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It's not every day that an entire municipal police force publicly castigates an elected official, but that's exactly what happened last week when 25 officers from the North Bay Village Police Department signed a petition demanding the resignation of city Commissioner Bob Dugger. Petition signatory Sgt. Roland Pandolfi says the document began circulating this past Thursday following publication of a New Times cover story detailing Dugger's alleged unethical conduct ("Thug Meets Pug," October 2). According to Pandolfi, he and his fellow officers are fed up with political corruption -- real and perceived -- in their bayside community. "The article just fueled the fire," the sergeant says. "Clearly, Commissioner Dugger is unable to carry out the duties of his office."
The State Attorney's Office is investigating Dugger's relationship with Adolph "Al" Coletta, a real estate investor who owns several properties in North Bay Village, including a penthouse condominium atop the Bayshore Yacht and Tennis Club. Among other things, investigators are trying to determine whether Dugger, in exchange for financial assistance from Coletta, tried to push through a zoning change that would have allowed his friend to convert the penthouse to a nightclub.
In addition to faxing the petition to Dugger, the police officers submitted it to the city clerk's office so it would become a public record. It reads: "We the undersigned represent the men and women of the North Bay Village Police Department and with this written document declare a vote of no confidence in Commissioner Bob Dugger. Your actions over the last few months are contrary to ethical government. Your constant attacks against our management team are disruptive to day-to-day operations and have created a hostile work environment. Your overall goals are realized and will not be tolerated. We have no confidence in your abilities as commissioner and call for your immediate resignation for the good of the City of North Bay Village."
It's no secret that Dugger has been on a crusade to oust city manager Jim Vardalis and police Chief Irving Heller. The chief says he wasn't involved with the petition. "They did this on their own," he reports, noting that all but one of the city's patrol officers signed the document. Says Vardalis: "There has been a continuing pattern of criticism by Commissioner Dugger against me and my department heads. To see this type of solidarity demonstrated in a municipality is highly unusual."
Dugger declined comment, but his attorney, William Dean, insists, "My client is not resigning. Bob Dugger is not going anywhere."