Ensure that sheriffs and other offices are elected positions, not appointed.
Sheriffs in Florida strongly believe in protecting your right to vote for officials that have the most influence locally and on your daily lives. Amendment 10 serves that purpose by ensuring that all constitutional officers — your sheriff, tax collector, supervisor of elections, clerk of court and property appraiser — are elected and accountable to you.
In Miami-Dade, the sheriff is not elected. In Volusia County, these offices do not report directly to the citizens they serve; the county charter abolished these constitutional offices. Instead, some are appointed, some are elected, but all report to a county manager. As your sheriff, I know that independence and being accountable to the public is necessary to perform my duties and to ensure the public’s trust, integrity and safety.
Amendment 10 addresses these issues. There are currently 20 counties that have adopted a charter form of government. Any of those charter counties could abolish the office of sheriff or any other constitutional office. Amendment 10 would prevent that from happening.
Of the other 47 counties, including Flagler County, they could choose to adopt a charter form of government. Flagler County residents and officials have discussed this idea in the past. Amendment 10 would not change the ability of citizens to change their existing county government and create a charter form of government, similar to a city charter.
Rather, Amendment 10 precludes a county from abolishing the elected office of sheriff, or any of the other four constitutional officers or changing them into an appointed position. Amendment 10 protects your ability to determine who will serve as the elected officials that have the most direct effect on your lives. Amendment 10 would simply guarantee voters the ability to determine who will serve as their sheriff, clerk of court, property appraiser, tax collector and supervisor of elections.
Amendment 10 also contains other good government proposals by moving our legislative session to start earlier in the year during even numbered years. It also makes the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs permanent and permanently establishes an Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. As your sheriff, I know firsthand the importance of having close coordination between federal, state and local government to keep us safe. Having this office in our Constitution will ensure our efforts to prevent a terrorist attack are never diminished.
Amendment 10 will improve our state and local government structure for years to come and ensures your right to elect officials that serve you directly. It will not raise your taxes or grow the size of government. Amendment 10 enjoys the full support of Florida TaxWatch.
Amendment 10 sets government priorities, provides for separation of power and provides for local government checks and balances. I strongly urge you to join me in supporting Amendment 10 to protect your voting rights for these constitutional offices, protect our state and serve our dedicated veterans. Please join me in voting yes on Amendment 10.
Rick Staly is the sheriff of Flagler County.