Is Harris County Sheriff, Adrian Garcia, Sending The Director Of Public Affairs To Bully His GOP Opponent, Carl Pittman?

March 3, 2011 8:31 am 10 comments

Creative Commons - by Euthman

The 2008 general election brought a host of interesting personalities into office by clinging on tight to the coattails of President Obama. One of the more interesting personalities is Harris County’s Democrat Sheriff Adrian Garcia. I’d like to discuss the politics behind the politics. It’s against the law for a county employee to engage in electioneering or campaign tactics during county time. In other words, Harris County doesn’t pay its employees, elected or otherwise, to campaign on the taxpayers’ dime – and that’s the way it should be. However, Adrian Garcia seems to believe his employees should promote his reelection bid by intimidating opponents while at work. This move shows Garcia’s fear for the upcoming 2012 election and the chances of the far left to keep their few inroads in Harris County government.

Many of you may have met Carl Pittman. Pittman is a Harris County Sheriff Deputy working in the Criminal Investigations Bureau as a burglary and theft investigator. Pittman is an announced Republican candidate for Harris County Sheriff and seen by many as the early front runner in this important race. Like any other of the 4,000 plus employees at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Pittman knows he cannot discuss his campaign during work hours. But that didn’t stop Alan Bernstein from attempting to intimidate Pittman Tuesday afternoon.

Alan Bernstein is an ex-Houston Chronicle reporter. He now serves as Director of Public Affairs for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Bernstein has been known to act as Garcia’s spokesman on a number of occasions, including in Commissioners’ Court. On the afternoon of Tuesday, March 1, 2011, around 1:25 in the afternoon, Pittman was with a coworker who was having his patrol car washed at a facility owned and operated by the Sheriff’s office. However this was not just a routine chore.

Bernstein, a superior ranking official at the Sheriff’s Office, confronted Pittman stating “My salary package information that you are quoting at your campaign events is incorrect. This information is public record and you should get it right.”

Bernstein is referring to a quote Pittman made regarding the cost of several employees, not just Bernstein.

This kind of conversation is highly inappropriate during working hours. Again, it is illegal to discuss electioneering while on the taxpayer’s clock. Pittman pointed out that he cannot ethically or legally have this discussion, and that it should wait until after his shift has been completed. Bernstein replied “we don’t have to have a conversation, you just need to listen.” He continued his attempts to intimidate Pittman, implying there has been wrong doing.

Pittman plans to file a formal complaint with the Sheriff’s office in the near future regarding Bernstein’s actions. It’s unethical to discuss politics during working hours and wrong to intimidate a fellow employee.

Bernstein’s actions are a proxy of Garcia’s fear of the 2012 election. If Garcia feels he is the frontrunner going into the election, he would not feel the need to intimidate potential opponents. A key benchmark in politics is always your opponent’s desperation. When a political figure begins bullying opponents, it’s a clear sign that he or she is trying to play catch up. You don’t run scared when you’re winning.

Garcia’s desire to bully his employees lacks class and professional management style. To the contrary, it reveals the Sheriff of America’s third largest county to not have the ability to distinguish between the job he was elected to perform and entrenching himself in political turpitude.

Garcia and Bernstein’s actions lend an inside look into the political atmosphere of Harris County. Many Republicans were able to win countywide in 2008 despite the Obama wave. Moreover, many Republican voters lacked the motivation to turn up at the polls. A weak national ticket caused many to stay home. However, growing dissatisfaction with the White House and the promise of a more electable GOP presidential hopeful should be the stimuli to get Republican voters to turn up in 2012, similar to 2010. With the novelty of Obama fading and an even bleaker economic and foreign affairs picture, and growing rancor among political dialogue inside the Beltway from the left, many Democrats will stay home. This is bad news for Garcia, and he knows it. If he can’t win on the issues, he feels, he might as well try to push people around.

Additionally, Garcia and Bernstein’s actions reveals the cronyism and betrayal of the public’s trust in HCSO’s highest circles. Garcia has been known to jump the chain of command, an oddity in professional protocol in addition to using taxpayer money and resources to perform favors to friends. In a similar nod to questionable behavior, Garcia has again used public resources to strong arm for private causes.

