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Sheriff Defends Not Filing Report After His Department Car Is Scraped in Out-of-State Personal Trip

| October 8, 2013

The sheriff's white Charger at Celico Auto.

The sheriff’s white Charger at Celico Auto.

In early August Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre took a family road trip to see his daughter and son-in-law in Virginia, visiting a few colleges along the way with his son. The sheriff took his department-issued 2013 Dodge Charger SXT for the trip, his own vehicle being “down” at the time, he said.

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While the car was parked in Charlottesville, Va., a U-Hall truck struck it, causing minor damage to the rear bumper. The driver of the U-Hall left contact information on the Charger’s windshield.

As soon as the vehicle was back in Flagler Manfre turned over the matter to the county government fleet operation, with which the sheriff merged in a cost-saving measure. The fleet department is required to get three quotes before proceeding with a repair job, however minor. It got two—a $340 quote from J&J Auto Body in Bunnell, and a $255 quote from Flagler Collision in Palm Coast. The job, according to Flagler Collision, required about five hours’ labor (body work and paint) plus supplies.

The county contacted Celico Auto in Bunnell to get a third quote but never received it. Celico called the sheriff’s assistant and said Celico Auto would work on the car. The job was done for free, rendering the county’s role “a moot point,” according to Carl Laundrie, a county spokesman.

The Sheriff’s handling of the issue went counter to several department policies, at least as far as those policies apply to the rest of the ranks at the Sheriff’s Office. Aside from taking the vehicle out of county on a personal trip, Manfre didn’t file a damage and incident report, and the repairs were not completed according to county procedures.

Manfre was elected on a platform that stressed ethical propriety, to contrast himself with Don Fleming, the former sheriff, who was prone to making ethical lapses and misjudgments—and whose department-issued vehicle was a colossal gas-guzzling SUV, compared to Manfre’s more economical sedan. (Manfre says he’s put only 13,000 miles on it in 10 months.)

Department policy grants deputies the use of department vehicles, with conditions. The policy does not explicitly forbid the use of the vehicles for personal reasons (except for out-of-county residents who work at the sheriff’s office). In fact, cops will respond to calls at times when off-duty. But it does forbid the vehicles’ use in private, non-police jobs. And the cars may not be taken out of county without permission. Such permission is usually granted for police- or education-related uses.

Manfre concedes that taking the vehicle to Virginia was an error. He said he had a brief window of time to see his son-in-law, who was in from abroad. Since he couldn’t take his own car, he had to choose between taking the Dodge and making the visit happen, or not seeing his family. He chose the former. Nevertheless, “I made a poor choice,” he said. “That won’t happen again.” He also noted that as sheriff, ““I’m on duty 24 hours, seven days a week, so I take the vehicle when I travel.”

On the other issues, however, Manfre said he violated no policies. He said the Charger was struck while parked. Since it was not struck while the car was moving, it did not rank as a crash, so no crash or incident report was necessary once back in Flagler. The policy, he said, “is intended if there’s some sort of moving violation.”

That may be news to deputies, who have filed incident reports involving so much as nicks in their windshields—or scratched paint that they’ve uncovered after having parked their car somewhere. The eight-page policy itself, titled “Agency Vehicle Crashes,” effective since 2011 and now bearing Manfre’s signature, makes no distinctions between moving and non-moving vehicles—and specifies that incidents in parking lots are part of the policy. The policy defines “minor crashes” this way: “Crashes usually described as fender benders and include parking lot crashes, crashes where your vehicle backs into fixed objects like poles or other automobiles, or crashes involving minor scrapes. Generally, a minor crash is one in which there appears to be no possibility of injury and all vehicles involved are drivable.”

That’s in large part a description of the parking-lot collision that scarped the Charger’s bumper (an incident Manfre said was not even a “fender-bender”).


Many of the policy’s requirements are not relevant to this incident since it did not rise to the level of requiring a Crash Review Board or the call to an insurance claims adjuster (which kicks in with damage estimated at more than $1,000). But the policy is explicit about maintenance of “all records of crashes,” and of having purchase orders of repairs completed and forwarded to the financial division, with administrative approval. “Records shall be responsible for forwarding copies of all Flagler County Sheriff’s Office traffic crash and vehicle damage reports to Human Resources and Fleet Maintenance.”

No such reports were generated.

“I’m the head of the agency, I knew what occurred,” Manfre said, noting that the reporting requirements are required and generated through the chain of command so supervisors have a clear idea of what took place and how to respond. Since Manfre is at the top of the chain, “It would have been a little bit of a useless act,” he said.

