendation that the City Council then v otes on. TG: Right.
8 RK: OK. Was there one person in charge of the firefighters union during that period? TG: Sam Sinardi ? RK: Sam Sinardi? TG: Sam Sinardi. RK: And he had been negotiated for a long time, is that true? TG: For a long, long time. RK: And he was a firefighter himself? TG: Oh yeah, Captain. Yep. RK: And did as well, did they have legal counsel? TG: firm, down in Miami. Which was Kaplan Sugarman. RK: Why would they go to Miami? TG: Bec ause, because I think that Miami was where the sort of the center of unionized activity, and the big labor law firms were down there. And Kaplan giant. He taught me a great deal about drilling me around several court rooms, but he his own office organized. And he got an unfair labor practice for being mean to the TG: Yeah, yeah, I think, you know Jim Loper I think would be, I know it was Frank Hamilton was in there, and Jim Loper, they were the locals. And I know that Frank Hamilton had that union RK: Did any issues other than, kind of bread and butter issues arise with the firefighters, other than salary and pensions? ters, it was just, it was the standard fare during the Freedman administration.
9 RK: And if one looked at the collective bargain outcomes during the Freedman administration, would they, in terms of wage increases, etcetera, would they have been aligned wi th earlier ones do you think or did they have to? TG: Oh I think they were, I think they were, certainly there was never a pay cut. But I think that, I think that the firefighters would tell you that they got less during that time than they had. I mean, a nd let me tell you something, I mean basically, they came in on the heels Mayor Freedman came in on the heels of, of Mayor Poe and, Mayor Martinez, both of whom were awfully, awfully conservative folks in terms of what they got paid, and were roundly vilif ied by the union. And I think the firefighters, especially, and the police officers especially, they just though that you know, our time has come, you know, And that was I think the big so urce of the disappointment, was Mayor Freedman was like, you know, if I You know it was just a change. One of the things that I always find remarkable is that you know, when, when Mayor Gr eco was mayor the first time, there was an office, a federal office called the Office of Revenue Sharing. Which was an office devoted to no purpose other than the spending of money. Because there was so much. And, and there was, there was no way you can co mpare the atmosphere in terms of running a municipal government during that era and running it during the era when Mayor Freedman was there. Because it was just a, it was just a different deal in terms of you know, the times and the changes and all that ki nd of stuff in terms of what she did. Just a remarkable, remarkable time to try to be a Mayor. And I think that Mayor Freedman had to do a lot. good, so every time, ever y time Mayor Freedman did something that she had to do to be fiscally responsible, I think you had some businessmen, but not all of them although some times it seemed that way but she had several businessmen that said, anti business, or, his or what she had to do. RK: So she was sometimes criticized by business interests in Tampa and sometimes by union interests? TG: Absolutely, oh absolutely. No she got it on all the things. T o the point where I was, you know I was like the only, probably the only person who and even I, even my perception was, is that sometimes you have to wonder whethe r that has to do with the fact how she could, she could be criticized from both sides in terms but again, I think that it was, it was not criticized from both sides be cause she was taking different positions, it was criticized from both sides based on the same issues all the time in terms of what she was doing. So I mean she could settle a union contract and have the business people say she paid too much, while the same time the union was saying we got shafted, you know this is an awful thing was just so magnificent during that time in terms of doing that, in terms of not having
10 universal support from the business people the way that Poe and Martinez had had. And, and not having universal hatred on the union side! I mean so she really, there was no place, there was no place to go. She was trying to take care of both things. r question about the firefighters, and this might be outside your field of expertise. Tampa has a civil service system, a merit system that I think covers pretty much across the board in terms of employment. Does that in reality cover the firefighters as w ell, because firefighters have had a reputation, maybe incorrectly, that is in part family in other words, if your dad was a firefighter, you had an inside track. Was that your perception? TG: Yep. I think so. I think so. You know, there, there are kind of one of my favorite books, I try to read as many esoteric books as possible one of my favorite books is a book by Hackett called Four Pathways in America 1 which basically traces the history of the English people English speaking people coming to, to Am erica, and how important it was that you distinguish between the Scots and the different people in terms of public service in Tampa, because of how things changed. And when I was growing up in sanitation workers went from being almost exclusively black during my childhood to, to being Cuban American, as