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Senator wants to force Dade to elect sheriff, election supervisor


Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, is not okay with counties whose charters or laws allow them to appoint top officials.

And he's proposed five constitutional amendments requiring that sheriffs, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, property appraisers and clerks of courts must be elected in Florida.

In most of the state, these are elected positions, but several counties have laws in place to appoint constitutional officers. Most notably, Miami-Dade County has an appointed director of public safety (instead of a sheriff), supervisor of elections and tax collector.

"Consolidation of power is a problem, and that's not what the founding fathers of this country and the founding fathers of this state had in mind," Artiles said. "I truly believe that someone who's elected by the people, represents the people and answers ot the people is a better representative than someone who's appointed."

Allowing county commissions or mayors to appoint top officials, he said, creates opportunities for corruption, like a supervisor of elections helping out a mayor facing an election challenge.

Artiles filed a single constitutional amendment to make these changes as a member of the House last year. It never made it to the floor.

To pass, Artiles' proposal would need approval by three-fifths of the Senate and three-fifths of the House, as well as support from 60 percent of voters in the 2018 election. It would apply statewide.

"It works in 66 out of 67 counties," he said. "In Miami-Dade it doesn't make sense that the sheriff's office is folded into the mayor's office."