The sheriff bristled at the suggestion that he was either attempting to hide the fact of the accident—which he said he reported immediately to fleet maintenance—or not abide by the rules. “The reason for that policy is so that upper management knows what’s going on. In this case I knew directly what had happened,” Manfre said. “I believe I abided by the spirit of the policy and the letter in terms of notifying the county that the vehicle needed repair.”

As for Celico doing the job, Manfre said he was out of the loop of the bidding process. “I get a call from Celico to bring the vehicle over. At that point I assumed he’d won the bid,” Manfre said. “I didn’t call Celico up and say, hey fix my car.” (Carlo Celico’s son is a sheriff’s deputy, and his late son Frank was a sergeant at the Sheriff’s Office when he died unexpectedly in 2011). “They sent out the bid, next thing we got the call from Celico, bring the vehicle in.” Manfre said he was not aware that there was no payment. “That was up to him to decide, it’s between him and the county,” the sheriff said, though by then the county was no longer involved.

Celico did nothing wrong: businesses will often offer their services to local agencies. But government agencies have policies and procedures in place to ensure that one business is not favored over another, to prevent so much as the appearance of a government agency accepting favors. In this case, both the county and the sheriff say they were not involved in the decision: the county’s fleet management department’s process was rendered unnecessary once Celico fixed the car, and the sheriff said he assumed the car was fixed within the parameters of the county’s policy.

There was no paperwork along the way, so as far as the sheriff’s office’s records are concerned, the incident may as well never have happened.

A Dodge Charger SXT similar to the one Sheriff Jim Manfre drives in his capacity as Sheriff.

A Dodge Charger SXT similar to the one Sheriff Jim Manfre drives in his capacity as Sheriff.

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81 Responses for “Sheriff Defends Not Filing Report After His Department Car Is Scraped in Out-of-State Personal Trip”

  1. Tom says:

    Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre should have and could have rented a car or flown to Virginia like everyone else when they take a personal trip.

    • Lil John says:

      The Sheriff of Nottingham using the peasants taxes for his own benefit. I believe its time for Robin to show up now !

  2. Omer Smith says:

    What happened to “renting a car” for the trip to Virginia? One would think that on the “Sheriff’s salary”, he would rent a vehicle for the quickie trip and then no questions would have surfaced. Just asking, you know.

  3. brian says:

    oy vey..get over it already

  4. Reaganomicon says:

    “He said he had a brief window of time to see his son-in-law, who was in from abroad. Since he couldn’t take his own car, he had to choose between taking the Dodge and making the visit happen, or not seeing his family. ”

    Or he could have done what the rest of us have to do in situations like this, he could have just rented a car from enterprise or the equivalent. Instead, he chose to abuse county resources, get in a wreck, and then to hide this fact from the books he had a friend fix it for free. There’s your ethics right there.

    I wonder who paid for the gas.

    [That detail should have been part of the story: the sheriff was asked about gas, and said he paid for it, not the SO.–FL]

  5. Local Business Owner says:

    With a VERY generous salary, your going to tell me he couldn’t rent a car like any other person? You don’t see City of Palm Coast worker taking a F-150 out of state when their vehicle “breaks down”. Maybe Sheriff Manfre should read his own policy.

    “Crashes usually described as fender benders and include parking lot crashes, crashes where your vehicle backs into fixed objects like poles or other automobiles, or crashes involving minor scrapes. Generally, a minor crash is one in which there appears to be no possibility of injury and all vehicles involved are drivable.”

    Is this not the EXACT description of what happened?!

    Lastly, how is the ethics commission not involved at this point with this “Sheriff” accepting a gift of free repair to his agency issued vehicle?! He is trying to blame the County, yet isn’t he responsible for his budget? Wouldn’t vehicle repair/maintenance under his eye? If this happened in the private sector, or another Deputy took an unmarked Crown Victoria out of state, they would be FIRED no questions asked!

    Has the County looked into his agency issued credit card yet? Maybe we should see who paid for the gas, meals and lodging?

    • Rick says:

      “Has the County looked into his agency issued credit card yet? Maybe we should see who paid for the gas, meals and lodging?”
      Local Business Owner, you really need to inquire as to who foot all those bills? I bet I have a dam good idea, people like you & me, taxpayers. I’d even be willing to put my next check on it.
      But then again I will admitt that I have been wrong before. I’m so far from being perfect. Should I ever discover that I’m completely wrong on this one, not only will I surrender my next check, I will make it a point to apologize to Sheriff Manfre, personally. That’s the type of guy I just happen to be.

    • Nathan says:

      I’m no expert on the Florida’s Ethics Commission Rules, but I think this should have or should be reported to the Commission.

      http://www.ethics.state.fl.us/publications/gifts%20info_2007_web.pdf

  6. Jennifer Lopez says:

    Teh SHeriff should have a 24/7 car. IN the real world outside of Flagler , he more than likely would

  7. TheBoss says:

    What a joke. He “bristled” at the idea that he did something wrong? Really? Taking a county vehicle to Virginia to visit your kids is supposed to be “ok”? Come on, man! Garbage in, garbage out at this sheriff’s office. It took what, eight months, for him to be just as bad as Fleming in 8 years? Where is the outrage? Forget the accident, forget the cover-up attempt with Celico, how about the outrage at taking this car out of state on a completely personal trip? RENT A CAR!

    • Comonsense1 says:

      Comparing Manfre to Flemming is comparing apples to rotten oranges. Virgina is an 8 hour drive from here. To think that he couldn’t respond on short notice if a major incident occurred is foolish. And if something of great magnitude did come up, the tax payers of the county would have expected it. His mileage indicates he does not use the car excessively. Furthermore he reported the accident when he returned, so how is he hiding anything?

  8. are you for real says:

    Wow! are you telling us that our Sheriff is honest? No way. Wow here you were firing people for doing dishonest things and who’s going to fire you. I can not believe that you violated your own agencies policy of taking your patrol car out of state and then have an accident in the vehicle and not report it. Then try to fix the car so that no one would know. Well I know I wont be voting for you come next elections. Thanks for the eye opener. Manfre you are not as smart as I thought you were.

  9. FiveO says:

    So does that mean I can stop responding to parking lot crashes now since there’s no need for a report? I doubt it. If my personal vehicle is down I can now take my cop car wherever I need to go? I doubt it. DOUBLE STANDARD!

  10. K says:

    Anyone who is surprised clearly didn’t pay attention last time this guy was Sheriff. This is Fleming 2.0

  11. anonymous says:

    If one of his employees he didn’t particularly care for did this, he probably would have demoted or terminated them! Just another example of people in charge doing what they want and getting away with it! SHM

  12. Urecaught red handed says:

    If I were a reporter I would do an open records request for manfre’s county credit card to see if he used it to pay for the gas on this trip! He runs the Sheriff’s Office exactly the way this played out….do as I say not as I do.

    This is ridiculous!! When will the people in this county start to care?

    • Genie says:

      Red Handed — The people in this county will begin to care when the same people are no longer running for office all the time.

  13. Downtown says:

    Why could’nt the Sheriff rent a car for his trip to Virginia? Oh thats right, he would have had to pay for the rental out of his own pocket. Why spend his own money when the taxpayer foots the bill for his Dodge. He’s no better than the last Sheriff we had. It’s all about them and screw the taxpayer.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Manfre should have not taken the trip until HIS car was operational, or he should have used his wife’s. This all is just wrong! Manfre needs to STOP his officers from driving patrol cars home and for personal use with us tax payers paying for the maintenance on the vehicles and for the gas. Until he puts a stop to all of this, in my opinion he is not operating in an ethical manner.

    • Rick says:

      “Manfre needs to STOP his officers from driving patrol cars home and for personal use with us taxpayers….”
      HA! Have fun with that one, Anonymous.

  15. Nathan says:

    So, let me get this right.

    Manfre ran on a campaign of ethical behavior, condemning the previous administration and vowing to root out everything that was wrong.

    Yet, he takes a vehicle (owned by the citizens of Flagler County), not just out of the County, but out of the State of Florida….730 miles out of the State of Florida!!!!

    Spending our money and causing unnecessary wear and tear on our vehicle. Did we pay for the hotel too????

    All this because he says that his personal car was not working?

    Any reasonable, responsible and accountable government official would never have dreamed about doing something so egregious.

    Any reasonable, responsible and accountable government official who wanted to conduct PERSONAL business, especially out of state, would have rented a car or flown by plane if this was so important.

    The Agency policy obviously has express conditions and his signature is on this policy, yet it does not apply to him. Sounds like a case of do as I say, but not as I do. (As long as no one is looking)

    If Manfre was a law enforcement officer with all of the years of experience that he says he has (which he does not), can someone please explain to me how he can say that because his car was parked, it was not a crash?

    Are you kidding me?

