GOP Chief Slams County Commission Over Attacks On Sheriff

chip lamarcaChip Lamarca 


Finally, somebody has said it.

Unfortunately, it is the Broward Republican chair Chip Lamarca who is criticizing the county commission for politicizing the budget issue.

Right message.  Wrong messenger.



His comments, below in a news release, will be interpreted as doing just what he accuses the commissioners of — politicizing the budget process.  

He is the Republican chairman.  The all-Democratic county commission will wrap themselves in righteousness.  They will say that Lamarca is only attacking them because they are Democrats.

The truth is that Lamarca is right.

County commissioners are only pressuring Sheriff Al Lamberti because he is a Republican.  They never squeezed the previous sheriff Ken Jenne, who is a Democrat.

County commissioners are intent on forcing cities to pay more for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, with that money going to balance their own bloated budget. 

That way they won’t have to drastically cut all the frills.

What Lamarca needs to do as a Lighthouse Point commissioner is to get other city officials together. Have them demand the county commission leave the sheriff alone. 

Otherwise these cities will end up paying more for less police and fire services. 

And the cuts  that county commissioners are demanding will come out of the police protection in all the cities BSO patrols like Cooper City, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Parkland,  Pembroke Park, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, Southwest Ranches, Weston, West Park and the unincorporated areas.

I don’t agree with Lamarca on everything. I don’t believe  privatization of the jails is the answer. 

Many privately-run jails have been nightmares — poorly trained guards violating the rights of prisoners, many who haven’t been convicted of anything yet.  

Have county commissioners considered privatizing other county functions not under the sheriff?  Weston privatizes just about everything and saves money that way.

Commissioners need to realistically cut their own budget.  Then they’ll have the right to ask for cuts from the sheriff.

Here is Lamarca’s news release:




Fort Lauderdale – Broward County Republican Party Chairman Chip LaMarca today called upon the Broward County Commission to “quit playing politics with our public safety and released the following statement:


“I have remained silent over the past several weeks while watching the Broward County Commission turn the budget debate with the Broward Sheriff’s Office into a political circus.  The last straw was when the Democratic Mayor went before a partisan group of Democrats to criticize the Sheriff.


Most disturbing is that the Commission, which refuses to meaningfully tighten its own budgetary belt, wants to spend $100,000 of the taxpayers’ money to hire a consultant to study whether the County should operate the jail.  Only Commissioner Kristin Jacobs exhibited any sense of maturity and common sense when she correctly stated that she was elected to be a Commissioner, not to be the Sheriff. 


 Her colleagues apparently disagree and continue to micromanage the BSO.  Do Broward residents really want nine politicians to be in charge of running the jail, or be responsible for public safety at the Airport and Port?  I don’t think so.  In a man-made or natural disaster, do they want to have BSO and its professional law enforcement teams in charge or the nine Commissioners with no expertise in such matters?


The Commission’s latest shot across the bow to BSO is a county audit alleging that some or all of 14 Broward communities are underpaying for police and/or fire protection.  In essence, the Commission is putting the squeeze on many of the very cities, and constituents, that the Commissioners represent. 


The Broward City County Management Association reportedly is thinking of hiring   its own consultant to review the County’s audit.  I urge them to proceed and would hope that the Broward League of Cities would join in such an effort.


It is also time for the Mayors and other elected and appointed officials in the 14 cities which contract with BSO to speak up and tell the Commission to ‘Back off and quit playing games with the safety of their residents.’  Or, will they remain silent out of fear of political reprisals from the Democratic Party?

 Did the Commission ask for an audit under the former Sheriff?

 Were Commissioners concerned about such costs prior to last year’s election?

 Also deserving of mention is the fact that the Commission has not discussed jail privatization as an option and one Commissioner has discounted that concept. 

If Commissioners were sincere, it seems all options would be explored including privatization.  Would it reduce costs, improve quality of service, provide more flexibility in hiring and firing, lower fringe benefits and increase efficiencies?  Is this a better alternative to the County Commission being a jailer?  We do not know because most of them would rather focus on the Sheriff and play ‘gotcha politics’. 

 Commissioners need to be reminded that the election is over.  If they want to campaign against the Sheriff, let them wait until 2010 and quit playing politics with our public safety.

4 Responses to “GOP Chief Slams County Commission Over Attacks On Sheriff”

  1. Democrat says:

    Chip Lamarca Who? This is Democrat Country. Why should anyone care about Lamarca?

  2. Score Keeper says:

    Buddy, is it typical that a GOP Sheriff candidate would have over $515,000 in campaign expenditures to a small PR firm in central FL when the total raised was $785,000? That ratio seems unlikely and out of whack? What do you think about that? You have tracked a lot of campaigns in your career, how does that stack up?

  3. Buddy You Have Blind Spot says:

    Buddy my friend you have a blind spot for this Sheriff. A huge one.

    First, there was no financial crisis when Jenne was Sheriff. That’s a big distinction right there. Given the depth of this crisis it’s likely they would have had to lean on Ken to get a balanced budget also. Perhaps they should have been better about reigning in that spending under Jenne as well. They didn’t. It’s still not the issue. They must do it now. They have no choice.

    The real issue is that Al Lamberti gets 55% of all tax dollars collected and he has no accountability for his spending to the public. All BSO Sheriff’s have enjoyed that ride, it needs to end. It simply does not take all the money we give to BSO, and not nearly the number of staff for them to perform their function.

    Sheriff is not the only thing the Commission is required to do for residents. They have legitimate other functions. Everything is being cut but they cannot absorb a $100 million deficit without the Sheriff kicking in some serious dollars. A big part of the problem is that this Sheriff, as a candidate, sold out to the PBA who refused to endorse him unless he agreed to give their members a %5 raise with money he didn’t have. Then he sold his soul to a former opponent, Wiley, who turned around and endorsed him and now landed a $120,000 job. You can’t pull shit like that and avoid the consequences.

    Now comes time to pay the piper. This is not political. It is business. Ken Jenne would have had to fork up his share just like everybody else. So must Lamberti.

    You have a blind spot for this guy. Stop making silly excuses for this guy. He needs to cut his budget just like everybody else and still get the job done, just like everybody else. That’s what we elected him to do.

  4. Floridan says:

    Once agin, the obvious solution is an appointed sheriff.

    Municipalities that outsource their law enforcement to the BSO should pay, at the very least, the total cost of those services — Broward County should not subsidize police services for cities.