Jacksonville Police to Pick New Union Leader; Pair of Candidates Are Still in the Running to Replace Nelson Cuba

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana Treen

For the first time in a decade, Jacksonville police will select a new union president to replace Nelson Cuba, whose time in office ended with his March arrest in the Allied Veterans of the World corruption case.

Before the arrest, Cuba's tenure was marked with clashes over pensions and other issues. He once walked out of a pension meeting with the city, calling it a waste of time and on another issue fought successfully to bar the public access to police shooting reviews.

It's also during a year that will include negotiations for a new contract and 16 months before voters citywide choose a new sheriff.

Running to replace Cuba are Steve Amos and Rob Beers, both sergeants with the Sheriff's Office. The winner becomes the full-time head of the Fraternal Order of Police. His police salary is paid by the Sheriff's Office but his assignment becomes the union job.

Amos, 54, who moved up as the interim replacement for Cuba, has held posts with the union since 1992. He joined the Sheriff's Office as a corrections officer in 1981 and has been a sergeant since 2008.

He said Cuba's confrontational style had run its course and that goals could be realized if negotiators stood their ground but were reasonable.

"You don't always have to beat the chest to get the point across," he said. He said he's had a professional relationship with the sheriff and administrators at the Sheriff's Office.

Beers, 50, an officer since 1992 and 13-year sergeant has also held positions on political and other committees with the union and is a member of its board of directors.

"I have a more assertive personality," he said. "I'm passionate about what I do for the union and that passion comes out."

Along with Cuba, authorities arrested Robbie Freitas, who was the first vice president of the union. They are two of the 27 defendants left in the Allied case. …

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