Where'd Todd Go?...
On Dealing With Psychopaths and Stalking
Chapter 7 - IRRESPONSIBILITY IN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ON DAVE DONNELLY AND RET. CHIEF WILLIAM MAY ALACHUA COUNTY OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
SUMMARY: I'd alerted Chief William May, then the ACOEM Emergency Manager, that some ham radio operators were attempting to convince Alachua County Emergency Management to take over Alachua County SKYWARN without any notice to, or approval from me. I advised him that I was its founder and Coordinator, and that if any such attempts were to be made, that I was the person he needed to be talking to, and that we currently had no agreement ongoing with ACOEM to allow such a thing. When I requested an investigation he outright refused, instead insisting that ACS leaders sit down and come to an "agreement" with the emergency management-sponsored hams. They were the very same people who had been involved in stalking and harassing me, as well as my friends, family, and professional contacts, and even my Asst. Coordinator. The Chief actually became angry when I advised him that I objected to being forced to sit down to come to an "agreement" over the outcome of an organization that did not belong to ACOEM, and that I deemed the very idea rudely inappropriate. The Chief then cut off all further communication with me, preventing any further dialogue and thus any means of preventing what was happening to ACS within emergency management.
It was a very surreal feeling. These people are supposed to take you seriously and work with you, not attempt a hostile takeover and dictate how your organization will be run underneath it and then stomp their feet in tantrum and stop talking to you when you object. It felt almost as if he was asking the rapist and the rape victim to sit down and come to an agreement with the rapist. To me it was like saying, "Mr. Sherman, if you allow the rapist some regular access to the lower rear portion of your body, a schedule for which will be propositioned to you at a later time, he will in turn agree to stop stalking you. Does this proposal sound acceptable to you at this time? It is a one-time offer and if you refuse it we will consider you to be uncooperative and there will be no further talks and the stalking and the rapes will just continue."
Yahhhhh, NO. That's not how it works. If it were your own organization would you agree to "agreements" from some outside agency over how your organization would be run, and by who? Where the hell do people like this come from? In Chief May's case, he came from a military background, where he gives the instructions and everybody else obeys or there is punishment. But he's not military now, and this is a civilian organization. And it is not under the ownership or rulership of the Alachua County Office of Emergency Management. But it was as if he did not understand that. It was as if ACOEM was attempting a hostile takeover. What the hell.
At the same time, there was an ongoing police investigation into a related cyberstalking incident. I also told him that there could be no "talks" while a criminal stalking investigation was ongoing with the Gainesville Police Department. It just didn't think it was appropriate considering that it was still ongoing at that time. He assumed that I was being difficult and uncooperative. But I hadn't asked him for "talks". I'd asked him to investigate an accusation of stalking, harassment, and ACOEM's attempt at a hostile takeover. He just wasn't getting it. He wasn't listening.
Chief May was completely oblivious as to what was actually happening, or that he was being duped by the hams. Whether due to some medical condition he was experiencing or on purpose, I do not know. Was he being deliberately mean because he considered me to be "insubordinate"? That would be inappropriate behavior if true, and could only be construed as a deliberate act of interfering with an investigation. If the Chief had acted appropriately, the information he had gleaned could have been given to the officer who was already investigating a cyberstalking case which was related to all of this! Did he know this at the time? Whatever was going on, his prideful, emotional reactions impeded him from discerning the real-world sitation before him - the investigation of criminal acts by his employees and/or associates. He was not willing to listen and instead cut off all communication and accused me of not wanting to "work things out". His reaction was a shock and unexpected coming from a professional. This action on the Chief's part actually caused that situation to become much, much worse. What neither the Chief or myself realized (at the time) was that Melissa Royce had forged business cards which named herself as the "Coordinator" of ACS, and that she had lied to Chief May and proclaimed to him and Asst. Emergency Mgr. Dave Donnelly that I had "quit" ACS and that I was wanting create a "new" Alachua County SKYWARN underneath ACOEM as a sub-part of it. This wasn't true and the incredible fact is that no one at ACOEM had ever thought to get with me or anyone else at ACS first to confirm anything. They simply assumed Melissa was acting under proper authorization and she was not.