    Has Manfre reported this free service to the States Ethics Commission? He sure was quick to call the previous Sheriff out on receiving free benefits.

    Sad when a Sheriff holds his deputies to a standard that he himself is not worthy of, or wears a uniform that he has not earned and stands behind a badge that he does not understand the meaning of.

    What else is going on in our Sheriff’s Office? What else has not come to light?

    Sounds like there needs to be an investigation and hold Manfre to the standards he has pontificated.

  16. Dennis says:

    Clearly the Sheriff had another option while his personal car was unavailable. Rent one like everyone else in that situation would have to do, or find another mode of transportation. If one of his deputies had done what he did he would be disciplined for sure. Could one of the deputies use the excuse, it was an error, Hell No! That excuse of I’m Sheriff, I’m on duty 24hrs a day so I take a county vehicle when I travel is bunk. Is he going to respond to a crime in Flagler County from Virginia?

    A good law enforcement leader leads by example. This is an example of lack of leadership abilites, no law enforcement experience and flat out arrogance. I’m king I can do as I please. I think many of his actions since taking office have demonstrated this. I have nothing but respect for law enforcement, particularly the grunts. God bless them for the job they do under the command of this tyrant. Hopefully, in 3 years they’ll have a leader that knows what the hell he’s doing. One that is humbled by his or her experience as a law enforcement officer. Not the pure arrogance this man has displayed.

  17. Mike L says:

    I bet there will be more incidents like this to follow. Manfre is not all that he seems. He was not a good choice for Sheriff.

  18. LRM says:

    Has the sheriff ever heard of rental cars?

  19. johnny taxpayer says:

    Guese Jimbo’s never heard of enterprise?

  20. Joseph Pulitzer says:

    Car Rental. Never heard of it? Come on, Geeez!

  21. Me says:

    I heard this guy speak for the first time at the Fourth of July event at Heroes Park. He has this persona about him like he is “so great”. Just listening to him talk made me cringe after reading about all of his political games he plays. And now to read about this story of taking a county issued vehicle for a joy ride to Virginia.

  22. John Smith says:

    Manfre always did do things in his first term as Sheriff that was beyond his job and got away with it then until his last I am god and didn’t. Now he starts his I am god BS again, well how was able to use a county car and take it out of state, also was gas paid for by the county. Sounds like him and Bruce Campbell both think they are above all that is right.

    • Ray Thorne says:

      Correct and just think, Manfre us trying to influence the pick for Captain at Flagler Beach. Minds of a feather. ….

  23. confidential says:

    Our Sheriff Jim Manfre, I do believe and is proven that he is working and on duty 24 hours a day 7 days a week and that is why crimes are being resolved and we can see him present in many of the incidents , accidents and crime scenes that required police presence and action. Anyone absolutely anyone that is required his/ her presence of command, on call in duty any time of day and night is provided with a vehicle to achieve that goal!
    Why not our sheriff or any other police officer in the same condition? He went to visit his relative in a restricted widow of time and while on call and on duty and why is this suspicious or open to negative critique now?
    Regarding Mr. Celico’s no charge repair; first I would say the county called him for the third bid not Sheriff Manfre and if Celico decided to no/charge for the repair , the other two bidders could have done it as well, and didn’t offer maybe?. As for Celico’s no charge, we the tax payers should appreciate it, other than complain. Lets make clear that having Mr. Celico two children late Frankie and also Carmine serving in the Sheriff office for many years has nothing to do with the free repair, or maybe is Carlos Celico honest sign of appreciation and pride as both his sons serve in our local Sheriff Department, one of them until his passing day. Maybe for Carlos Celico to give this free repair was a way to help the pain subside a bit more, for his and wife Finita, rather recent loss of Sheriff Deputy Frankie Celico, their forever baby. Maybe we should expect more of these gestures towards giving a break to tax payers as we are just so used to be the other way around. As per Mr. Manfre I believe while at work/on call 24 hours day, 7 days a week, he had the due right to use his work vehicle. Filing the report..? he did it with the county for the less than 1,000 repair after 3 bidders contacted.
    Thank you Mr. Celico!!

    • Ray Thorne says:

      Im not sure what i just read. Its open to negative critique because even with a very handsome salary, he chose to have the taxpayers fund his personal trip. To use Frankie’s death in an attempt to put an emotional spin on this and detract from this Sheriffs wrongdoing is despicable.

