Seminole Charter Review Chairman Larry Strickler mocked constitutional officers fighting to remain independent from an illegal takeover proposed by county officials on Tuesday.
By Jacob Engels
Larry Strickler has spent decades on the public dime, or in appointed roles on quasi-governmental boards since serving one term as a school board member in the mid 1990’s.
Strickler has spent the past few weeks arguing that Seminole County needs to take over the independent and duly elected Tax Collector’s office because Strickler has “personality differences” with newly elected Tax Collector Joel Greenberg.
As the Chairman of the Seminole County Charter Review Commission, Mr. Strickler is thumbing his nose at the residents of Central Florida and actively disrespecting the Democratic process.
In a sub-committee meeting of the CRC in mid-February, he actually argued that allowing unelected county bureaucrats to perform the functions of the Tax Collector would somehow be “closer to the people.”
Strickler thinks that because Miami-Dade and Broward County have done so, that Seminole County should model their government after the cesspool of corruption and bloated bureaucracy of South Florida.
During the public comment section of the most recent full committee meeting held on Tuesday, Strickler’s proposal was rebuffed by Seminole County Property Appraiser David Johnson, Clerk of Court Grant Maloy, and Sheriff Dennis Lemma.
Mr. Lemma gave an impassioned speech warning the CRC that any move to usurp the will of the voters and abolish any one of the constitutional offices in Seminole County would be a move against them all.
“The direct accountability of an elected official to the public is in complete contrast to appointed officials, who are accountable through governmental supervision only by those who appoint them.”
Sheriff Lemma promised to use all of his political capital to stop Mr. Strickler’s proposal and was followed by Clerk of Court and Comptroller Grant Maloy, who pointed to the higher millage and tax rates seen in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Volusia County where they rolled constitutional offices under the County’s purview.
“If the argument ‘economies of scale’ were true in government, then the federal government would be the most efficient system to deliver services in the history of mankind. Volusia County has been touted here as a model for consolidated government to copy.
But if they are so efficient why is their property tax rate so much higher at 22.7264 mills and Seminole is 15.4670? Our county would be better off if everyone just focused on doing the own job well and cooperated with each other to find efficiencies for the taxpayers.”
When presented with these facts from Maloy and Sheriff Lemma’s emotional plea for civility and respect for the Democratic process, Strickler scoffed and showcased his contempt for the area’s top-cop and other constitutional officers.
“I like the cheerleading, but it is not necessary. It’s not going to change my mind” proclaimed Strickler, before reiterating that his orders are only to explore disband the Tax Collector, for now.
Is that really how you behave when responding to Sheriff of Seminole County who works on a daily basis to keep residents safe Mr. Strickler? Your smarmy contempt for law enforcement, dually elected constitutional officers, and the Democratic process is troubling… to say the least.
It is rumored that Strickler will move in on the other constitutional officers when the Seminole County Commission realizes that abolishing the Tax Collector’s office will not be enough to fund the unfunded mandates his allies on the County Commission have forced upon taxpayers.
Seminole County Commission candidate Don Menzel, a former Chairman of the Soil and Water Commission, said that Strickler’s proposal was a “political witchhunt.”
“After bringing a lawsuit against one constitutional officer in an attempt to reduce his elected power and responsibilities; this evening they carried out what I would have to call a witch hunt against another elected constitutional officer in our county.”
Menzel continued, taking issue with the tone and attitude displayed by Strickler as he chastised the constitutional officers for defending the sanctity and independence of their offices.
“Worse still was the disrespect shown by Mr. Strickler to two of our other constitutional officers, by demeaning them with his comments calling them cheerleaders.”
Mr. Strickler, it’s time to come clean and bare all. Why do you continue to unfairly target dually elected constitutional officers, and who is ordering you to do so?
The Central Florida Post is actively investigating Mr. Strickler’s checkered past, and we will be publishing an ongoing series on his past “exploits” in the coming weeks.
Jacob Engels is an Orlando based journalist whose work has been featured and republished in news outlets around the globe including Politico, InfoWars, MSNBC, Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Daily Mail UK, Associated Press, People Magazine, ABC, Fox News, and Australia’s New Dawn Magazine. Mr. Engels focuses on stories that other news outlets neglect or willingly hide to curry favor among the political and business special interests in the state of Florida.