City government

Some question residency requirement, others say sheriff should live in Duval County

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – On Friday, the city of Jacksonville was still awaiting word from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis about who will be the temporary sheriff of Duval County.

Sheriff Mike Williams still holds that position until his retirement on June 10.

At issue is his move from Duval County to Nassau County — which, according to the General Counsel’s draft notice, means Williams has left office. But some ask why this residency requirement is in place.

“The actual sheriff must reside in Jax, MAKES NO SENSE,” News4JAX Insider Tow Missile wrote. “Jacksonville will suffer from keeping this part of the city’s charter in place.”

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But those we spoke with in downtown Jacksonville on Friday had different views.

Jacksonville resident Scott Pepis thinks the Jacksonville Sheriff should live in Duval County.

“I think to be an ambassador for Jacksonville you have to be involved in the community as much as possible and be part of it all to live in the community,” Pepis said.

Jacksonville resident John Lee agrees.

“I believe if you serve and protect your neighborhood, you should live in the neighborhood,” Lee said.

Yet another News4JAX insider, Larry 19, said, “If the sheriff has to live in Jacksonville, why don’t all the other police personnel live there too! Shouldn’t they be there to protect their city! As he would.

On Friday, I spoke with News4JAX political analyst Rick Mullaney, who was the city’s lead attorney, about this rule and asked why the rule applies to the sheriff and not other members. of the department.

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“Generally it is reserved for elected officials with the thought being that you should live in the county among the people who elected you and understand the county well to serve it,” Mullaney said. “Sometimes this extends to certain appointed officials, but it rarely applies to typical employees who are not elected.”

In a statement Thursday, the Fraternal Order of Police of Jacksonville congratulated Williams on his years of service and said he looked forward to working with whoever the new sheriff is. I wanted to ask the local FOP on Friday if the residency requirement for the sheriff matters, but the president doesn’t comment.

On Monday, the Jacksonville City Council will hold a special noon meeting to iron out details for a special election to be held in August. This is followed by a run-off general election in November. The winner will complete Williams’ term, which ends in July 2023.

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If things go well, Jacksonville could have four different sheriffs over the next year: Williams the acting sheriff, the sheriff who wins the special election, and then the sheriff who wins the regular election next spring.

I’ve contacted the sheriff since the residency issue came to light. He spoke to us on Monday, but on Friday he hadn’t called back.

It’s important to note that Williams is still the sheriff, and in the event a replacement isn’t made before the special election is held, Deputy Sheriff Pat Ivey will lead the department. But, again, no decision has been announced.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Investigations Chief TK Waters, who some in city government say is the favorite as a temporary replacement, announced on Friday that he is stepping down from the sheriff’s office. and planned to run in the special election.

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