Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hendry County Chief Deputy Powell Fired

Chief Deputy Chuck Powell Out - Philosophical Differences Says Sheriff

LABELLE, FL. -- On Thursday, July 23, 2009 Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden announced the promotion of Lt. Kevin Nelson to the position of Chief Deputy, replacing Chuck Powell. 

Sheriff Steve Whidden stated the decision regarding former Chief Deputy Chuck Powell was made due to philosophical differences in management between himself and Powell.  ''It is not personal, but rather a decision that needed to be made in order to run a well-organized agency.  I wish Chuck the best in his future endeavors,'' said Whidden.

According to a press release issued by the Sheriff, ''In an effort to continue to guide his department through this change in command, Sheriff Whidden believes that (former) Lt. Kevin Nelson embodies the values, experience, and knowledge needed to run a productive and efficient agency.   Chief Deputy Kevin Nelson shares the same concerns as Sheriff Whidden during these difficult economic times.  Together we will strive to provide the best level of service possible to the citizens of Hendry County.''

Sheriff Whidden said Thursday in an address to his department  ''regarding this recent change that the decision to replace Former Chief Chuck Powell was in an effort to ensure that this agency excels not just for now, but for many years to come and that has to start with you having faith in not only me but the entire administration.'' 

Chief Nelson began his career in 1981 with the Collier County Sheriff's Office and retired in 2004 with 24 years experience, 19 of those were at the Administration and budgeting level (multimillion dollar budget), 16 at the Command level and 15 years with countywide experience.  Chief Nelson is civically involved in the Rotary Club of LaBelle as President, Chamber of Commerce  Director and LaBelle Masonic Lodge  District Deputy Grand Master.  Chief Nelson is a Florida Attorney General�s Office certified Crime Prevention Specialist. 

Sheriff Whidden expressed to his employees, ''I only expect you to do your job to the best of your ability at all times.  I expect that when you come into contact with civilians that you are courteous and polite, and do your job.''

Former Chief Deputy Powell, a resident of Glades county in the Port LaBelle Ranchettes, helped Sheriff Whidden in his successful election campaign last year.


  1. Anonymous5:25 PM

    I heard it was because Powell starting printing out reports on each deputy and their activity and Whidden's little favorites got mad and ran to him complaining like daddy. I also heard that he promoted a lieutenant without any testing, or review boards as promised. But then again I heard he is up to his teeth in campaign payback money he owes to some of his current "staff". Philosophical differences? Ask him how he broke the news to Powell, he told him on a Thursday everything was good, and left a handwritten letter (misspelled at that) on Powells office chair saying so long on Saturday. That is after he (Whidden) hi tailed it to Palm Beach Gardens Resort and Spa (to avoid Powell) to yet another convention (fourth we heard this year). Thats real management on Whiddens part.

    How do I know this? I know Powell and asked him point blank. Do the same and he will tell you that and probably more.

  2. Anonymous9:19 PM

    You know so much why do you not tell us who is on the doper's payroll? Do something useful.

  3. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Who does Whidden owe money to that is his staff member? As for the convention, isn't is reasonable to consider that there are education opportunities available at these conventions and meeting the other Sheriffs of the state to discuss the financial and economic situation the counties are in?

    As for Powell, there are three sides to every story; each persons and the truth somewhere in the middle. This administration is new and we need to give Whidden time to get things sorted out before rushing to judgements and assumptions. There are many in town who heard about the issues between Whidden and Powell and none of it is all one sided. Time to see how this all plays out.

  4. Anonymous9:47 PM

    which doper do you refer? There are so many. Why change now? Instead of laying back and asking lay it out now. Hows that for useful?

  5. Anonymous9:57 PM

    he will be gone again next week too..... after all ten years as a road patrolman and no supervisory experience does need to be educated. Nelson is a good guy. Hopefully he can continue to steer the agency in the right direction but then again, he will have to contend with the same issues as those of us in the agency still do. Yes I work there still. But he will still face the same ol steppin on toes as his predecessor did.

