|Recent requests made of the BCC by ECSO appear to comport directly with what is contemplated under 932.7055 and this is a good thing.|
Although we have both been busy with many other issues of pressing concern, the BCC and the ECSO appear to be moving toward a better approval process for Law Enforcement Trust Expenditures from the County's Law Enforcement Trust Fund.
In multiple conversations with County Administrator Jack Brown, some off-line and several at publicly televised meetings, I have delegated my portion of this process to him and the staff.
Because we have no control of the internal process by which the ECSO vets requests made to them for expenditures, our largest part in the process going forward is the approval step. The administrator and the staff have some good ideas on this part of the process to put into place.
And a couple of things are happening now with that.
Previously, the BCC would allocate funds on the front end of the process, and the ECSO would fund these outside organizations after the Clerk of the Court's office had received the paperwork from ECSO and certifications from ECSO that the expenditure comported with statute. The BCC was unaware of the expenditures until "after the fact." This is/was problematic for a number of reasons, and it is for this reason the BCC voted to move to change this process and also to request an AGO on whether or not this previous process was even legal under the law. We are still waiting for that opinion....
Now, however, over the last several weeks, I have received written correspondence like this directly from the Sheriff (via snail mail) requesting approval for expenditures from this fund--complete with back up documentation from ECSO's (new?) process and from the organizations requesting funds. I think this process--if this is what we will be doing going forward-- comports with the statute. However-- I continue to believe the previous process did not comport with 932.7055 Florida Statutes.
So Henrique Dias, the CFO for the Sheriff's Office, has now placed several items on the BCC agenda
for January 4th. In total, we are being asked to approve expenditures from the Escambia BCC Law Enforcement Trust Fund for 12 organizations totaling $98,000.00 Dollars. I think the majority of these requests will be fulfilled on January 4th--as most of these expenditures appear to comport with the statutory requirements based on the backup provided. There will be discussion on several, and there will be at least one (1) for which I will not vote favorably because in that case--that organization (while a very worthwhile charity) meets neither the spirit nor the letter of the law so far as I can tell from the backup for that request.