For some fifteen (15) years, St. Augustine Beach Building and Zoning Director, GARY RAYMOND LARSON, paid a salary of $85,000/year for full-time work, has been in apparent flagrant violation of the Florida Constitution's prohibition on "dual officeholding," also working as the building official for the Town of Hilliard and the Town of Callahan. This is the same man responsible for the recent twin debacles of the too-tall Embassy Suites Hotel and Mayor RICHARD BURTT O'BRIEN'S setback violation on his McMansion at 16 F Street (for which a stop work order was finally issued today).
I have written St. Augustine Beach Commissioners. As we say in Latin, "Fiat justitia rust caelum" --
"Let justice be done though the heavens fall."
From: Ed Slavin
Sent: Fri, Jun 9, 2017 8:56 pm
Subject: GARY RAYMOND LARSON: unconstitutional dual officeholding as building official of three (3) Florida towns?
From Florida Attorney General's website:
Introduction: What is dual officeholding?
- What is an "office" for purposes of the dual officeholding prohibition?
- Are law enforcement officers or correctional officers "officers" for purposes of the dual officeholding prohibition?
- Are special masters "officers" for purposes of the dual officeholding prohibition?
- Are officers of special districts included within the dual officeholding prohibition?
- May an officer perform ex officio the duties of another officer without violating Article II, s. 5(a), Florida Constitution?
- What are the exceptions to the constitutional prohibition against dual officeholding?
- How does the constitutional prohibition against dual officeholding apply when one of the offices is a federal office or an office in another state or under a foreign government?
- What are the consequences of a public officer accepting a second office in violation of the constitutional dual officeholding prohibition?
- Do common law principles prohibit a public agency from appointing one of its members to a position over which it has appointment power?
What is dual officeholding? Article II, section 5(a), of the Florida Constitution, provides in part:
No person holding any office of emolument under any foreign government, or civil office of emolument under the United States or any other state, shall hold any office of honor or of emolument under the government of this state. No person shall hold at the same time more than one office under the government of the state and the counties and municipalities therein, except that a notary public or military officer may hold another office, and any officer may be a member of a constitution revision commission, taxation and budget reform commission, constitutional convention, or statutory body having only advisory powers.
The term "office" implies a delegation of a portion of the sovereign power to, and the possession of it by, the person filling the office, while an "employment" does not comprehend a delegation of any part of the sovereign authority. The term "office" embraces the idea of tenure, duration, and duties in exercising some portion of the sovereign power, conferred or defined by law and not by contract. An employment does not authorize the exercise in one's own right of any sovereign power or any prescribed independent authority of a governmental nature; and this constitutes, perhaps, the most decisive difference between an employment and an office . . . .
It can hardly be questioned that a patrolman on a city police force is clothed with the sovereign power of the city while discharging his duty. . . . True, he is an employee of the city but he is also an officer. It is the character of the duty performed that must determine his status.
Rather, correctional officers have only been authorized to arrest any convict who has escaped or any person who, without authority, interferes with or interrupts the work of a prisoner or the discipline or good conduct of a prisoner, or who by illicit means attempts to gain admission to a state correctional institution.
No person holding any office of emolument under any foreign government, or civil office of emolument under the United States or any other state, shall hold any office of honor or of emolument under the government of this state. . . .
Ordinarily, acceptance of one office while holding another office results in a vacancy of the first office. . . . The constitutional prohibition provides no sanction for its violation and it is apparent that the general rule was adopted from the generally accepted common law rule that by the acceptance of an incompatible office, the officeholder had made a binding election which ipso facto vacated the first office. . . . Although Florida recognizes this rule, it appears Florida also recognizes that in such a situation the officer becomes a de facto officer as to the first office. (citations omitted)