ASO requires Alachua County Commission approval when spending county funds, Florida Supreme Court rules

ASO requires Alachua County Commission approval when spending county funds, Florida Supreme Court rules
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 8:57 PM EST
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ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) - Florida’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Alachua County Commission in their feud with the sheriff’s office about spending.

The supreme court has ruled that the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office cannot use money from the county for purposes that have not been approved by county commissioners.

“This is a victory for good governance,” stated Alachua County Commission Chair Marihelen Wheeler. “This community deserves accountability, transparency, and clear communication between the County, the Constitutional Officers, and our citizens.”

The ruling is the result of a 2017 case. Then-sheriff Sadie Darnell tried moving around funds saying she could spend the money as she saw fit.

”The Supreme Court made it clear, they said from the ruling ‘we conclude that when seeking to transfer money between objects, the sheriff must follow the budgetary amendment process, established by the legislature in chapter 129.’ The Sheriff failed to do so in this case,” said Alachua County Communications Director Mark Sexton.

Sheriff Clovis Watson, who took office in 2021, released a statement that said he was not concerned with the ruling.

“The ruling from the Florida Supreme Court is not a concern. The Court’s decision does not change the way we have been operating over the past year, and we will continue to do so. The goal of my administration has always been to work in collaboration with the chair and Board of County Commissioners in order to serve the people of Alachua County, unimpeded and I am confident the Alachua County Commission shares the same vision as we move forward together.”

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