Captain's letter blasts Sheriff Paul Babeu for plan to reclassify command staff as at-will employees

A top commander in the Pinal County Sheriff's Office has penned a scathing letter to Sheriff Paul Babeu and emailed it to the entire department.

ABC15 Investigator David Biscobing obtained the letter written by Captain Jeffrey Karns, a 22-year veteran and top level Pinal County Sheriff's Commander.

Karns, who has an exemplary service record, writes he was forced to retire early when his employment status was reclassified as "at-will."

He sarcastically thanks Sheriff Babeu for, "attempting to negatively impact the reputation, career and earned retirement of a dedicated career-long ‘Merit-Employee', one who has had a stellar career, free from controversy, free from scandal and one who has competitively tested, competed and ‘promoted' (not appointed, Paul) through every classified-rank that the PCSO has; one who has commanded men and bureaus for longer than you have been a ‘cop, and one who is an FBI National Academy Graduate."

Sheriff Babeu will appear before the Pinal County Board of Supervisors Wednesday seeking approval of his plan to reclassify almost a dozen lieutenants and captains as at-will employees.

All of those impacted by the reclassification tested into their current Merit-Employee status.

They will forfeit job protection and will be subject to dismissal without cause if the Pinal County Board of Supervisors votes to approve Babeu's proposal.

Karns characterizes Babeu's move as a "dishonorable, unethical and nakedly (no pun intended) selfish action."

UPDATE: A spokesperson for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office released a statement from Chief Deputy Steve Henry.

It is troubling Captain Karns reacted in such a manner to this organizational change to improve operations in the Pinal County Sheriff's Office. Captain Karns has always been very supportive of the many organizational changes and leadership decisions Sheriff Babeu has made during the past four years.  As a testament to his support, attached is a letter he wrote on behalf of Sheriff Babeu recommending the National Sheriff of the Year Award.

Another interesting fact is just this week, Captain Karns sent the attached email through his chain-of-command commending Sheriff Babeu for his leadership and stance on arming school administrators to protect our children against the type of attack which occurred in Connecticut.

It is truly puzzling why Captain Karns over reacted to an organizational change that has yet to take place and I can only surmise that some other issue is in play that made him lash out.  

Captain Karns officially retired today and we wish him well in the future.

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