    • Sees Through Napolean says:

      You say he is on duty 24/7!..In Virginia?He waits like a Vulture to catch a lower level employee to do the same and then POUNCE and Fire. He is a good public speaker. That’s how he got the job. Bob Dylan says; “We All Serve Somebody”…Who does he serve? Who “Fires” him? Also, WHY are Sheriff’s elected? Why are they not simply brought up through the ranks?. He could not physically fight his way out of a paper bag.

  24. confidential says:

    Have also anyone thought that probably the Dodge Sheriff assigned vehicle, has communication connections capabilities that keep our top law enforcement boss Sheriff Manfre connected in his 24-7 duties to the agency while traveling? Sure that would not apply to a rented car. He had plenty of reasons to take the Dodge in his short trip to Virginia. Are we going to resuscitate the good old witch hunts again? Just pathetic.

    • Ray Thorne says:

      Communication connection capabilities? Once the car leaves the county there are no communication capabilities. Only one capability and that’s a cell phone that could be utilized in any car.

    • Johnny Taxpayer says:

      Communications connections? I’m sure his cell phone works in a rental or any other type of vehicle. He’s not exactly carrying the nuclear football.

    • Dennis says:

      Confidential I’m sure he has a cell phone that he could use that would keep him in touch with the office. A police radio, which he would obviously have in his county issue car, I’m certain is not going to be able to keep him in contact with Flagler’s dispatch while out of state. County issued vehicles are for business use, not vacations for as long or short as they may be. Additionally, I’m sure his second in command was aware that he was out of state and was prepared to respond to any major crimes or decision making if he was needed. No one is trying to deprive the sheriff a vacation. Just leave the county isuue vehicle home.

    • Urecaught red handed says:

      To confidential…The sheriffs car does not have communication connections capable of keeping him in touch with the Sheriffs Office unless you are in Flagler County..Let me tell you this as someone who works for a Sheriffs Office as a Law Enforcement Officer. I won’t say that I work for Fagler because if I did say that then Manfre would hunt me down and demote me or fire me.

      Manfre, Staley, and now the new super commander have no respect from the men under their command at all. The reason is because they say one thing and do another. One Example–They said there would be no special appointments for political support but they lied..Kim Davis appointed to IA, Mike Lutz appointed to community officer, Nate Koep appointed to investigations, Steve Carr appointed to wherever he wants to go (investigations then SRO), Steve Cole to wherever he has wanted to go (Head of SRO now in charge of investigation), the list goes on and on. The men under their command do not trust them and they realize that there is no way to earn anything unless you hold political sign.

      Nearly every member of the command staff that started with Manfre and Staley 10 months ago have since quit and left. 3 more years of corruption to go.

    • EYEONFLAGLER says:

      No radio in the world can reach that far and he has no other communications in that car…….Hmmmmmmm but wait.,,,he has a county paid cell phone if he needed to communicate or be contacted.
      Why is it that peiople cannot take responsibility for their actions anymore?

    • Reaganomicon says:

      ‘The sheriff took his department-issued 2013 Dodge Charger SXT for the trip, his own vehicle being “down” at the time, he said.’

      Right there in the first paragraph.

      • Nathan says:

        I for one would like to see a receipt for repairs of his personal BMW being repaired, but since that will NEVER happen, I guess we can only take his word…which is quite questionable.

    • john flager says:

      There is something call a cell phone you can use for communication. 24-7 job duty – so if there was a big emergency he would travel 700 miles with the emergency lights on? Short trip 9-12 hours is considered short trip.

  25. Bill Butler says:

    Mr. Carlo Celico, thank you from this tax payer for your generous contribution of a free repair to the property of the people, i.e. one each Dodge Charger. Kudos to you!

    Sheriff Manfre, On duty 24/7 in for which the Dodge Charger was equipped with equipment to communicate with your office from out of state? I suppose it was a good thing the travel was not to the Bahamas. Do we a have a properly outfitted boat or aircraft with the same equipment to keep you in contact with your office or perhaps the Dodge Charger has 007 attachments that make going overseas and remaining in communication possible? Cannot have one without the other, can we?

    Filing of reports: Was the “Bobby Ginn membership card” reported properly when Sheriff Fleming received it from Mr. Ginn? The answer is, “No it was not.” Big, big issue during the campaign.

    Now this could go on and on and probably will. How about a simple, “Do not do that again Sheriff Manfre. Next time rent a car just like you, or anyone for that matter, would do were to have no mechanically sound vehicle to carry you safely out of state” and a written letter of thanks from the County Government to Mr. Carlo Celico for being a outstanding citizen as Americans used to be?

    These days people want their pound of flesh don’t they?

