City memo shows Gainesville police concerned about leadership, climate and pay

Employees at the Gainesville Police Department say they have staffing, safety, pay and leadership concerns, among others, according to a memo submitted to Chief Lonnie Scott by City Manager Cynthia Curry.

Curry submitted the memo Oct. 3 after meeting with GPD staff and noting the feedback and themes discussed, the memo said. The conversations are a part of citywide listening sessions Curry is conducting to hear from city employees about their jobs and departments.

She said some feel as if "the department is crumbling around them."

“I am appreciative of the employees that were willing to share this valuable feedback with me,” Curry wrote in the memo. “It is important that we take these concerns seriously and work together to explore the concerns further and address them appropriately.”

The memo includes just three bullet points of positive feedback: The outside hire of Assistant Chief Nelson Moya, an appreciation for training provided to officers and a sense of pride.  But following the short list of positives is almost three pages of concerns.

GPD chief Lonnie Scott speaks during the November monthly meeting of the Black on Black Crime Task Force.
GPD chief Lonnie Scott speaks during the November monthly meeting of the Black on Black Crime Task Force.

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Much of the memo focuses on issues related to GPD’s leadership. Employees said they feel there is bad communication by leadership, a lack of respect for civilians by sworn officers, no strategic direction for GPD and a lack of opportunities. Curry wrote that there is also a lack of confidence in leadership and some feel some of the decision making in the department is emotional, rather than fact based.

“Frustration is high because the focus is on looking good, but not being good,” the memo reads.

Curry notes that there were multiple references to directives being falsely attributed to the city manager’s office or the City Commission. Employees also reported feeling that human resources lack confidentiality and consistent treatment.

Operations and pay

Other employee concerns relate to compensation and benefits.

Employees reported feeling overworked and underpaid compared to their counterparts at the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, leading to retention issues.

“[ACSO] pays more, has less cases,” the memo reads. “GPD employees feel they can’t catch up.”

Employees also complained about health insurance costing too much.


The memo touches multiple times on a lack of support felt by GPD employees. It says they feel there is nepotism and favoritism at play, a lack of delegation and trust in captains, a lack of respect and appreciation for long-time employees and issues with equity.

Curry wrote that people feel too afraid to complain and people are leaving due to mistreatment.

Addressing concerns

“I realize that there are various perspectives when dealing with issues, but in the end, we deal with facts as well as anecdotal viewpoints that create perspective, and become woven into reality,” Curry wrote. “We have to work [at] this from both perspectives.”

Curry directed Scott to work with the Department of Human Resources to develop a short, medium and long-term plan for addressing the issues shared with her. She requested this plan be delivered to her office by Oct. 13.

“I am open for further discussion to assist in improving the work environment/culture at GPD,” she wrote. “At some point, following the development of the improvement plan, I would like to meet with you and the GPD leadership team for further discussion.”

This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Memo shows GPD employees concerned about leadership, climate and pay