that kind of influx came in, to turning white and then turning black again. In terms of you could do the bus drivers. The bus drivers were essentially Tampa Latins for, you know in the private bus company, and carried that on until there was sort of a change over as they went, as it became African American. A nd, and firefighters were very much familial in that, it basically started out very, very early with an infusion of, of some of the Tampa Latin community. It really did control it for a long time when you looked at the chiefs and the kind of people that di d the stuff. And so it was just amalgam, I think of, of boys at that time [and] they we re all boys that went there. And it was very much a And, you know, and I was like one of the problems in doing labor relations with firefighters is 24 hours is a very, very long time for adults to not have things to do. You they could have the strategy, because they were there and they were very much, you know, very, very tight in terms of what they do. So it was, the di scipline was always very, very emotional in terms of those arbitrations. It was very, very tough to get, people written up and very, very tough to do the things. So yeah, there was, there was absolutely that in terms of what it is. And they almost always s poke with one voice, I mean they were not If, if the ruling group was saying, dissent in that context. 1 This book could not be located. However, one entitled,
11 RK: And then we had t TG: Which I think, which I think was the biggest the biggest issues came up with the police officers during the Freedman administration. The most important one being the that she took away the take home police cars. Which was just a huge event. I mean that was, that was the apocalypse, and the, and everything that you can think of becoming a as the ultimate treachery by their former friend, Sandy Freedman. RK: Was this early in her administration? TG: Yes it was. Yes it was. And in fact, that was one of the, one of the first things that Mayor Greco did when he came back, was to put them back Mayor Greco was the one that put them in the first place. You know, during his first administration. They carried through the, the Poe and Martinez administration, and Mayor Freedman said, hey, no RK: Why? TG: M oney. Money. I mean there was, you know, the there was a time when they tried to portray the take home program as benefiting the neighborhood because you had a fact that you know, on several occasions, take home police cars had been burglarized in And, an d at the end of the day what it came down to was, it came down to the fact that these were benefits to these folks. It basically, it basically freed you from having to buy a it to your kids, you certainly could use it for the basics of grocery shopping and those kinds of things. And it was just expensive. It was just too expensive to have those cars, and one of the things that particularly bothered Mayor Freedman, I think, you know, trying to get into her, inside her head was the fact that a large number of these, these cars, were terms of any argument as to whether the people would be mo re available and that kind of And she did it, and the Public Employees Relations Commission said that we committed an unfair labor practice initially by doing it. We went to the, we went to the full Public Employees Relations Commission, and they overturned that decision, and upheld Mayor Freedman, and then it was upheld in the courts. And that was, that was all the work of Mayor Freedman and Cindy Sontag in terms of getting that thing done. And it was, like I say, it was a very, very, very, very nasty reaction from the police department.
12 RK: Sir, what is the Public Employees Relations Commission? agency having jurisdiction over public sector labor relations. RK: Do you recall on what basis initially they ruled against the city? prerogative is how many days I have my office open, what my office hours are going to be. A many of those hours you have to work, and those kinds of things. And the may or took the position that control over her cars because they were her cars control over her cars was a managerial decision that she did not have to bargain. And so that was the basis for the action. The procuring officer at first said that that was not the case, that that was a benefit, which gets you back to this theory that, you know, forget all this stuff about have to bargain. And frankly, I think there was some concern on the mayors part, that if go to impasse, which then brings it to the City Council, which may or may not have the political will to back her up on that kind o f stuff. RK: Was there any thought at any point to allowing police officers living in the city to take home the cars, but not the others? wanted to do that and talk about it, but the police officers sort of a nonstarter because willing to let people do it if there was, if there was in the thing, but she, she thought it ought to be [an] across the board policy in terms of doing it. RK: Where does the police chief fit in terms of negotiations? ll. So, so certainly the the finances, on those kinds of the things. And the chief providing input in terms of the terms and conditions that he needs to have. RK: At one point during the Freedman administration, Mr. Bennie Holder was appointed Chief, did this union play any role in that whatsoever? TG: [Laughs]. No, [laughs], you mean in terms of supporting it? RK: Yes.
