Mayor To Sheriff: Can’t We All Just Get Along?


 ritter in house


The psychodrama that is the Broward County Commission’s attempts to cut its budget is coming to a crossroads.

They must find ways to cut the budget by millions within weeks.

Broward Sheriff’s Office is responsible for about half the county budget. Can commissioners negotiate with Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti to slice and dice his spending?



brcandidate25aNot really. That’s because the relationship between commissioners and Lamberti has congealed.

Both sides are spinning, not solving.

The issue:

Commissioners want Lamberti to shave more than $50 million from next year’s Broward Sheriff’s Office budget. Lamberti says cuts of what size would jeopardize public safety, sharply curtailing such services as the sheriff’s aviaition division, the DUI task force and the marine patrol.

Broward Mayor Stacy Ritter — trying to damp down the fiery rhetoric — has a message for Lamberti:

Can’t we all just get along?

In an exclusive interview with, Ritter talks about Lamberti, the bitter budget battle and the idea being floated to take over the jails from the sheriff.

Here are her major points:

1. The rumors are false that the commission is about to take over the jails and hire defeated Democratic Sheriff’s candidate Scott Israel to run them.

“No one has come to me and said we have to get Scott Israel a job, she says. “If sources inside the sheriff’s department are saying this, they are wrong. “

She questions if Israel, who was defeated by Lamberti in 2008, would ever get work from the county commission.

“Most of us thought he was a pathetic candidate.  I don’t believe any of us are looking to give him a job, Ritter says. “Our support for him was lukewarm at best.

2. It is prudent to study whether the county commission could operate the jail for less money than the sheriff.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t be upset with us trying to save money, the mayor says.

No one has ever put a price tag on the jail study, but “I know the sheriff’s people have been running around saying it will be $100,000, she says. “We don’t know what it will cost.  We haven’t even put out a (request for a proposal) yet

But if we do spend $100,000 and save $20 million, that’s money well-spent.

3. There is nothing partisan in the commissioner’s budget dispute with the sheriff.   The county commission is all-Democratic, while Lamberti is Republican.

“I have never heard a colleague say he’s a Republican.  It doesn’t come into the formula, Ritter insists. “We just believe in fairness—that he should bear a fair share of the budget cuts. There is nothing partisan about trying to save money.

4. The commission is ready to seriously negotiate with Lamberti.

“I believe we all are trying to do what’s best in trying times, Ritter says.

 “(However,) he might say he hasn’t drawn a line in the sand, but he also hasn’t suggested any substantial cuts, she says.

Ritter insisted that there is still fat in the sheriff’s budget which could be cut.  She alleged that the sheriff has administrators earning 3 percent extra risk pay “who are parked behind a desk.  If you want special risk benefits, you should be on the street.

She alleges that the police union may be willing to postpone scheduled raises to help the county.

And Ritter has an optimistic prediction. The mess can be solved if we talk.  If  the sheriff and commissioners are serious about saving money and services. 

“I know we can come to an accommodation,” Ritter says. “I know it.

18 Responses to “Mayor To Sheriff: Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

  1. A Pathetic Candidate? says:

    Here is the problem with Stacey Ritter. There appears to be no filter between her “brain” and her mouth, and increasingly it seems none between her brain and her better judgment.

    No politician whatsoever, under any circumstance, especially none in Ritter’s questionable position, should ever refer to any other politician in the manner that she does. It is low class of her to make such a comment.

    It is crass and unpolished and it clashes very disturbingly with the Mayor’s finer attributes.

    She should apologize for her completly unnecessary and foul attack on a man who served his community ably for decades and came withing a few mere thousand votes of being elected Sheriff.

    And if her support for Mr. Israel was indeed lukewarm then she is not much of a Democrat either and deserves what she got in Lamberti.

    And no I did not vote for Mr. Israel. Perhaps I should have. But I do not like seeing people being named “Mayor” of anything who act like Ms. Ritter. We deserve finer public officials than that. I also don’t like to see people kicked needlessly when they are down either. That’s something she herself should ponder based on the news accounts I read.

  2. Ridiculous says:

    This is the same Mayor Ritter who made an angry speech at the Democratic Executive Committee attacking the sheriff as a Republican. Non-partisan? Ha.

