We are about to do a bad thing here in Orange County. We have those that have proposed that we the people begin to give up control over the Sheriff of our County by allowing his free constitutional status to be abrogated by making them a charter officer.
The proposed Charter Amendment
Changing County Constitutional Officers to Charter
Officers and Providing for Nonpartisan Elections and
Term Limits Amending the Orange County Charter to make the
Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of
Elections, Clerk of Circuit Court, and Comptroller into
nonpartisan, elected charter officers subject to term limits
of four consecutive 4-year terms, abolishing their status
as constitutional officers, and specifying they are not
subject to county commission or mayoral authority and
shall have all rights and privileges of corresponding
constitutional officers, except as expressly provided by
charter. No financial impact.
No financial impact. Plenty of impact as to the direction of government here in Orange County. I will discuss the position of Sheriff and why it is bad to take away his constitutional status. As you read, you can see how bringing the Tax collector, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections, Clerk of the County Court and especially Comptroller who dispenses all of the monies for county activities under one big umbrella consolidates power which is not good for the citizens of Orange County. I will focus on the Sheriff because that position is the most important to protecting our rights here in Orange County.
Please understand that the idea of a Sheriff is a very old idea. Once is was a tool of oppression but when it came under the control of the people it became a force for good. The direction that is being advocated with this charter amendment is detrimental to the long term security and freedom we enjoy as Floridians living in Orange County. The Sheriff is elected and works directly for the people. He is the highest law of the county. He answers directly to the people. We need to keep it that way.
The history of the Sheriff is many centuries old. The first written record of the Sheriff dates back to the reign of King Alfred in the 9th century. The King restructured the kingdom into “shires” and appointed “reeves” to administer his will on his subjects. These shire reeves eventually became to be known as the Sheriff.
It is interesting to note that when King John of England was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, the document which introduced many concepts that were incorporated into the United States Constitution over 500 years later, that the “Sheriff” is mentioned 27 times (out of 63 clauses) in the document, and the powers of the crown to use him against the people was curtailed and defined.
When the idea of the Sheriff was brought to our shores in America, it was a lot closer to today’s idea of the Sheriff. Gone was the allegiance to the power of the state (or monarchy) but instead the allegiance was to the people who elected them. Thomas Jefferson described a Sheriff as ” the most important executive offices of the country”. High praise from a respected man.
The Sheriff in no uncertain terms is the highest law enforcement authority in his/her county. The Sheriff is elected by the people and charged to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and that of their own state. That is their duty and they are responsible directly to the people to perform that duty. The are the law of the county.
The Sheriff’s responsibility is to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens from wherever that encroachment occurs. Most people rightly attribute crime fighting to the Sheriff. That is a major responsibility. But the Sheriff’s responsibility does not end there. If ever a citizen of a county has their constitutional rights violated by any representative of the government, the first line of defense to this intrusion if the Sheriff. If an arrest is to be made in a county, the Sheriff has the right to be informed before the arrest is made in his/her county. The Sheriff should determine that the arrest is proper, and was properly adjudicated through the courts. Our federal government is having a much higher tendency to skip due process and render judgements which are unconstitutional.
In New Mexico, Sheriff Scott London of Eddy County notified the IRS that the sale of county resident Kent Carter’s property was canceled until he received due process of law and his appeal was heard. Yes, he successfully told the IRS “no”! Sheriff Richard Mack of Graham County Arizona was instrumental in the ruling Printz vs. United States in which parts of the Brady Bill were ruled unconstitutional. In Indiana, a farmer who produced raw milk was harassed by the FDA. They conducted warrantless searches of his property and even subpoenaed him to produce production records until Sheriff Brad Rogers interposed after inspecting the farm. He wrote the FDA a letter that stated they needed a signed court order and to get his permission before they visited the farm again. After that, a court date was cancelled and the farmer received no more inspections by the FDA. These are just a few cases that the Sheriff was involved in upholding their constituent’s rights.
The proposal to the Charter will be represented as a term limits amendment. The idea that moving the officers under a charter will be downplayed. “Nothing will change” they will say. “This will make the offices more accountable” they will say. It is true not much would change initially. But this move has a purpose. The charter can be changed and the roles of these officers circumscribed however the charter dictates. This is a move for future mischief. We the people directly control these offices. That is a check and balance built into our system. Don’t destroy another protection of the people by allowing this to pass.
Think of it like this. Do we want to move toward a Sheriff of Nottingham which performed the wishes of the Crown and oppressed the people or Sheriff Mack who successfully fought the government to protect the rights of his constituents? We can stop it easily by voting no on Charter Amendment 2.
Don’t fall for the gimmicks. Vote NO on Charter Amendment 2. Say no to big government control now and for the future.