13 TG: Not that I recall no, they did not. What they but I mean, you have to go because se she did two things that I think were striking. Is that number one three things I guess, in the police department. Number one, she promoted a lot of people, sort of out of order. I mean not out of order in the sense that she had the perfect right to do i t, but out of order in terms of this, this old style lockstep kind of promotion. And she opened it up to a lot of women Bennie Holder, she had brought in Chief Gon zalez from Miami, which was to me, sort of a precursor to, to Chief Holder, and almost as big a change. Because they had never had an outside person come in before. And when Chief Gonzalez came in, there was a great deal of anxiety on the part of the polic e department, because here comes this guy from outside. And it would have been interesting to see how it played out, because I think he was, he was going to bring a lot of change to that department, but then of course he got named, when Clinton got elect ed, he got named as the Chief Marshall to the thing. But the mayor, the mayor was always I think searching for the, for the perfect police chief and she really, really did. She went through Chief McClain, she went through Chief Gonzalez and everything. And she was the one that then made Chief Holder chief, having you know, having brought him up sort of out of order to begin with. He was over there in Internal Affairs, and she brought him up to major, and sort of set the stage for him to do it. But no, tha interested in helping with that I recall. There was a great deal of resistance to it. And a great deal of infighting in terms of the, the deal. Because like everything else in Ta mpa, you have this, you have these proprietary deals, so you have these different groups in non ethnic, I guess to an extent you can call it non ethnic, non minority eth nic and then you have the African Americans. So there was a great deal of back and forth and those kinds of things. I think that the union did not do a particularly good job of representing black officers, at least in the opinion of black officers, in term s of, in terms of if you ask them whether they thought they were getting representation. So everybody was working through the racial issue. And, and I think with respect to the Chief Holder, I think it was a, it was a daring thing for the mayor to do, and a gutsy thing for the Chief to take Chief Holder to take. [End Tape 1, Side A] __ [Tape 1, Side B] RK: I want to ask that question again, we might have missed it on the tape. At some point did the police union support the new chief, Mr. Holder?
14 TG: I d when Mayor Greco, who started running early and was basically you know, designated the presumptive winner very early, you know, certainly before the end of the Freedma n administration. I think that one of the, one of the commonly held articles of faith, if you Holder be replaced. And I think some people were kind of shocked that that di expect talking about overt racism or anything like that, I think just the nature of race relations in this country smaller group of confidants that you have. And therefore, not the patronage, but just the ss the spectrum of these different people. And I think that, I think that Chief Holder had people in all those some people. And he also came from Internal Affairs, w hich is kind of a tough place to come from, because you sort of you know, were not, not very well thought of by some of supporting Chief Holder. RK: You had mentioned TG: [Sounds in agreement] group with African American officers? want it to say like they did a walk out or anything like this other gr oup. I think they were getting representation as cops, you know because I blue repr deference or any kind of awareness in terms of individual issues they might have had. Which came up in the you know, Mayor Freedman, Mayor Freedman was also real big on civil rights, and Mayor Freedman came up with an absolutely zero tolerance slur rule, that if you uttered a slur you were going to be fired. And that was just another thing that the police department thought was awful in terms of what was going on you kno w, and so the union fought that a great deal. And of course the first couple of cases that came out look we fired for one word.