  3. Dear Mayor says:

    We know that the ENTIRE county commission is made up of liberal democrats.
    We know that the ENTIRE school board is made up of liberal democrats.
    Also, the Public Defender, State Attorney, Supervisor of Elections, Property Appraiser and Clerk of Courts are all democrats. All liberal, with perhaps the exception of the State Attorney.
    All of the above were elected, for the most part by the condos in the western part of Broward.
    The Republicans finally have an elected official in the Sheriff.
    That’s not acceptable.
    This county has been corrupt and poorly run for years almost entirely by liberal democrats scratching each others backs and lining their pockets.
    Now, you want to run over and then back over the one Republican office holder.
    Your hyper-partisanship is sickening, destructive and un-American.
    I can’t wait to see you in stripes.

  4. A concerned citizen says:

    There is not going to be $50 million to cut from BSO not matter what “Fat” gets trimmed. Jails run by the county would be a MESS. The lawyers must be drooling over the mere prospect. Does this mayor even pay attention to the news? Crime is skyrocketing, criminals get bolder and more violent with each month as the economy worsens. Support law enforcement and fire rescue or get voted out at the next election Mayor Ritter. The people of Broward deserve safer streets!

  5. Truth Hurts says:

    The comment by Mayor Ritter was correct. Israel was a pathetic candidate. Nowhere does it say anything about him as a politician or a person. But as a candidate he was absolutely pathetic. This is simply an objective fact. With the turnout of Ds at the last election, no way should Israel have lost. He had no plan to get any of the Obama voters. He wasted his campaign money on b*sh*t. Took money back and paid himself back rather that spending the money on GOTV and per the news reports failed to pay his vendors. As a candidate he was pathetic. I remember a few elections ago, when Markham ran for property appraiser D with no name ID and no money came within a few thousand votes as well. Israel should have won hands down if he just ran a decent General Election campaign.

  6. Truth Hurts Wrong says:

    Truth Hurts is wrong. Scott Israel lost his campaign because of two factors. One involved the Democrats and one the Republicans.

    First the Democrats. This county has no discipline within the party structure and as a result we had two good Democrats running against each other in a bitter primary. Who the Democratic nominee would be should have been worked out knowing they had a strong incumbent candidate. By the time either of them got through the primary, the other would have been finished financially and politically hurt by the other in terms of the horrible things said. Israel came out of that primary financially tapped.

    Lamberti didn’t have a primary at all. So the Republicans got to save all their money and plan early for what they were going to do during the general election race. The strategy worked. They spent nearly a half million dollars on negative TV ads that accused an honest cop of being a dishonest cop. They threw every single accusation possible at an honest man knowing he was innocent of everything said. And the people bought it, enough at least to allow Lamberti to win his race.

    That’s what happened.

  7. Pathetic Candidate says:

    Who ran the Pathetic Candidate’s campaign?

  8. Truth Hurts says:

    I disagree. There have been many democrtic primaries in the past. Does one think the decks should have been cleared for Israel in the Democratic primary. Remember was a republican up until a few months before. Primaries are good things, not bad. Israel ran one of the worst general election campaigns in the history of Broward. He gave Lamberti’s negative ads more legs thanLamberti gave them. He repeated every negative story in his ads. He showed up at events looking like a hot head carrying a gun. The disparity in money should not have mattered based on the turnout in the election.

  9. rich valleau says:

    israel had all the charm of a cobra, and all the trust of a used car salesman.his campaign consisted of barbeques and bounce houses at the union hall, and alcohol fueled rallies at a local sports in 72, this was a lesser of 2 evils. as for ritter, she needs to go back to her radio show and resume her tired rhetoric of bush bashing.

  10. Weapon of Mass Distraction says:

    Listen, Ritter and the rest of the D Leadership are trying to distract from the real reason for the Lamberti victory. The Democratic Party in Broward does not exist. Ceaser and crew are corrupted officials who cannot move votes just line their pockets.Period. And there exists No Union or Partisan Dem organization to pick up the slack.

    Ritter et al. are now trying to divert from this fact. A fact EXPOSED by Lamberti’s victory.

    Like a campaign consultant friend of mine from NYC asked me recently when I was ranting about our loss to Lamberti:

    How Many doors did Mitch Knock on?

  11. D's Can Run In Primaries But says:

    Nobody says D’s can’t run against each other in primaries. But there should be a line drawn when it comes to how D’s campaign against each other. Same with R’s running against each other.

