State and Local Government Structure and Operation
The proposal would require all charter county governments to have elected constitutional officers, including sheriffs. It would lead to the Legislature beginning its annual session in January in even numbered years. It would create an Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism in the Department of Law Enforcement. It also would revise the constitutional authority for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
The exact ballot summary language reads:
"Requires legislature to retain department of veterans’ affairs. Ensures election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties; removes county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties, or eliminate election of these offices. Changes annual legislative session commencement date in even-numbered years from March to January; removes legislature’s authorization to fix another date. Creates office of domestic security and counterterrorism within department of law enforcement."
On Wednesday, April 4, FAC sent a letter to the CRC Style and Drafting Committee regarding the ballot language on Amendment 10, then formally known as Proposal 6005. FAC found the ballot summary for Amendment 10 to be very misleading for voters. If you wish to few the letter FAC sent to the CRC, please click here.
During FAC's Annual Conference in June, the FAC Board of Directors voted to oppose Amendment 10.
Voters of charter counties are constitutionally empowered to determine whether or not the clerk of court should serve as the county finance officer; whether the tax collector, supervisor of elections, sheriff, and property appraiser should be elected; and whether the responsibilities of these officers to their local citizens should be determined by the voters through their county charter.
The ability of local voters to decide the best form of government for their communities is the foundation of home rule. Amendment 10 erodes that foundation focusing instead on political power grabs rather than respecting the discussion and decisions making authority of the citizens.
The local citizens are most attuned to the needs of their communities - not voters hundreds of miles away. If there is a need to change their local government structure, local voters can choose to make those changes on their own through their county charter.
Status of Constitutional Local Offices
The measure would prohibit counties from abolishing certain local offices—sheriff, tax collector, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, and clerk of the circuit court—and requiring elections for these offices. In Florida, counties with charter counties are allowed to alter the duties of constitutional local offices or abolish the offices.
The map illustrates which counties, as of 2018, are charter counties with altered offices, charter counties without altered offices, and non-charter governments.
Three separate lawsuits have been filed by Miami-Dade, Broward, and Volusia counties in Leon County Circuit Court. Each suit seeks to have the amendment removed from the November 2018 ballot on the grounds that the amendment (1) has misleading ballot language, (2) combines three separate subjects, and (3) would remove the counties' rights to self-governance.
With one vote in November, Florida residents can retain the state department of veterans affairs and create an office of counterterroism within the state department of law enforcement. But lumped into that same ballot measure is an unrelated decree that would throw Volusia County’s charter for a loop, at local taxpayers’ expense, by giving elected officers across the state, like sheriffs and property appraisers, full control of their budgets and personnel.
No need for 75 words to summarize Amendment 10. No need for such verbosity. Just choose a single word from the following list, any of which concisely describes the Constitution Revision Commission’s intent: Deceit. Sham. Fraud. Subterfuge. Flimflam. High-tone readers might prefer “artifice” to describe the commission’s ballot summary. My old granny would boil it down to “monkeyshine.”
Two Florida counties are asking a court to throw an amendment off the November ballot that asks voters around the state to overrule decisions made by their local voters on which of their officials should be elected.
Volusia County’s attorneys are challenging the wording of a November ballot measure that, if approved by state voters, they say would throw the county’s charter-protected structure of government for a loop at the expense of local taxpayers. One person opposed to the idea: Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
Warning that a constitutional amendment before voters will “gut” Miami-Dade County’s right to govern itself, the county has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate Amendment 10 on the November ballot. If adopted, it would require the county to elect a sheriff.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood wants to return the office he holds to its former independence from county government. He favors an amendment to Florida’s Constitution, scheduled on the November statewide ballot, that erodes county home rule power, and results in inefficient and more costly government. The sheriff’s proposed fix is inconsistent with his good instinct to democratize county government and improve the quality of its management.
Voters across Florida would be asked to decide if Miami-Dade County should have an elected sheriff. Greyhound racing would be banned in Florida. And the lieutenant governor would have to head a state agency.