Geller vs. Gunzburger: A New Issue

sue gunzburger

Sue Gunzburger


South Broward voters need to remember this post next year when Sue Gunzburger is running for re-election:

She is behind the biggest proposed expansion of county government in two decades.

Is she giving former State Sen. Steve Geller, who is running against her, an issue?


Gunzburger suggested that county bureaucrats may be able to  operate the jail system better than Sheriff Al Lamberti.

I don’t believe it. This is a commission that can’t do the jobs they already have, as I pointed out here in another post about the fight with sheriff.

The jails would put an additional 1,700 employees and $233 million under the commissioners’ thumbs.

Gunzburger pushed through a “study” of whether it would save money if the county took over the jails from Lamberti.  I wonder how much of the taxpayers’ money this “study will cost?

Guess what? 

I predict the “study” will say just what the county commissioners want it to say. 

And they will use it to threaten Lamberti to cut his budget.or else.

Only Commissioner Kristin Jacobs wisely voted against the “study.”

“I was elected to be a county commissioner. I wasn’t elected to be the sheriff, she is quoted as saying.

 My old pal Scott Wyman, who sat next to me for six years at the Sun-Sentinel, has been on top of this story from the start.   Here and here.

scott wyman

Scott Wyman

I have no idea what Wyman really thinks about this farce.   He doesn’t write opinions.

Here is what I believe: 

This jail take over idea is a shameful displays of raw politics. 

Don’t believe the guff about saving money.  After all,  the county commission doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to economizing.

This deal has two goals:   (1) expand the all-Democratic commission’s power and (2) punish Lamberti, a Republican.

They are mad at Lamberti for not cutting enough out of his budget. 

But law enforcement and detention is more important than running libraries and parks.  Lamberti deserves more of the money because his job is the most vital job government does — public safety. 

These commissioners are jealous of Lamberti.  They are jealous of the media attention he commands. He is known by everybody, while they are largely anonymous.

They don’t like it that Lamberti has his own political base and proved he can get elected without kowtowing to them.   

Before commissioners point their fingers at Lamberti, maybe they should look in the mirror.  Or in the budget books. 

Maybe they can answer these questions?

How come the Broward County government budget increased by one-third since the 2001-2002 budget?  The population went up less than one-fifth and is actually decreasing now.

This jail takeover idea stinks.  It will complicate coordination between the jails and the officers on the street.

 I am very suspicious this is the first step towards privatizing the jails.  Lobbyists have been buzzing around the Government Center, peddling the privatization idea.  They even have support from at least one union leader.

Gunzburger is against privatization. But now that she has started the train, she may not be able to stop it at the station she wants.

In the end, commissioners may just get what they wish for.   

Now if there are problems in the jail, its Lamberti’s fault.

If they take over the jails, every time there is an escape, it will be their problem. Every time there is a death in the jail, their problem.  Every time there are union negotiations with the detention deputies, it is their problem.

Steve, are you taking notes?

steve geller

Steve Geller

I can see the Geller ad now: “Gunzburger was behind the biggest expansion of government in the midst of a recession” or “Gunzburger tied the hands of our cops and put all our lives in jeopardy.”  

You may not realize it from this post, but I like Sue Gunzburger.

She is active in her synagogue. She active with social service charities.  She has a heart, instead of the cold steel that’s in the chest of some other commissioners.

No, I don’t think Gunzburger is evil.

She is just wrong on this one.

17 Responses to “Geller vs. Gunzburger: A New Issue”

  1. Prophets and Profits says:

    The problem in Broward is we have too many “prophets” and too little “profits.” We’re in a deep recession, wrapped around a real estate bust, stuck between a tax revolt. We have unions deals exposed to the fullness of excess that they represent. We have people losing their jobs and homes, and costs across the board are rising. When given a choice on the ballot, 70% of Broward residents voted to pay less in taxes.

    About 80% of city and county government’s cost is tied up in personnel, salaries and benefits. You can’t get your arms around a budget situation like that without staff cuts. This is no time for the weak hearted. Not unless we want to raise taxes.

    So which will it be Broward?

    Do you want to reduce your taxes?That means you get fewer services plus fewer civil servants performing the remaining ones. Otherwise you will pay more, much more. Choose. You cannot have both. The math won’t allow it.

    Do you want your government to be a “prophet” and talk about the budget problems, which will cost you more, or do you want them to get busy creating “profit” for the residents by reducing taxes?

    Choose already. Enough of this BS.

  2. Martha says:

    Has anyone payed attention to all the awards and certifications the Broward County Jail has? Its one of the highest rated jails in the country with a triple crown award from the National Sheriffs Assoc. How does the county think they can do better. This whole thing is out of control.

  3. The Old Ghost says:

    Sen. Geller doesn’t have to run against Sue Gunzburger based on this ridiculous proposal she made. He can run against the poor record of the county commission you outlined in the link. She was part of their inaction since 1992.

  4. Sue and Geller says:

    Buddy, you’re nuts on this one. Sue Gunzburger is going to whip Geller in a landslide, he’s finished, she’s going to slap him down like a red headed stepchild and everybody out here knows it. It’s not even going to be close. Ask people. No way they’d trade Sue for that crooked POS. He’s done.

    And the fact is we never liked Geller to begin with. Ask any resident out here. He’s an unhelpful, self absorbed, two faced, pompous, sleazy, creepy policial hack. Topping it all off is this news about him and Mutual Benefits. That removes all doubt about this guy. Frankly, he’d have to tie a pork chop around his neck just to get a dog to like him.

    So say what you want but Sue’s right to take BSO on. It needs to be done. It’s the right thing to do. And Sue has more backbone in her pinky than Geller has in his entire body. And that’s saying something…

  5. Sue Gunzburger says:


    My study is intended to be just that: a legitimate study to determine the upside and downside of the idea. Orange County, Florida, for example, directly operates the county jail system there (with a professional corrections administrator overseeing the daily operations of the jails) — and it seems to be working just fine. Miami-Dade County likewise operates their own jail system. It shows the concept can and does work — and can be done without privatization (note: I’ll vote against any plan to “privatize” the jails).

    I appreciate your thoughtful comments and would also welcome comments directly from taxpayers throughout Broward County. Please write me at and let me know what you think of the idea. If you like it, let me know why. If you oppose it, please give me your alternative suggestions for demanding fiscal responsibility with the Sheriff’s budget so that County funding for jail operations will not unfairly subsidize BSO’s contract policing in cities (which is an unfair, extra “double tax” for law enforcement to all of us who live in cities like Hollywood, Pembroke Pines and Hallandale Beach who have their own police forces and pay their own way).

    You may not always agree with me, but I always respect your views and welcome your suggestions … and even productive criticisms.

    Warmest regards,
    Sue Gunzburger
    Broward County Commissioner – District 6

  6. Hollywood Resident says:

    Sue makes a lot of sense. Let’s study it and see what comes up.

  7. Sorry Sue says:

    Miami-Dade has an apppointed public service director and voters have accountability through an elected mayor. Broward has neither and the county commission never had the balls to approve such a change.

  8. Sorry Sue says:

    Orange County also has a mayor.

  9. Pines Taxpaer says:

    If I understand “Sorry Sue” correctly, we shouldn’t look into whether or not this idea could save us tax dollars …….. just because we don’t have an independently elected mayor? Maybe I’m slow, but I don’t get the connection. Less spending is less spending, no matter who gets the credit for it.

  10. Albert Reese says:


    Why don’t you ask Geller what his position is on this. He is probably a lobbyist for someone vying for a piece of the action if the county takes over.

  11. TAMARAC DEM says:

    Gunzburger must have a short or failing memory. Isn’t it the Miami jail where so many people escape from and then they have to spend more money to catch them all over again often after they do another crime or two. Good idea Sue. Spend our tax money to study how we CAN’T AFORD to let the commission run the jails.