    I for one dont agree with the way Whidden did this change. Both for the Chieff and the promotion of the new lieutenant. After all Whidden did say it would be a tested, oral board, for selection of Lieutenants, and now Sgts whom have been there prior to Whidden have been looked over and will continue to be.

    Nothing has changed. Whidden is too busy trying to pretend he is your buddy when he stops you in the hallway and trys to get information. I just tell him what I think he wants to hear. There is a bunch of us who think he hasnt a clue as to whats going on, with or without a cheif.

    Oh and he didnt talk about the demotion of a a Lt either. A demotion to Sgt that no one wants to work under.

    I have been here since Worley and it seems it hasnt changed a bit regardless who is in office.

  6. Anonymous7:08 AM

    Sounds to me like we have a one term Sheriff again. That is if he lasts that long. Rumor has it that he has already been taken to the hospital on at least one occasion for panic or anxiety attack. If you can't hang with the Big Dogs, stay on the porch. On another note, Kevin will soon find out exactly what his predecessor had to deal with on a daily basis. I have no doubts that Steve will show his true colors, and protect his so called "boys", that are going to get him re-elected he (Whidden) thinks. I got news for him, it is the citizens who re-elect someone and if memory serves me correct, there were only about 250 votes that gave him that win. That means at least half of the citizens did not want him elected in the first place. Good luck winning the next one, the truth always prevails.

  7. Anonymous7:23 AM

    I talked with the former Chief last night and read the letter that the Sheriff wrote him regarding his demise. For one thing, it is not even on the Sheriff's office letterhead. It has misspellings and never gives a reason as to why he was being let go. For the Sheriff, there is such a thing as spellcheck. Did you not learn this in College? As far as no reason given except some issues that separate us. Could you elaborate more for us Sheriff? I just hope that anyone who wants to read this letter will call Powell, as I did. It is the most unprofessionally written letter I have ever seen. As far as the way that Whidden gave it to Powell, some how with the way the letter was written, that does not suprise me. Sounds to me like he was a coward and could not face him. Just remember, what goes around, comes around.

  8. Anonymous8:17 AM

    Same old crap...the Sheriff with the power. Just remember, there are eyes and ears EVERYWHERE. Too late to put a wrap on things now...people know too much. I for one would hate to be around there when the Feds come knocking....

  9. Anonymous4:32 PM

    i am so glad that kevin is now the chief. i didn't know powell. but i know kevin and steve and put the right man in place. you know that if everyone in the sheriff dept would do their job and stop complaining about the sheriff the county would run better. at least he is not ronnie lee. just leave the sheriff alone and do your jobs. i think most of you people have to much time on your hands and try to find things to complain about.

  10. Anonymous3:09 PM

    I too am glad with Kevin as #2...but Whidden needs to educate him as to who the Crooks, Felons, Drug Traffickers and facilitators are since while campaigning Kevin hung around The montura clubhouse with thugs and gangsters with apparant ignorance.

  11. Anonymous2:34 PM

    whidden needs to educate kevin? whidden needs to realize who he has allied himself with and whom he has alienated. "his boys" as he puts it are the very ones that are spreading this crap around. worley is right in the middle of it all and giving advice. same ol cronies, same ol faces, same ol crap. it will never change in this county because there are too many powerbrokers that have the money and the conncections to allow anything but. they call the shots and have as long as I have lived in this county for my entire life. my parents even before me told me about this crap. there will never ever be anyone in any position as long as the powerful money holding people are dictating what goes and what comes. whidden is about to have thee susprise of his life coming. and it all has to do from within, not from the outside. nelson and powell were just pawns as well as whidden.

  12. Anonymous9:22 AM

    Wow, Thanks for the information, perhaps I acted "Stupidly" commenting when I did not have all the facts. (my comment was above the above one).

  13. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Can you give up a list of whom he has aligned with Vs. who he has alienated so we can pick a side?

  14. Anonymous4:55 PM

    So who are Whidden's buddies and who are not his buddies? For those of us that do not work there we have no way of knowing who he considers compatible with his ideas. I for one always judge a man by his character AND his friends- it never fails.

