Broward County Commissioner John Rodstrom angrily questioned why Sheriff Al Lamberti isn't at the budget workshop underway today.
He told Mayor Stacy Ritter that if he was running the meeting, he'd recess it and call Lamberti and summon him to County Hall. County commissioners want Lamberti to cut more than $50 million from his budget -- he has refused.
"We've got a sheriff who is refusing to be here, refusing to talk to us, refusing to negotiate with us,'' Rodstrom said.
Lamberti has said he can't cut without hurting public safety. His budget proposal is slightly bigger than this year but slows growth by laying off 177 employees, closing a jail and getting rid of drug treatment in the jails.
Ritter took Rodstrom's advice and stopped the meeting to call Lamberti. She got his voicemail, and officials resumed their meeting without the sheriff.
His spokesman later had this response for the media:
"Sheriff Lamberti had a full workday scheduled and was unable to attend the county commission workshop on a moment's notice today, but regarding that invitation, he is releasing this statement:
"What they (county commissioners) want me to do is to negotiate in front of the cameras and I'm not about to do that.''