  26. Nathan says:

    @ Confidential;

    What you are seeing and what the rest of us are seeing are obviously two different things. Manfre only seems to find himself at places where he can get his picture in the media. If not that is what his $25,000 public relation firm is portraying in the media. (Did I mention that this same firm is in the employ of the News Journal?)

    Crimes are being resolved? Do you have insight that the rest of us cannot see? Do you have access to the 2013 crime statistics that the rest of us do not? My understanding, and this is rumor is that crime is through the roof in our County.

    Your quote…”Anyone absolutely anyone that is required his/ her presence of command, on call in duty any time of day and night is provided with a vehicle to achieve that goal!”

    That is reasonable, but he is going to respond from Virginia while college shopping with his son on our dime??? If any deputy dared do this they would be thrown out on their ear and made an example of….

    This is your quote again….” He went to visit his relative in a restricted widow of time and while on call and on duty and why is this suspicious or open to negative critique now?”

    Exactly…he is not the President of the United States…he is not even the Governor of the State of Florida…WHAT PRAY TELL…gives him the right to do this? Are members of the Board of County Commissioners doing this? City Commissioners? I highly doubt it, they seem more responsible and honestly should start distancing themselves. Additionally, like all others here, why could he not rent a car or hop a plane?

    As of this year, the base salary for the Sheriff of Flagler County is $120,253…the highest paid Constitutional Officer in the County and he “erred” and didn’t think about renting a car like the rest of us?

    Source:http://edr.state.fl.us/content/local-government/reports/finsal11.pdf

    Your quote: “Maybe for Carlos Celico to give this free repair was a way to help the pain subside a bit more, for his and wife Finita, rather recent loss of Sheriff Deputy Frankie Celico, their forever baby.”

    With all due respect, that is quite possibly the most sickening excuse that I have ever heard and you should be ashamed of yourself for even mentioning that.

    Your quote: “Filing the report..? he did it with the county for the less than 1,000 repair after 3 bidders contacted.”

    What report? Is there something is writing? (doubtful) What insurance company is paying for the damage to one of OUR vehicles? Was there a report made in Virginia to local law enforcement? How do we know if the driver of the “U-haul” didn’t leave false information. What does the Sheriff’s Office policy say? How many deputies were called to the crash review board for a heck of lot less? I’ll bet quite a lot…

    Your quote: Have also anyone thought that probably the Dodge Sheriff assigned vehicle, has communication connections capabilities that keep our top law enforcement boss Sheriff Manfre connected in his 24-7 duties to the agency while traveling?

    Other than the 800Mhz radio system…which does not transmit beyond parts of Volusia and St. John’s County….THATS IT. He does have a cell phone….a nice iPhone that we all pay for. Guess when he was crashed into in Virginia it wasn’t working well enough to call the police.

    Your quote: “ Are we going to resuscitate the good old witch hunts again? Just pathetic.”

    How is it “pathetic” as you state it when we all expect accountability in government and the people who are supposed to serve US? Have you calculated the cost of the damage to one of the vehicles WE own that should have been paid for by an insurance company? Who paid for the hotel? Who paid for the gas? What else have WE paid for?

    In my humble opinion, ten months into his administration, I am going to doubt that this is the NOT the first unquestionable act/omission/oversight that has been committed or will come to light. He has preached transparency and accountability, I say stand-by and wait I think that we have seen the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

  27. HJ says:

    Manfre strikes again !!!
    What a joke …. And only 9 months in charge!!!
    Maybe the taxpayers are starting to see what a joke he really is !

  28. Marissa says:

    Do as I say – Not as I do. Won’t be voting for Manfre next time around. The height of hypocrisy.

  29. Concerned Citizen says:

    If this was any other employee, they would have gotten written up or fired. The Sheriff is not setting a good example. And whether the vehicle is moving or not, it is still considered damage to County property, which means it must be reported. Some sort of action should be taken. I agree with everyone else…He has plenty of money to be able to rent a car. Being on duty 24/7, even when going out of town, doesn’t mean he needs his vehicle. It’s not like he can respond from hundreds of miles away…. Something should be done. This is ridiculous

  30. Random Citizen says:

    Oh now this just begs a bunch of tasty questions.

    Didn’t he win with a last minute release of info on the last Sheriff’s “special benefits” at Hammock Beach Resort?

    One little crack in the facade at a time.

    • Random Citizen says:

      and they even repaired it for free. hmmmm?

      Is it even legal to give gifts to the Sheriff’s office?