  15. Anonymous8:12 PM

    Then you would have a problem with the chameleon that he is. I am not impressed with him. I met him at the LaBelle forum, and he seemed too unexperienced for me. I am not a cop but as I understand it, ten years of experience with no experience prior to sheriff as a manager or a supervisor doesnt cut it. I know banks and they would not put anyone in charge of one that had any less than experience in the areas that they were charged for. But then again in business you are not elected by the public per se. You are however gauged by performance. I went back to the Caloosa Belle edition when he was about about to take office and to read again what he said about Powel was as if the guy was extremely qualified, with 30 some years of all kinds of experience. Sounds more to me that Powel teed off the wrong crowd in this podunk town and they put pressure on Whidden to get rid of him. After all Nelson is connected to a bunch of things I am told. When he was at the forum he certainly was represented by a large group of members of various clubs.

    But I will say this. I wouldnt put it past Nelson to have odds with Whidden and now that he is privy to everything in the department, will run against him in the next election and this time will win because he will know where the problems exist and where Whidden is weak and vulnerable. Not a very good position in my business opinion. I have seen things worse than that happen.

    But then again ten years experience as a road cop doesnt make one very savvy, when it comees to strategy and planning.

    I do hear from various parties around the shops that he hasnt made very good on his promises regardless of what he was left with. It seems one would have had that information with all the public records laws prior to making that kind of commitment. According to one source there was supposed to be an enhanced agriculture presence and unit upgrade. Where is it? We have not seen it on our properties at all.

    And the deputies whom are rude and obnoxious. That will in itself do him in.

    I am surprised at this so early in the tenure.

  16. Anonymous9:04 PM

    I know that he knows who the crooks are, So who is he aligning with? Who are his friends lately?

  17. Anonymous8:41 PM

    Whidden did ask for the documents to see where the SO stood financially and the records were never produced and it was even addressed with the State Attorney's Office and they declined to get involved. Chuck Powell can vouch for this, he was involved in the records requests and the lack of cooperation from the then sitting Sheriff and his staff. They were not even allowed in the building until a couple weeks before he took over and then the access was limited. Whidden and Powell had to go to the Clerk's Office to get the current itemized budget that Ronnie and his staff said did not exist. So no one knew until it was too late how bad of shape the SO was in until they took over. And then they found out that Ronnie had not paid the bills for several months as well.

  18. Anonymous9:21 PM

    As far as the above comment Chuck Powell can vouch for this, I would imagine that ship has sailed and as far as your 'inside' information maybe your source can comment directly. I've read your responses on the blogs as well. One would think so at least from another prospective. If I were Powell, after what I have heard directly from persons knowing him and talking with him while getting fuel one day last week, I would imagine Mr Whidden is on his own. Especially the way his dismissal was handled according to the letter we all read. How tacky and how unprofessional. Extremely non-businesslike as he (Whidden) referred to as a business decision in the letter, as misspelled as it was at that. I wish Powell would get on here and give up his version of how it went down. But from what he said it isn't worth it and has his own plans for the future. Oh and nothing against Nelson. Nice guy. Whidden is a nice guy too. On a personal note. But as a business executive -F By the way, I voted for Whidden in the general election. Because I disagreed with Ronnie's leadership and effect on this county. I am a Republican who will vote as such next time around.

  19. Anonymous2:37 PM

    I will NOT be voting for Steve Whidden next time around, that is for sure. He has no idea what he is doing, it is so obvious.

  20. Anonymous11:04 AM

    After reading all of this I am definitely worried about what is going to happen in this small little town. for those of us not in the middle of knowing who's who could you give us more info who got promoted who got passed over? Does anyone know if Bennett was one of these or was Herrera one as well? How do we just still without calling in the FDLE because they need to be.

  21. Anonymous9:02 PM

    The Key here is EXPERIENCE there is none. I live in Clewiston and will not vote for Whidden.
    All the other Sheriff candidates were better qualified but the power to be elected Whidden. Now you have him for 4 years. Ten years as a patrol officer is not enough to be Sheriff.

  22. Anonymous1:36 AM

    Ronnie Lee should be in jail, that was the biggest corruption organization in Florida, FDLE and the FBI should be looking at him.