The memo was given to Sgt. Dave Morgenstern following his request to receive outside compensation as a media relations trainer. It was intended to remain private.
In a conversation with Morgenstern Friday he said he had no idea how the memo was released to the public. Additionally, Morgenstern said he believed he performed adequately as the department’s public information officer for the years he served in that capacity.
“I think I did just fine,” said Morgenstern.
Myers, however, seemed to disagree stating in the memo that Morgenstern had a “blind spot” when it came his performance as the public information officer.
He wrote, “Your feedback to me about your qualifications and competencies as a PIO reflects someone who is significantly out of touch with your blind spot.”
He also stated Morgenstern’s skills as a public information officer were lacking and a different person in the position may have been better able to help former chief Bill Lee Jr.
“My initial assessment, which only grew in strength, was that SPD was sorely lacking in the demonstrated skillset within the PIO function,” wrote Myers. “… I believe a more skilled PIO may well have helped the former chief craft his message more effectively.”
Myers did recognize the magnitude of media attention to the Trayvon Martin case, and wrote to Morgenstern it would have been difficult for anyone to handle the media attention surround it.
“In fairness to you, few PIOs, no matter how experienced, would be readily equipped to cope with the onslaught of media attention that the case generated,” wrote Myers.
The memo was dated Aug. 15.
Two weeks after the memo was sent, commissioners approved a public information officer position within the department with a salary ranging from $50,000 to $77,000. During a commission meeting Capt. Darren Scott said the department would look for someone with a journalism background – rather than experience in a police department – for the position.
Since Morgenstern has been removed from the public information officer position he has returned to daytime patrol. In the interim a lieutenant and several investigators have handled media requests.
Morgenstern has served with the department since 1992. Although he would not comment specifically on the memo he said he was in touch with a union representative about the incident.
City Manager Norton Bonaparte, who has been out of the office for the past week, said he has not had a chance to look at the memo. Until Monday, he said, he would not be able to address the issue.
“I will determine what appropriate steps need to be taken once I have a chance to look at it,” he said.