Alan Bernstein’s bullying and violation of protocol and the law should not be tolerated. Garcia won partly due to scandal under his predecessor. It looks like history is repeating itself all over again. We will continue to follow Pittman’s story and report on new developments from the Harris County Sheriff’s office.

10 Comments

  • To all that do not know Mr.Garcia (I refuse to call him Sheriff) this is just normal behavior.
    He came to office on promises, promises that he did not keep. After election he set up his kingdom and has excluded those that are not of his kin or kindred.
    He needs to be replaced for the benefit of Harris County and the employees of the Harris County Sheriff Office.
    To see his many abuses, check who and how he hired his “inner circle.” He is not fair and does not have the interest of the employees that he is in charge of at heart. He has an EGO bigger than Texas. He is not a person who entertains any thoughts or ideas, other than the ones he proposes. He runs the Sheriff Office like a third world despot.

    I left the Sheriff Office after working for three other Sheriff’s. I could not stand the unfair working conditions that Mr.Garcia has put into place. There are many others that have left the employ because of this person. Many of these employees did not want to leave, but felt that they had to for their own safety from this manical dictator.

    • Interesting comments from someone who lost his position as a detective and had to “retire” when he was afraid he was going to be fired for his inappropriate actions while working for HCSO. Really, Neil, face it. You were a dirty cop who was afraid to take a lie detector test about what you had done. At least you’re off the force…..still living off what your daughter can scam from the Jewish community?

      Get off your high horse….at least the department got the active case records back that you hid off site when you left in disgrace…..a sad little man when you don’t have the power of the badge….

  • Robert Goerlitz

    There will be an investigation but it is the fox guarding the hen house. This has become the norm in this adminsitration. Another term will bring more desertions of those under him. Promises made but never kept to all levels of the department abound throughout.

  • Harris County Deputy

    Harris County Adrian Garcia Is The Worst Sheriff We Have Ever Had in Harris County. So please Do NOT Vote For Him Again. As A Deputy of Harris County And A Voter I Will Not Be Voting For Adrian Garcia.

  • Tony Alvarenga

    I know that I will not vote for Adrian Garcia. He seems to want to be a politician rather than a Sheriff. With crime at an all time high in Harris County, we need someone to do something about the crime wave. Adrian Garcia has failed in that promise.

  • Harris County Sgt.

    I had been with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for over 30 years and loved every minute of it until Adrian Garcia was elected. I also refused to call him Sheriff. The moral is at it’s lowest point. Adrian Garcia, well, it’s kind of like working for Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee who has no control over “himself” and only cares about himself. This individual aka “SJL” has an ego problem and does not have a clue about Law Enforcement. I have talked with numerous HPD Officers who always laugh first and then tell us that Adrian Garcia “who is retired with HPD” was never a real Police Officer and never made any cases and had very little if any arrests.
    He has let his appointed staff run all over the hard working Deputies that had made this place their career. His front office is so top heavy which has taken the patrol Deputies and Investigators off the streets.
    Some of his appointed staff members has been asked to resign due to wrong doing in this office.

    There are many hard working dedicated Deputies leaving every day due to Adrian Garcia and his staff. This place is a nightmare.

    DON’T VOTE FOR ADRAIN GARCIA

  • What scandal did the previous sheriff have besides what channel 13 and the chronicle invented? There was never a criminal complaint filed or investigation undertaken by any law enforcement agency, federal, state, county or city. The USDOJ interest in Harris County Jail deaths disappeared as soon as Garcia was elected, despite an equal number of jail deaths continuing.

  • Having been with the Sheriff’s Office for over 20 years, I will not be voting for Adrian Garcia. He is actually a good political figure, very personable when working a room, but that’s about it. He does not have the training or experience to manage a large law enforcement agency, which you can see by reviewing his sometimes poorly thought-out proposals submitted to Commissioner’s Court over the last three years. He really does not need to have great training or background to be a good Sheriff as long as he has competent staff to do his work, but he appointed largely unqualified people to some top positions. I am holding on, waiting for a new Sheriff. If Adrian is reelected, I will leave the agency.

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