    From a party politics perspective the job of a primary is to get the strongest candidate from within a party to run in the general election. For that reason alone negative campaigning should always come from the other party camp; never from within your own party. Primaries between candidates of the same party should be about who is better qualified to serve in office. Reagan had it right — never speak ill of a fellow Republican. Democrats have not learned that smart lesson and that’s why too many of them go limping into general elections against the other party which while smaller in number here in Florida is generally smarter in how they operate.

    More than any other factor, this is what made the difference in the Sheriff election.

    The Republicans did not win the Sheriff seat. The Democrats lost it. There’s a big difference.

    People like Ritter who say they are Democrats but didn’t help Israel win need to stew in that fact for a while. Because while she may think that her party’s champion for that seat was not up to “her” standards, of all things, what she ended up with is a Republican.

    Nice trade, Stacy.

  12. About the Gun and Party Thing says:

    Oh, and about the gun. People like to forget this fact, but while running for Sheriff, Scott Israel was a police chief and was entitled and in some ways duty bound to carry his firearm. No different than Al Lamberti. So enough with this gun business. That’s another ploy that was brought out. Suddenly a cop with a gun is a problem? And people here buy that bullshit?


    As to switching parties, look. I can see the Republicans ribbing a guy because he changes parties. But when the Democrats themselves to that to one of their own converts, yet tell people that they want others to convert to become Democrats, that’s just duplicitous. A person is entitled to change parties and run for office. Nobody should ever question such a thing unless they are no longer interested in converts. The issue is not the switching of parties. The issue is whether they campaign and ultimately govern in accordance with those principles or not.

    The Democrats killed their own candidate. That’s why Israel lost, like is said above, the Republican’s didn’t win it. They did what was expected of them. It was the Democrats that defeated Scott Israel.

  13. Capt Bill says:

    All these comments are pure BS as seen by an average “look for the best man voter”.
    Get back on track: How should we solve this real budget problem ? Any Ideas?
    I don’t expect any, but it would be nice.

  14. Broward Resident says:

    One, Israel was a lifelong Republican until this election, even acted as committeeman. Republicans didn’t vote for him in part due to this fact, and educated Democrats (oxymoron?) couldn’t trust him. He almost won anyway, with that D beside his name on the ballot. Israel had a questionable record at FLPD, and ran a rinky-dink speed-trap on the 79th Street Causeway. Hardly worthy of being Sheriff.

    As for the Mayor’s quote that, “I have never heard a colleague say he’s a Republican. It doesn’t come into the formula,” Ritter insists. “We just believe in fairness—that he should bear a fair share of the budget cuts. There is nothing partisan about trying to save money,” Ritter must be tone-deaf. Commissioner Jacobs spouts off on a regualr basis about the “Republican Sheriff.” Commissioner Keechl has made that remark on the dais. Ritter herself went to a safe place, The Broward Democratic Club meeting, and ranted about the Republican Sheriff. Check the verbatim minutes from the last few months of County Commission meetings. They do not lie.

  15. So What says:

    I think one of the worst phrases in politics is “I belong to _____ party.” People do not and should never BELONG to any political party. People should and have a right to join any political party they wish, and should likewise retain the right to sever that relationship and make another choice. Both parties seek converts. For any member of any party to chastise a convert for becoming a convert, while encouraging others to become converts, is not only a troublesome policy, it’s idiotic.

    So long as a convert operates in general accordance with the principles of that party, it should be absolutely fair game. There is nothing at all wrong with that. Parties need to know that they are accountable to their members, otherwise they will leave them, and not so much the other way around. That is good policy.

    Frankly, the truly immoral move is for one to stay a member of any political party that no longer espouses the views they presently hold, simply because they were always a Democrat or always a Republican. All party members should be greater encouraged to vote with their feet because the parties would be better that way.

    Reagan was a Democrat remember before he became a Republican.

    If he can change parties and be elected President then why can’t someone change parties and be elected to lower office? What, is the rule now to be that if you change parties, that’s OK but you can’t run for office? What kind of rule would that be?

    Get with it.

  16. Capt Bill says:

    So What Nailed It.
    You Political Animals Need to Wake Up and start to do the Public’s Business.

  17. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    I totally agree with concerned citizen, that crime is more brazen and skyrocketing. We can’t bring out the National Guard to help with this craziness, if the budget gets cut, they are all in Iraq. With that much of budget cuts people should be afraid to leave their homes. Let the commission cut xome of their off the wall expenses and trips, etc.

  18. Hey Beth says:

    What’s a wall expense and what does Iraq have to do with BSO’s budget?