Broward sheriff could learn fate by end of week, DeSantis says decision to remove a public official is difficult

by | Jan 9, 2019

If you listen to what Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is reportedly telling his staff, he’ll soon be removed from his duties as sheriff by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Florida’s 46th governor suggested last week that a decision about Israel’s political fate could come in the first week of his administration. Based on what Israel has been telling his staff, the decision has already been made.

An official decision has yet to be announced by the Governor’s Office, but the head of the Broward Sheriff’s union told the Miami Herald that Israel has notified his staff that he expects to be removed from his position by DeSantis.

“We know that he is telling everyone at the public safety building that he is going to be gone,’’ said Jeff Bell.

A decision on Israel’s future as Broward Sheriff is expected soon. DeSantis’ press secretary David Vasquez says an announcement could come by the end of the week.

Israel has been criticized for his agency’s handling of last year’s school shooting in Parkland in which 17 students and staff were killed. DeSantis had said during the gubernatorial campaign that Israel should have been suspended from his job.

“There will be executive actions on potentially a number of local officials in a relatively short time of taking office,” DeSantis said on Monday.

He says the decision to remove an official is a difficult two-part process — deciding whether an official deserves to be suspended from their duties and finding a qualified person to fill the position being vacated  by the their removal.

“If you’re going to suspend somebody, that’s kind of one step,” DeSantis said. “The other step is you got to appoint a replacement as well.”

“The goal is not to like, oh, this person is politically different than me. If you’re going to do it, get somebody in there who’s going to do a good job,” DeSantis continued. “The second part kind of gets lost with who you’re going to put in.”

One name being mentioned as a possible successor  has the qualifications for the job that DeSantis would be looking for. Former Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, a Republican, has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the job.

The 62-year-old Israel has indicated he will challenge any action to remove him from office. He admits errors were made by his agency in responding to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last February. But, Israel insists none of those mistakes warrant his removal from his post as Broward County Sheriff.



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