It’s no secret that North Miami Police Chief Leonard Burgess doesn’t like Assistant Chief Gary Eugene. His resentment has been building from the moment he was forced to promote Eugene last December, and it’s been killing him ever since.
In the past year, Chief Lenny and his fraternity brothers on the fourth floor have been doing everything in their power to discredit, slight and undermine Gary Eugene. This is a man who is infinitely more qualified to run the North Miami Police Department than Burgess, who somehow managed to finagle his way to the top of the garbage pile. Lenny & Co. has also conspired to keep Gary Eugene out of the loop on everything from police business to crimes committed, in an effort to make him look ignorant.
By now it should be quite obvious that Gary Eugene is a threat to Leonard Burgess.
For one thing, he is more educated and experienced than Chief Lenny. While they both have masters degrees in criminal justice, Gary Eugene also has training in civil engineering and is a certified, licensed practical nurse. The Assistant Chief is also a graduate of the prestigious Southern Police Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as the Senior Management Institute for Police Executives at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
But, the biggest threat that Gary Eugene presents is the ease with which he makes Chief Lenny look even more incompetent than he already is.
Actually, he doesn’t need Gary’s help for that. Lenny’s incompetence has been on full display.
The only thing standing between Chief Lenny and his corrupt tyranny of the police department is an assistant chief who plays by the rules.
Truth be told, Chief Lenny would like nothing better than to force Gary Eugene to resign so he could finally promote one of his pet majors-slash-puppets to assistant chief. That would ensure his having two second-in-command sycophants to back up his bad decisions.
If Gary were gone, Assistant Chief Larry Juriga would have the chance to crown himself “Deputy Chief,” a position he and Chief Lenny have been desperately trying to create so that Juriga would be Top Dog #2 at the North Miami Police Department.
Ironically, it’s common knowledge that Juriga already runs the police department. But, his real goal is to be the Big Kahuna.
Juriga resented the hell out of Burgess when he was appointed interim chief after Marc Elias resigned. When the former city manager, Aleem Ghany was considering his appointment for permanent chief, Juriga stepped on Chief Lenny’s toes – and went behind his back – to apply for the job. Lenny is pretty damn naive if he thinks Juriga wouldn’t jump at the chance to throw Lenny under the bus for another bite at that apple. As it stands now, Juriga runs the show while Chief Lenny reaps all the credit.
While Larry Juriga patiently waits in the wings for Chief Lenny’s incompetence to catch up with him, the one thing they both agree on is that their common enemy, Assistant Chief Gary Eugene, has to go. Until they can come up with a plan for Eugene’s demise and make it stick, they can make his life miserable.
According to the City of North Miami’s Classification and pay Plan, the position of Assistant Police Chief commands a base salary between $81,024 and $120,083.
I also happen to know that, although he holds the exact same position as Juriga, Assistant Police Chief Eugene only earns an annual salary of $85,000.00, slightly more than the minimum pay rate.
In fact, Gary Eugene earns barely more than a sergeant. In some cases, there are North Miami sergeants who make more than he does!
According to the City of North Miami’s adopted budget for fiscal year 2015/16 (see page 132), Chief Lenny has a total of $1,630,972 in his budget for his office for the Chief’s Office “Personal Service Detail” for ten of his employees, including TWO Assistant Police Chiefs.
The Police Chief has more than enough money, not to mention the authority, to pay both of his Assistant Chiefs top dollar. Although they are both in the same classification and pay scale, Larry Juriga is earning over $37,000.00 more than Gary Eugene.
Considering length of service alone, Gary Eugene brings 30 years of experience to table, as compared to Larry Juriga’s 21 years, Eugene deserves at least the same pay as his colleague.
But for some reason, Chief Lenny pays his prodigal son way more than his red headed step-child.
It’s ironic that despite Chief Lenny’s constant bragging that he’s married to a Haitian (not to mention the fact that nearly half of North Miami’s population is now Haitian), Chief Lenny is paying Gary Eugene – his Haitian Assistant Chief – THIRTY PERCENT (30%) LESS than Larry Juriga.
Sure smells like discrimination to me.
Since the funds have always been budgeted for the Chief’s office, Gary Eugene should have been compensated with the same pay and benefits as the other Assistant Chief. Accordingly, he should receive an immediate raise. Furthermore, this corrected increase in pay should be retroactive from the first day he was promoted to his current position.
Leonard Burgess continues to prove that he’s not fit to be the Chief of the North Miami Police Department.
The residents of North Miami deserve better.
“Spreading the Wealth”