15 And some of the black officers were saying, well you can for that word. You know, you know, with being fired for that word ? So it was a wa RK: Was there a formal affirmative action plan adopted by the Freedman administration that impacted the police officers in terms of hiring, and for that matter, the other employees? TG: Well, not by Mayor Freedman, but let me tell you what Mayor Freedman did. No t by Mayor Freedman the affirmative action plan had come as a result of a consent decree, which I believe went back to Greco one in terms of the administration where there had been a finding that blacks had been systematically excluded from the police depa rtment. And again, not that, no that the than any other police department in the world, you know, including the north ern ones. But yeah, there was systematic exclusion, there was a consent decree and there were numerical goals put in there. And the numerical goals were, were, basically based on the population general population, and then as you went up the ranks, they were based on the population occurring in the population in the rank below. So that you did patrol officers based on the sergeants based on the population of patrol officers lieutenants based on sergeants, and on up the, on up the ladder. And Mayor Freedman kept that going despite the changes and laws that happened in the Supreme Court, despite the challenges and those kinds of stuff. We ultimately lost that case. We ultimat ely lost it during the Freedman administration. And she continued to fight for it, but we lost that in federal court here. Judge Kovakovich ruled that, that you know, since we have a black police chief, and since our numbers were certainly in accord with, with what you would expect, that we action plan? TG: Not really. I, you know, it just any, on quotas or goals for a local government as opposed to a federal government federal governments have a lot more, have a lot more leeway because they have money. So they can say, our money, but if you take our money, you got to have one of these plans. that Mayor Freed man did is she, I think she put in a history and a commitment to the civil
16 But I mean question the imbalance is is the discrimination still, still you know, occurring? And when you ask Chi ef Holder, do people get discriminated against in the City of Tampa Police Department? The answer [from] Chief Holder is, hell no they do not. Which is a great what it is. And we lost some of those cases on the slur case. You know, there were arbitrators who said, saying that word or this word or those words. RK: Did however these p olicies in any way change the culture of the police or the firefighters? TG: Oh I think so, oh, I think so. Absolutely, I I absolutely think they did. You know the firefighters had their problem with gender. Sex was a big problem over there. And I mean, was the introduction of women. And they had a people who live together, sleep together and those kinds of stuff, and party together tend to get lax in their language. And the re was a, there were a great deal of off color things happening there, and there were some people who paid a pretty heavy price for it. And, and that occurred during Mayor I think over some absolutely that slur policy which I thought was the worst idea in the world. I thought that, I think supervisors would say, And I thought that it t work, But I think it did work. I think people I think it made people think in terms of, this could happen to me. To the point where, where I think in the closing days of he r administration, covered, you know, those kinds of things. There were, there were a number of things the city that Latins would refer to themselves as, there were questions abo ut that, whether that would be covered by the thing. And so you had a general awareness that, hey, that Sherriff is very concerned right now about this these message boards, that this legal
17 affairs they say these incredibly racist things, and you know I think the Sherriff is concerned rightfully, kind of mentality of saying, on my side anyway. And so I think that thing is importa nt, and I think, I think clearly having it being that mean and nasty and that hard, you know, it was difficult we fired she fired a black officer for using that word. You know? And of course then, then there mayor said, it. So it was, it was touch and go, but I th ink it had, I think it had a different I think it had an impact on it. I really do. RK: You mentioned the county and that takes us a little way little bit away from our orga nized as the police officers are in the City of Tampa? TG: Just recently. RK: Just recently? but the Supreme Court decided about two or three years ago that they c ould be organized RK: And what about firefighters? RK: And was there a relationship between the collective bargain ing going on for the say, we ought to get more money, and that kind of stuff. But they were based in c ompletely separate Different constituents, different ethnic make up, I mean, just the whole thing, I mean just really, really a profoundly different kind of pool of people in terms of those things. with Mayor Billy Poe, and you continued working with Mayor Greco after Mayor Freedman, and now with Mayor Iorio. How would you place Mayor Freedman in terms of the succession of the administrations?
18 TG: Well I think Mayor Freedman, I think that, that th aware of there have been different kinds of mayors, there have been like growth mayors and, and other up mayors. And I think that Mayor Freedman had the good or bad fortune, depending on how you look at it to be a clean up mayor. I think she had to do a lot extraordinary things in terms of fiscal responsibility, in terms of race relations, when there was a riot you know on her watch that, that took pla ce and there was a lot of things going on that she had to do that did not make her popular that I always thought that she was really courageous in terms of meeting. And, and not having an agenda, and not being one who could be pegged as conservative or lib eral, but just trying to do the things for her city. I mean she was born it was her city too. You know, she lived here her whole life and she felt that a great deal, and I thought she did a great job. And it would get tiresome for me having grown up in thi s city too, to have friends of mine who were in business who And I think the legacy of Mayor Freedman was that she got that place in a fiscally responsible kind of w ay, that I think is, was shown by the things that took off afterwards. She got a lot of things done, she, she made a lot of, lot of progress in terms of reigning in the union cost, in terms of race relations, in terms of any number of things in terms of th nobody likes to want to talk about medicine. You know, they want to talk about the candy bar. And, and she was definitely a medicine type mayor. RK: But, some lasting changes resulting from her administration? TG: Oh absolutely. Oh absolutely. I mean, from you know, starting with the first black police chief and working through any number of things that got done and got changed and, and really are still in effect today. In terms of some of the departments and some of the ways she set things up and, and the tone she set for all these kinds of things. RK: Thank you very much sir. TG : You bet, my pleasure.