What I also didn't realize at the time was that Chief May was apparently going by the assumption that ACS was now under the "control" of ACOEM and as such was to be handled by it's own in-house rules of "grievances". It in fact took me two years before it finally hit me what had happened there because I wasn't familiar with how the in-house rules worked inside government agencies. (It was not under my obligation to know, either.) It was an incorrect assumption on May's part due to the fact that he had not conducted any proper investigations (as I'd requested of him) into what was going on. And had he contacted me right at the very beginning to verify that what Meilssa was saying was true or "official" the whole thing would have been exposed right away. As it turned out, the Chief did not do that, and the problem just got worse from there.
The Chief was at full fault here, for not doing a proper investigation/interrogation, especially after being notified that there was a problem and that some stalking and harassment had been ongoing. The Chief's conduct was, in fact, very unprofessional and quite childish, and ended up causing a great many more headaches and allowed the stalking and harassment to only continue. What started as a lie started by some ham radio operators escalated into a hostile takeover attempt by a government agency of a civilian organization from underneath the organizational leaders without their knowledge. When it was discovered by the leaders of ACS, the Chief basically had a temper tantrum and walked away. As well, this event later cascaded into other additional harrowing situations involving multiple levels of government, multiple agencies, multiple organizations, and would even eventually include the FBI and Naval Ocean Systems Command, not to mention multiple police agencies deliberately sabotaging a cyberstalking investigation and a hacking investigation. It could have all been stopped dead in it's tracks had Chief May just become more proactive at this very specific, very highly crucial moment. There was no reason for this to go as far as it did. But it did. And the Chief owns some responsibility for it.
The whole situation defines perfectly the military description of a "clusterfuck operation". And it takes more poignant significance when you take info account that the man causing all the mayhem was in fact ex-military and came from a background of supposedly knowing how to relegate and delegate in a life that is all about taking "responsibility" for one's own actions.
In September, 2005, I sent Dave Donnelly (then the Assistant Emergency Manager at ACOEM) an "unofficial" email describing problems that I was having with some local hams3, and warning him that if I was not able to make these people stop that I might have to resort to filing real police complaints against them. I did this because these people were hams, friends of his, with whom he was working within his organization, and, aside from being something that I was required to do, I felt he also had a right to know.
A year later, in March 2006, I'd just had a face-to-face with Dave regarding the same local area hams (who were coincidentally involved in ACOEM-run programs such as ACFR-Reserves, and CERT, for examples) who were stalking and harassing me. We'd actually met at Big Lou's Pizzeria in downtown Gainesville for lunch specifically to discuss just that.4 We continued communicating by email about it, but it quickly became apparent that I wasn't actually being listened to when suddenly, out of the blue, Dave sent me a copy of a section of a "Standard Operating Procedures Manual" governing how "Alachua County SKYWARN" was to be run underneath the control of the Alachua County Office of Emergency Management. In specific, the section dealt with the "Coordinator" position in Alachua County SKYWARN and how my position would fit into the ACOEM world, gave them the power to assign it's officers, and it sounded just like something Melissa Royce would have crafted and I suspected that's exactly the person who had written it.5 He asked for my "approval" of it, and that pretty much began the downward trainwreck in the relationship between me and ACOEM.
Its revelation to me was completely out of the blue and a sudden shock. "What the hell is THIS?!!!, I said to Dave. But unbelievably, he didn't seem to understand. He just didn't get it. Dave must have thought that I was nuts. I was so angry with this man for being so utterly incompetent - after having been repeatedly told that the hams had been stalking and harassing me, to not believe me here...seemed very much to be deliberately ignorant incompetence. It was just astounding to see a man engage in something so irresponsible, so easliy, in cooperation with the very same people that he'd been warned about! It was plainly obvious, now. This man was deliberately ignoring my complaints, outright. There was no "due process" going on, here. He was picking sides.