  12. BECON of Truth says:

    I just googled it. They had only 2 jail escapes in Miami in the ten years:,2933,181215,00.html

    Have any escaped from the Broward jail or stockade in the past few years? I have no idea. Do you?


    Regardless of how many escapes there have been, the commission in Miami-Dade has done a horrible job of running the jail system.

    The Dade system has had continued problems because the commission refuses to allot enough money to run it properly.

    Don’t believe me? Here is part of a Miami Herald article about the jail system:

    JAILS DIRECTOR TO STEP DOWNMiami Herald, The (FL) – Wednesday, April 5, 2006

    After two years as director of Miami-Dade’s jail system, Charles J. McRay announced his retirement Tuesday, leaving behind a department struggling to reverse what critics call decades of neglect from county leaders.

    McRay, 51, stressed he was not forced out by county leaders.

    “It’s a personal decision. It was something we felt was in the best interest of our family,” McRay told The Miami Herald.

    McRay joined the department on Oct. 4, 1976. His last day will be July 1.

    His announcement comes four months after the escape of accused serial rapist Reynaldo E. Rapalo from a county facility sparked a comprehensive review of the nation’s sixth-largest jail system.

    The Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department daily houses about 7,000 inmates in six facilities and one community corrections center.

    Rapalo escaped from the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center using a rope made of bed sheets, later shedding his uniform for street clothes. He was captured six days later.

    There is no question that problems plaguing the department long preceded McRay’s tenure.


    Still, critics viewed McRay as part of a problem group of high-ranking officers overseeing a department plagued by low morale, poor training, lax internal oversight, racial tension in the ranks, underfunding, understaffing and a growing inmate population.

    Many of those critiques were found in reviews of the department over the years.

    Back in 1997, a county task force found that staffing was inadequate and more facilities and inmate bed space was needed.

    A police and fire task force formed in December after Rapalo’s escape found that jail buildings were severly outdated, officer training was poor and security was lax. It also found the department had 134 positions unfilled. Its final report is pending.

    Peter Newman, a corrections sergeant attached to the Police Benevolent Association, said McRay’s departure will not solve the department’s problems.

    “It’s a department that is starved for resources. Whoever they put in his place, if they don’t give him the resources to do the job properly, they will also fail,” Newman said.

    County Manager George Burgess said Tuesday he has not decided whether he will look locally or nationally for a replacement. “I want to evaluate all the options,” he said.


    For months, it has been rumored that several top Miami-Dade police administrators have been asked to take over for McRay.

    Cory Barney, the outspoken president of the Organization of Minority Corrections Employees, said current brass should not be considered because many have long been part of a broken system.

    “We support a qualified outsider,” he said.

    The Rapalo escape helped highlight to county leaders and the public long-evident internal corrections problems, notably funding issues, McRay said Tuesday. The department has a $241 million budget and employs more than 2,400 people.

  13. South Broward Democrat says:

    Geller and Gunzburger are both old hat. We need new ideas from someone like Joy Coooper or Ken Gottlieb.

  14. Joy and Ken says:

    Ken will not run for the county and Joy is not talented enough.

  15. Joy and Ken says:

    Ken won’t for the county and Joy is not talented enough to serve at that level.

  16. broward democrat says:

    Ken Gottlieb is not the answer. Trust me. He has always been ineffective. Tell me what he has done if you disagree. No one outside of Pemb Pines Century Village and Hollywood ever heard of the guy. Small fish.

  17. Everybody Knows says:

    Sue Gunzburger could beat Steve Geller with one hand tied behind her back.

    Steve Geller is a pompous, sleazy, self-serving, public trough feeding, disgusting pig of a man.

    Hopefully he will get caught up with his pal Russ Klenet and go to jail.

    This guy is an un-indicted co-conspirator on many fronts. He is just slippery enough to not get caught.

    Look at his net worth back in the day when he first ran and look at it now. Think he’s been saving his money or stealing it?