      • Random Citizen says:

        The policy is a matter of accountability Manfre. You are required to be held accountable to all policies which are law.

        The suggestion you are at the top of the food chain and aren’t accountable to the policies is best handled by the Commission on Ethics.

  31. Jimbo says:

    Wait a minute. Who’s to say Manfre himself did this damage. What about the truck that placed a note on his car. Can that be verified or is it a phantom note?

    • Nathan says:

      Exactly Jimbo,

      Whose to say that a truck struck his parked vehicle and he himself did not back into someone. There is no independent police report. And right now nothing can be verified.

  32. Rev Goober says:

    What’s that old joke about a Lawyer, Priest, and the Devil in a Bar ?

  33. biker says:

    What happened to AIR? Remember? Accountability- Integrity- Respect.

  34. No See Em says:

    I would like some confirmation that his personal car was down. I would also like to know why a car was not borrowed or rented, and if any family members rode in this county vehicle as well.

    Isn’t it an ethics violation for the value of the car that was used to go to VA for personal use to have been accepted, and that Manfre used his position for personal gain?

    What does the Under Sheriff have to say about all his? Does he have the same values and ethics as Manfre?

  35. Ray Thorne says:

    the excuse is that he took the car so he could expidite back if need be. Does he not trust his Undersherif to act on his behalf while away?

  36. NOSTRADAMUS says:

    WOW, What’s All the “FUSS” About Manfre then, Manfre Now, Are ANY of You Really Surprised, No “REALLY”?????????? He is an Attorney!!!! Never Has Been & Never Will Be A “LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER” if Any One can Prove Me WRONG POST his FDLE/ State of Florida or for that Matter ANY States LEO Classes !!!! It’s Do as i Say, Not as I Do, Ya’ll Remember the Bob McCarthy DAYS, Well “DEJaVu” !! Shame on YOU ,for Voting him Back in !!!! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

  37. Tax Payer says:

    Nothing is free in life. Manfre will repay Celico with the next patrol car crash.

  38. jokecoast says:

    what an intelligent decision made by our sheriff, taking county vehicle on vacation, makes you wonder what other intelligent decisions he has made during his tenure. hopefully he fixed his “downed car” by now.

  39. anonymous says:

    Oh look at that Carlo to the rescue, AGAIN. Hmm, how can he afford to fix the Sheriffs car for free? Maybe that’s how he got himself in trouble with money and then decided to blame the bookkeeper who has three children and needs to be home for them. Lol all of this public figures are a joke.

  40. IntheKnow says:

    So…1300 miles from Palm Coast to Virginia in a County paid vehicle for personal use. He pays for the gas, big deal. Any driver of a vehicle they respect in any sense understands that SOMEONE has to pay for the mileage wear and tear on that vehicle be it the brakes, tires, oil, fluids, chassis, suspension, etc……the COUNTY pays for that. WE pay for that. Who in their right mind would expect another human being to pay for their personal usage time of a vehicle except a teenager or a moron? Given the age of the suspect I suspect the latter in this case. Actually, no case since no paperwork was filed in line with SOP or otherwise and not for anything but if I’m talking to my mechanic about the vehicle I’m about to take my next family excursion in I’m talking turkey with him so don’t think for a minute the mention of BID didn’t come up. Not for a minute. It’s a lie. I’m not speaking bad of Celico, HE did his part….OUR so called protector of the populace is lying through his little teeth….you just can’t see them right away from his sky high pedestal.

  41. jerry m says:

    recall Manfre. Is this an FDLE issue?

  42. jp says:

    Clear violation of ethics and waste of tax payers money…..How many other trips are taken where an accident doesn’t catch the fraud? This guy has no honor….investigated for fraud, waste, and abuse, and fire!

  43. Mike says:

    The question is, what would Manfre had done if it was one of his employees? his huge ego would have terminated them, he is a do as I say, not as I do kind of leader. He needs to be disciplined accordingly, this is not acceptable behavior from our top leader.

  44. Forrest G says:

    Even Sheriff Andy Griffith knows you don’t take the patrol car out of Mayberry to the big city. Sounds like something Deputy Barney Fife would do.

  45. Bunnell Resident says:

    What an ethically bankrupt politician. As our top law enforcement officer his ethics should be beyond approach. He should be required to reimburse the county for mileage on the vehicle. His government credit card should be audited and if he used it to purchase gas on this personal trip he should be recalled and lose his job. Lastly, did he use vacation time or just take off without permission? Was this trip conducted during the course of his normal work week? Lots of questions that need to be answered here. My ten year old has better judgement than this clown.

