FHP troopers to begin working off quotas?


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Rick Scott has proposed tying state worker pay increases to job performance, but if approved, many motorists could find themselves more likely to be stopped by the Florida Highway Patrol.

If the proposed system were to go through it would mark the first time that the state has publicly embraced a ticket quota, encouraging troopers to write a lot more tickets if they want bonuses.

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

"I believe in variable pay," Scott said in January 2013.

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

"You are getting into the realm of quotas and paying a bonus for these types of quotas," said Matt Puckett, with the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

Four trooper contacts an hour would more than double the number of tickets that were written last year. State lawmakers briefed on the impasse said negotiators have gone too far.

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

Another member of the impasse committee is actively trying to stop the would-be quotas.

"You're going to have highway patrolmen pulling people over for going 6 miles per hour over the speed limit if we slash their pay to how many speeding tickets they write," said Rep. Matt Gaetz.

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.

The state has told the union it will be sending a new offer in the near future.