David Hebert: From
P.R. to P.D.
11 short months — thanks to Gretsas
"There's a lot of inexperienced staff
that was brought on board," complained Commissioner Bruce
Roberts in his Get Rid of Gretsas speech Nov. 17, 2009.
He specifically cited, although not by name, David Hebert, "the
Assistant City Manager in charge of public safety."
What police-related qualifications did Hebert
have before being placed in charge of the Police Department?
None that I can see.
He got a degree in education and a degree
in law, ran a political campaign and became a PR flack for
his winning candidate. He quit that job after 10 years, got
hired as a PR flack for Gretsas five months later and — BAM!
ZOOM! — 11
months after that he's appointed the Police Chief's Executive
— apparently his first police job. That appointment wasn't
made by then Police Chief Roberts — it was made by Gretsas.
That new job must have given Hebert
some really good on-the-job training, because five months
later he was made Assistant City Manager for Public Safety.
Now he's in charge of nearly 500 police officers and hundreds
of Police Department employees — not to mention the
whole Fire Department and more. What's wrong with that picture?
Clearly Gretsas was more interested in exerting
tight control over the Police Department than in running a top-notch,
professional police force. He wanted a boot on the Police Department's
neck, and David Hebert is it.
Hebert is known for his loyalty
to his bosses. The Westchester CitizeNetReporter called Hebert
one of the most loyal "operatives" for his former boss,
Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro. And the District
Attorney herself called Hebert's loyalty "without equal."
Hebert, right, runs
the June 2009 Harbordale/Poinciana Park Crime Committee
meeting in City Hall. He's watching as Major Raul
Diaz, left, delivers a report and Poinciana Park President
Ray Dettmann listens.
"Micromanagement and intimidation are the order
of the day," departing Chief Roberts wrote in his 2008 resignation
suffocating atmosphere demanding a personal allegiance [to
Gretsas] preoccupies decisions, which will have harmful consequences
for public safety, and police officers' careers will be destroyed."
The old City Commission took a "See No
Evil" position on Roberts' letter.
As the Sun-Sentinel's Michael Mayo put it:
"At the very least,
the commission should try to get to the bottom of Roberts'
assertions. After all, this wasn't some anonymous flame on an
Internet message board. This was a signed letter from a 35-year
public servant, a chief known for professionalism and integrity.
Instead of investigating further, commissioners seem content
to drink the Gretsas Kool-Aid. ... They don't even want to bother
sorting out the facts."
Just the kind of leadership we don't
The new City Commission has voted not to renew
Gretsas' contract. If Mayor Jack Seiler stands firm,
the Dark Days of Gretsas will come to an end — and not a minute
– Cal Deal
David Hebert, Gretsas' Mouthpiece
George Gretsas: DEAD LAST on leadership test.
1992: David Herbert is a law
student at Pace University
Law School. He's on the board of the Law Review. (He reportedly has a
master's degree in education from Texas A&M, too.)
1993: Hebert runs
the campaign of Jeanine Pirro, who is elected District
Attorney of Westchester County, NY, according to The New York Times. (It
is not known whether "lawyer" Hebert ever had an actual law office. If
he did, it's not mentioned anywhere.)
1994 to 2004: Hebert works as Pirro's
public information spokesman, according to The New York Times (technically
he was an "Executive Assistant D.A."). Hebert is described as "one
of ... Pirro's most trusted, loyal and efficient operatives" by
The White Plains CitizeNetReporter. One of Hebert's critics is attorney
Jonathan Lovett, who says in May 2004, "I do exactly what people
like Hebert and Pirro detest: I speak my mind. They wrap themselves in
the flag and denounce me."
April 2004: Hebert resigns abruptly "'for personal reasons, much
to the shock of the District Attorney," and says he is moving to
Florida. "Hebert ... was paid more than the District Attorney herself." [White
Plains CitizeNetReporter. Click
to read story.]
May 18, 2004: The Fort Lauderdale City
Commission hires Gretsas — who scores DEAD LAST on
leadership skills among the finalists. The top scorer got 90%;
Gretsas got 33%. [Click here to read more on
August 2, 2004: Gretsas begins work as
Fort Lauderdale City Manager.
September 28, 2004: Gretsas hires Hebert
to be his Public Information Officer.
August 2005: Gretsas makes city "spokesman"
Hebert the Police Chief's Executive Officer, rejecting
Chief Roberts' choice of Captain Al Ortenzo, who was retiring. Gretsas
gets a ruling from City Attorney Harry Stewart, who says it isn't legal
to rehire a retired employee, even though that had been the practice.
January 18, 2006: Gretsas gets 5-0 City
Commission approval to create an Assistant City Manager
for Public Safety. He names Hebert to the slot — which puts "Spokesman" Hebert
in charge of the Police and Fire Departments and all city emergency management
personnel. [None of the existing Commission members were part of that 5-0
vote. It was Naugle, Trantalis, Teel, Moore and Hutchinson.]
April 29, 2008: Hebert gets a new two-year contract.