  46. Geezer says:

    Just because Mr. Manfre is a top level LEO, doesn’t mean he’s above the law,
    or exempt from following the rules.

    Very ethical. Uh huh….
    Setting a nice example I see.

  47. agnese says:

    no bill never happen right say that next time you get some for free if someone else was at fault way not claim it on his insurance like most honest people do as you say it hard to be honest.

  48. broke car says:

    well well well, hay my car is not working right now can i use a county car, don’t have money to fix it.it hard for me to walk 15 miles to get food. and this is the truth.on my last slice of bread to night. should i call 911 to get a car. money for gas and food ,hamburger sounds good right now. think i’m lieing come over.

  49. shoregal says:

    @ anonymous are you serious? what does your comment have to do with Mr. Celico providing a service? The bookkeeper is a CONVICTED THIEF!!! she was apparently a thief in New Jersey as well. She was not thinking of the consequences that her thievery would cost her children and family. Not Mr. Celico’s fault, just her own. When are people going to grow up and take responsibility for their own actions and stop blaming somebody else for their lack of morals.

  50. Joe E says:

    I get about 30 to 32 mpg in my Charger…dont’ really think of it as a gas guzzler.

  51. confidential says:

    I am glad that now the News Journal published additional facts, while treating our top Law man with some respect.
    I can see that in this county we still have about 100 at least very vocal Fleming fans that while ignored or turned their heads to the miss use of our taxes into the hundreds of thousands, buying laptop and gadgets loaded, gas guzzling SUV’s and pushing them down the throat of some of his unwilling right arms intended recipients, to cover his back.. Spending hundreds of thousands in crime cover ups and receiving a Hammock Beach Resort membership card donation not just worth a mere $255 but at least S60,000/year with “none of you ever saying a word” about your favorite one. The donation of Celico’s repair about $255 was a donation to us the taxpayers for work volunteered to the county vehicle fleet…Flemings Hammock Beach Membership Card was for his personal use!
    Lets do not forget also the legal fortunes spent and ignored by you all, favorite prior sheriff fans, on the hours spent clearing him up of his involvement of the Pequeur cover up and his use of the Hammock Beach membership card. How come were you all so silent then?

  52. Marty McFly says:

    Do as I say, not as I do….

  53. jp says:

    theft is theft…whether you steal from fraud or rob a bank.

  54. Nan Welsh says:

    Mr. Celico, thank you for the donation of your service to the County. I suspect that, as the Father of a deputy, it will help him, too. But all the same, thanks.

    I have no axe to grind here, I didn’t vote for Manfre because of the past history of his job here and history up on Long Island; however, I am trying to be fair. He should have rented a vehicle if his was “down” as said. Using the county issued vehicle was wrong, even if he paid for the gas. It violates the very rules he insists his deputies follow. Saying he would be able to get back to Flagler fast if an emergency happened is wrong, he was 8 hours away. But, he is entitled to have time away from the job. If he had taken his own vehicle or a rental he still would have been away, which is not wrong.

    I do think that this is a sign of problems that need to be addressed. I don’t believe in witch hunts, but I do believe that everyone should be held to the same standards, whether the Sheriff or a rookie deputy.

  55. Cataholler says:

    As taxpayers we are the EMPLOYERS of any county employee and I think he should be fired on the spot for using OUR vehicle for HIS personal use. Its not only the use of county property, its the gas, the wear and tear and the fact that his trip resulted in damage to OUR property that has to be repaired. I wonder..did HE pay for the repair or anything for that matter? I think we need to clean house in EVERY county entity and start with anew and I also think that the TAXPAYERS should decide on EVERY dollar issue their is. They have run this county right into the ground and apparently can find money for all sorts of events and issues that are not as important is other issue’s they have neglected for years. It’s time for the “good ole” boys club and the hiring of a person because there great grandpappy ran a lemon stand back in the 1800’s to go. It’s also time for all county jobs to be re evaluated. For example, does our already overpaid Superintendent or County Administrator each need a secretary, a liaison and they need assistants too. We pay them a 6 figure salary so they should be able to field their own phone calls. They act like Flagler county is this huge place that requires them to be in “meetings” all the time. They are full of it. They use our vehicles to drive around to luncheons and go blow smoke up people’s skirts when there is an issue. They give us politico policy rhetoric to make it seem like they are doing something meanwhile services are minimal but salaries for them keep rising. THEY WORK FOR US. Let’s take our county back. It’s time for the waste to stop and the work to begin.

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