Immediately on the heels of that, now comes the Gainesville Sun article touting a "new" Alachua County SKYWARN program, "under new leadership". (As if it was of the utmost importance to mention that? Was there something wrong with the old leadership or something?) Just another WTF moment thrown in my face. I think the idea here was something along the lines of a "Blitzkreig" effort to make me feel overwhelmed into capitulation by what was supposed to look like a superior force, I guess.
Apparently, without my knowledge, Jeff Capehart and Melissa had been telling both Chief May and Dave Donnelly that I wanted to do this - with Melissa even going as far as to forge business cards which had "Coordinator" printed upon them after her name. (Later I would discover that she had also taken the liberty of creating a second Alachua Co SKYWARN Yahoo listgroup. Since we already had one, this second listgroup only confused a good many people who actually joined it not knowing what was really going on.) When I got angry about this, the two implied to Dave and the Chief that I was changing my mind and reneging on my word. (THat comes from a later, after-the-fact conversation with Jeff Capehart about it. Another one of his proud "brags".) But Dave was totally clueless and I was getting very angry with him because he wasn't acting very responsibly or very intelligently at all considering his title. In all of this he never once got with me and clued me in to what was happening. I never knew it was even going on. He had assumed that Jeff and Melissa were always proceeding lawfully and with my knowledge and consent, and must have assumed that they were keeping me in the loop; but...without personally verifying that that was indeed the case. Dave was starting to look very different to me...like someone very weak-willed who was being played like a puppet. Dave was supposed to be the good guy. He was supposed to be the responsible one. He was once someone I respected and admired and looked up to; and now suddenly he was making me his enemy and I was taken aback. He wasn't interested in what I had to say, or in investigating the situation, or even in justifying his irresponsible actions in this situation. He was acting on some kind of automatic pilot. Something akin to someone holding up their palms over their ears and singing "LA! LA! LA! LA! LA!", and I just couldn't break this "spell" that he was in. He truly believed in Jeff and Melissa without fail. He didn't seem to want to believe that his favorite crew could be duping him, and he seemed to much rather want to believe that it was instead me who must be crazy, I guess. (If you're paying attention, you'll note that this theme reoccurs a lot: people who don't want to believe that they're being duped by people who are supposedly such great allies and public servants.) Mr. Donnelly simply ignored the details of the situation as much as he could, and he'd obviously decided that he didn't want to get "involved". But he'd already gotten involved. He'd already acted to help commit this damage, himself. Dave was completely blowing me off and keeping me out of the decision process loop, and then feeling anger towards me when I complained - as if I was the problem, period, and there was no other discussion to be had. That was just the way of Life for me, then.
It wasn't so simple as he wanted it to be, though. You can't just help the bad guys to escape justice and then just "decide" to not take responsibility for it and to back out, now.
In my lifetime, I have noted this to be a very consistent thing among humans...how people do things to cause damage, and when the crunch comes and it becomes apparent that they just did something really dreadful to screw someone, even supposedly good people want to flee the scene. And on the way out they'll throw up their arms and try to make the standard claim "I just don't want to get involved!", and hope that this is sufficient excuse enough to throw everyone off the scent and to make it all "just go away" for them. And they do this while slowly trying to back out the front door. The high prevalence of this in today's society would seem to suggest a deficiency in previous generations in teaching their offspring important moral ideas and values such as taking responsibility for one's own actions and "owning up" to the mistakes you make because it's the "right" thing to do. Seeing it thrown to the winds in government leaders is not at all encouraging; but then, not at all surprising, either. When a highly public leader screws up, the whole world knows. And then the cops and lawyers and Press agents come, and everyone they long-knew disavows them. Oh yah, man.
ADDENDUM (April 19, 2018): I thought this recent quote from former FBI Director James Comey during a CNN interview on the show The Lead with Jake Tapper, seemed so very similar to how I'd felt about what Dave Donnelly did:
"...Tapper then asked, in the context of Comey’s book about truth, lies and ethical leadership, about how he felt about then-Deputy Director McCabe allegedly lying to him to preserve his reputation.
'Conflicted. I like him very much as a person but sometimes even good people do things they shouldn’t do,' he said."
