I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fixing the Law Enforcement Trust Fund Expenditure Process Locally, Part II

Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County has developed an excellent process for ranking and submitting LETF requests to the Board of County Commissioners in his County.  Escambia County Commissioners want to model our process on this successful model

At the regular meeting of the Escambia Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, October 5th 2017, the board unanimously voted to ask the Florida Attorney General to provide an advisory opinion about our current process for approving expenditures from our Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF).  There is continuing concern that the process being utilized does not comport with statute.

the board also voted 3-1 to revise the BCC's process locally for how we approve expenditures to be more like the process is in Broward County.  Sheriff Scott Israel has an excellent process that the board here locally favors.  I was honored that my fellow board members have asked me to lead a committee in implementing an improved process--and I am excited to lead this effort and I look forward to reforming the process in Escambia County--working with the Sheriff.

A couple of important notes are worth mentioning here--some folks have not listened closely and are working from a "low-information" perspective so I need to be clear.

1.  Only the Sheriff can request expenditures from the BCC's LETF.  Only the sheriff can.  The vast majority of of previous expenditures are appropriate.
2.  Only the BCC has the authority to approve or deny such requests. Only the BCC
3.  The BCC voted to improve OUR process for approval of requests
4.  The BCC has neither sought to impose control over the Sheriff's portion of the process ( his internal review leading to a request being made of the BCC ) nor are we telling him how to allocate funds requested from the BCC's LETF--these decisions are his to make.
5.  Citizens have questioned some of the spending, and this led to a complaint to the State Attorney, which necessitated BCC to engage more closely in the process.  Nothing more, nothing less, no politics involved.

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