UPDATE (01-15-19): The full speech is posted below.
Earlier reporting below.
Daytona Beach, FL – Priority one for Volusia County in 2019 is figuring out who will be the person in charge of day-to-day functions.
That’s the word from Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley as he prepares to deliver the annual “State Of The County” speech today (January 15th) at the Ocean Center.
Speaking on WNDB’s Volusia Today program, Kelley said he and the rest of the council have to find a permanent person for the County Manager role.
“I think that’s paramount on everyone’s lists,” Kelley added. “I think that’s going to be very, very important going through the next several years.”
George Recktenwald has been the current interim County Manager since Jim Dinneen retired last June after over a decade on the job.
Dinneen’s tenure ended in controversial fashion, drawing the public ire of Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, District 4 Representative Heather Post and others for a series of issues, including problems at the county Medical Examiner’s Office and a taxpayer-funded impact fee study which didn’t see the light of day for years.
Recktenwald – who was Dinneen’s second-in-command – initially took himself out of the running for the permanent role but has since become a favorite of some on the County Council. A search firm was also hired by the VCC to screen for potential candidates soon after Dinneen left.
Kelley mentioned during the show that he expects a search update when the Council meets again on January 22nd, its first Tuesday session of the New Year.
Beyond that, Kelley’s speech will touch on the county’s ongoing Amendment 10 legal challenge, one initiated by Volusia County Attorney Dan Eckert soon after a majority of Volusia voters and those across the state of Florida voted “yes” in November to what supporters call the “protection amendment”.
Sheriff Chitwood – a strong backer of Amendment 10 – publicly savaged Eckert and the six members of the VCC who voted to resume that legal effort last month despite prior failed attempts to prevent the measure from reaching the ballot box.
Chitwood says Amendment 10 would make elected Sheriffs like him more accountable to the public by placing more control of day-to-day operations in their hands, but Eckert argues that the amendment shouldn’t apply to Volusia since it would change the county’s charter form of government and that such a move shouldn’t be imposed onto the county in the form of a statewide election.
Kelley and other members of the VCC have also questioned the costs of implementing Amendment 10, saying it could force the county to spend millions of dollars to be in compliance.
The “State Of The County” speech begins at noon from Daytona Beach’s Ocean Center. The event is free to the public but no more seating is available at this point since all available seats have been reserved, according to county officials.