That's so dead-on right. Dave was for all the time that I knew him a nice person, and we got along fine. We'd never ever had any sort of conflict between us. He'd never ever had any problems with me. And the same could be said for everyone that I knew at the National Weather Service. But then when a few hams came along and said that I was a problem, all of a sudden the man broke rules and laws, actively thwarted my investigations, and basically told cops that I was just trying to use the law to stalk and harass, which was not the truth. He also didn't have any evidence to back that claim up, for Christ's sake! Then two cops in two different agencies sabotaged cases. And when that happened, it was a done deal that couldn't be taken back. It was a really stupid, boneheaded maneuver for an Emergency Manager to make. To this day, I still don't understand why he put himself so out on a limb like that. Even at this moment today, I have an actual ongoing theft case filed and it appears now that this cop too is attempting to sabotage it. Dave has left me now a twelve-year "legacy". He moved away to Savannah years ago and the cops are still doing him that favor! ...With an obsessive-compulsive, tunnel visioned focus.
I was getting so sick of the insane psychology that I was seeing in people all around me. The recent face-to-face meeting with Mr. Donnelly had apparently meant nothing. I couldn't believe the man had sent me that SOP manual draft, knowing that it had been composed by the very same people whom I had JUST TOLD HIM had been harassing and stalking me! It never occurred to him that maybe the wool was being pulled over his eyes, that he'd just been played for "stupid" by those hams*. But again, he trusted them instead, and assumed that I was the problem. I mean, considering how complicated all of this is, it's just far easier to believe that. I understand the problem. I'm not stupid. But due process is due process and you don't get to skip it because you think it's a pain in the ass and would take too much time.
Now things were beginning to make sense. I'd just been sent a harassing email from someone threatening "changes soon" for Alachua County SKYWARN. I had no clue what it meant. It suddenly became plainly obvious. It was Melissa, trying to tell me that she had been busy conning Mr. Donnelly into believing that I was quitting, and to use the power of ACOEM to take over ACS without me realizing it, right under my own nose.
I then went to Chief Will May (now retired), and asked him for help, and told him about this problem I'd been having with hams stalking and harassing me, attacking my friends and family, too; hams who were concurrently involved in many ACOEM functions (ACFR Reserves, CERT, etc. - and thus under ACOEM's responsibility), and now they were apparently attempting to convince ACOEM to actually take over control of Alachua County SKYWARN - an organization neither founded, created, owned, operated, funded, nor run by ACOEM itself. Chief May had insisted to me that "No one was trying to take over Alachua County SKYWARN"; and yet, in the same breath he suggested that I sit down with all of my harassers and "come to a mutual agreement."6 The Chief's response had been blindly made without knowing anything about the actual facts and he was obviously making a starting bell assumption that the problem lay with me and thus, that there was no problem at all with his people, because why that's just impossible. Then the Chief broke off all communication with me.
The thing that's important to realize here is that the Chief was God. If he blows you off, that's it. The cops won't listen to you. The SAO won't listen to you. The City Council and the County Commission won't listen to you. No one will. His reaction was not appropriate considering the subject matter that he was being told about. It was an extremely serious one, in fact. This was an official complaint about stalking and harassment that was ongoing from his own people within his control and employ. It was also a complaint that an emergency management agency was apparently trying to use the power of its office to take over a civlian organization that didn't belong to it, without any prior conversation or even legal documentation between the supposed "owner" and the "receiver", first. He was not getting these things. He was too busy cutting off my thoughts and sentences and inserting completely inaccurate assumptions about the problem at hand. It was in his mission, and his agency's mandate, in the Florida laws for him to take it seriously and to investigate fully. But he had obviously personally labeled this as something that was not serious enough to warrant any attention on any official level. I came away from my experience with him with an understanding that this man's ego was huge and only his opinion matterd above everyone else. That, and that he preferred to run things in something of a military fashion. His way is the way and you're just going to take it his way whether you like it or not. In his view, my complaint was just not a matter important enough to entertain, or to investigate. And that was that. He effectively shut the door in my face. ...And my stalkers saw this.