Volusia County, FL – Volusia County Council Chair, Ed Kelley, recently spoke about the charter issue that has caused tension between County Manager, Jim Dinneen and Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
In an interview with Al Smith on Daytona’s Morning News, March 17, Kelley said he had met with the County Attorney Daniel Eckert, Dinneen, and Chitwood, collectively and privately. From those meetings, Kelley said, “Jim Dinneen and the county attorney agreed…if there are issues that are not moving according to the Sheriff’s desire, or if he didn’t feel he’s getting a response, that he should call me (Kelley).” All involved agreed to this arrangement.
Kelley also said that it’s incumbent on the county council to make sure the employed county manager and county attorney are doing what they’ve been hired to do. If they are delaying responses for whatever reason, those reasons should be evaluated and dealt with in order to answer in a timely manner.
“I don’t think anyone on the council would object to the Sheriff making requests for things that are going to make public safety better, especially when you can be more efficient and save money,” said Kelley.
As far as the charter repeal is concerned, Kelley reiterated that the county council can’t do anything to make that change.
“The charter was set up under the 1965 constitution that was established by the legislature and the process for which you make a change, not an amendment, but a direct change, has to go through 15% request by voters to the legislature. They, in turn, have to give their approval and create and schedule a time for the voters of Volusia County to make that vote on the charter,” Kelley said.
Kelley described this process as not just making a change, but rather a destroying of a portion of the charter and re-creating it.
Regarding the Senate bill involved in this controversy, Kelley said the bill would be a constitutional amendment to the state constitution. Florida counties could possibly vote on it next November. If it passed, the offices of Sheriff, tax assessor, and supervisor of elections would become constitutional officers.
Kelley said he didn’t think other counties should tell our county what to do, and the Senate bill would require that any future changes would have to go back to the state constitution.
“It makes more sense for Volusia County to control it,” said Kelley.
Photo courtesy of Bohbeh and Shutterstock.com.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.