St. Johns County BoCC, Sheriff: MORE FINANCIAL FLUMMERY, DUPERY AND NINCOMPOOPERY?
- Last month, Sheriff ROBERT HARDWICK and compliant County officials proposed $55 million for a Sheriff's Command Center to be funded with a 15%+ sales tax increase four out of County Commissioners want us to buy, like a pig in a poke.
- I asked for supporting records on cost estimates.
- I was then asked by SJSO, in an email, "What Command Center?"
- I called and told them I saw it on the County Commission, watching Government TV Channel.
- I was told they did not watch County Commission meetings.
- As JFK said during the Cuban Missile Crisis, "There's always some poor SOB who doesn't get the word."
- Curious as to the basis of the Sheriff's publicly sought $55 million, I have waited for weeks, without documents.
- Today I read a puff piece in Florida Newsline, which contains HARDWICK's latest estimate, $40-50 million.
- $40 million is a 27.2727% decrease from the amount sought by Sheriff HARDWICK and Office of Management and Budget Director JESSE DUNN.
Our incurious St. John County County Administrator has an accounting degree, and a law degree from Florida Coastal. Waiting for him to recommend County Commission hire qualified people.
We need to hire an economist, instead of baby-talking through more corrupt St. Johns County financial flim-flam, flummery dupery and nincompoopery on taxes, and who is taxed and how.
To date, there has been no forensic audit provided of the Sheriff's Department in the wake of a five-year embezzlement scheme, totaling some $702,666. Only the actual embezzler has been held accountable.
Meanwhile, it is obvious that Sheriff HARDWICK spit-balled his inflated $55 million cost estimates based on undisclosed documents, if any, which have not seen the light of day,
This is not transparency.
Simply by my asking for records, which perhaps did not exist, I've managed to help shave off $15 million from the inflated estimated budget for Sheriff HARDWICK's Taj Mahal.
Meanwhile, Sheriff ROBERT HARDWICK is not averse to cameras, constantly mugging for cameras in public, while privately torpedoing any money for police body cameras, and any informed discussion about "his" budget.
County Commission needs to pass an ordinance requiring constitutional officers submit their budgets by May 1, 2022, and have a meaningful workshop, answering public questions, before Memorial Day. I've repeatedly asked County Commission to set the May 1, 2022 deadline, which is optional for counties to adopt under Florida law.
So far, not one Commissioner has spoken to the need to oversee the budgets of the five constitutional officers -- Sheriff, Clerk of Courts, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser and Supervisor of Elections.
It's almost as if they're other-directed hick hack sad sacks, incapable of conducting oversight hearings.
It's our money.
No explanation from SJSO about the 27.2727% change in the cost of the proposed Command Center.
No apology for providing unsupportable spitball numbers for our County Commissioners in support fo a 15%+ sales tax increase.
No respect for St. Johns County citizens and our intelligence.
Here's the softball "interview" by Florida Newsline, containing the inculpatory de facto admission by Sheriff ROBERT HARDWICK that his Command Center numbers were inflated -- a 27.2727 decrease from his request last month: