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Palm Coast Manager Challenges Sheriff’s ‘Nebulous’ Evidence In Request For More Cops

| July 18, 2019

Palm Coast City Manager Matt Morton, left, and Cmdr. David Williams, the sheriff's Palm Coast liaison. (© FlaglerLive)

Palm Coast City Manager Matt Morton, left, and Cmdr. David Williams, the sheriff’s Palm Coast liaison. (© FlaglerLive)

There’s a new city manager in town. 

And this city manager–Matt Morton, who took over in Palm Coast in April–is challenging Sheriff Rick Staly’s second request for additional cops in three years at a time of record low crime, including a 22 percent drop in crime just last year. 

Morton wants such requests to be based on more analytical evidence. It is the first time in memory that a local city or county manager is predicating such requests on evidence beyond officer-to-population ratios and growth figures, such as increases in calls for service, two metrics central to the sheriff’s request, or more general rationales such as keeping the low-crime momentum going. “It is not  time to take the foot off the gas,” the sheriff has said. “We can’t lose our gains that have been significant.” 

That’s fine, Morton said, commending the sheriff for the crime drop. “But it’s just as logical a conclusion to say, it’s a statistical anomaly that crime went down 22 percent if we’re not peak staffed,” he said. “How else do we explain it? Are you telling me that we’re doing 122 percent of the workload with 60 percent of staff? So I think understanding that from a workload analysis is where I’d like to get eventually.”

Staly is requesting six additional deputies to add to the city’s contract for 28 sworn deputies for “enhanced” policing in the city, or what would be a roughly $660,000 increase to the $3.5 million budgeted for law enforcement, a 20 percent increase. Population and calls for service have grown, but not nearly at that pace

Morton did not include the increase in the budget he submitted to the council. No council member proposed altering the budget, even though some council members were open to accommodating the sheriff by adding at least some of the deputies he’s requesting. Staly being out of town on Tuesday–he was teaching at the Sheriff’s Association’s Commander’s Academy–the sheriff’s Chief Mark Strobridge made a pitch for the increase before the city council. The pitch included a discussion of officer-to-population ratios. If applied at 2 officers per 1,000 population–the ratio Strobridge said the sheriff favors–the ratio calls for Palm Coast to have 146 deputies. Between those it already has and those assigned to the city outside of the contract, Strobridge said it would need “40 more” to be near the target, citing ratios recommended by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Morton did not speak during Strobridge’s presentation. That evening, Morton sent an email to council members explaining his rationale and attaching documentation–an academic paper outlining the shortcomings of various metrics, including ratios, and citing the same international association itself describing such ratios as “totally inappropriate as a basis for staffing decisions.” Another document, by ICMA, was titled “5 Myths About Police Metrics.”

Morton told council members he was basing his approach on his experience as a manager of police departments in Washington State for a decade and a half, where he managed smaller cities. “No uniform benchmark exists to ever know how [many] officers per 1,000 achieves optimal public safety in any city in the United States, let alone Palm Coast,” he wrote council members. “Our case in point is that the Sheriff tells us call volume is up, yet crime is historically down (22%). This shouldn’t be happening if the number of officers per 1000 is a definitive or reliable metric for staffing.” He also questioned reliance on calls for service, as “not all calls are created equally.” 

“I believe until we see a comprehensive, data driven workload analysis, we will always be open to the argument that there are not enough resources allocated to Law Enforcement and it will be hard to find a reliable baseline for ongoing resource allocation,” he concluded. 

In response, Strobridge emailed council members to quote Morton’s own documentation, which says in part that “‘Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted method for conducting a workload-based assessment,’ which,” Strobridge went on, “is what he now requests of us.”

The line Strobridge quoted is accurate, but incomplete. “Even with shortcomings,” the same paper notes further on, “allocation models based on workload and performance objectives are preferable to other methods that might not account for environmental and agency-specific variables.” 

In a pair of separate, 40-minute interviews Wednesday, Morton and Strobridge detailed their approach. 

“The sheriff and I have a mutual goal: ensuring we have an appropriate number of law enforcement resources dedicated to keep our community safe, and keep crime in check, all those good things,” Morton said. “We share the goal. So for me, being a data-driven guy, which is kind of the bent I come from, OK, how do I get beyond the anecdotal events, how do I get beyond the stories and all the anecdotes or the feel-good stories or the one-offs, and how do you get your head around–just like you do with everything else we do–if I’m going to pave roads, I can tell you how much asphalt is going to cost, I can tell you how many miles I can do with the dollars. I have a performance based measurement.” 

Morton is proposing that the sheriff conduct a one-year study of all dispatch activities (through the computer-assisted dispatching system, or CAD), analyzing the what, where, when, why and how of manpower usage. The approach was developed by the International City/County Management Association’s Center for Public Safety Management to arrive at a more evidence-based method of deciding what staffing is needed. 

“That’s just one metric out of a multitude of metrics,” Strobridge said. “And how many workforce studies were done for those other positions that he’s put into the budget for this past year. There’s other new positions within the organization, and how many other–and they’re all non-public safety, for the most part. There’s one over in fire–was there a valid workforce study?” In fact, Morton spoke of doing just that: “That is how I approach things, again, whenever I can. Do we do it wholesale, 100 percent of the time? No,” he said, before describing at length the revamp of his budget that led to reallocations and staffing decisions.

New in town, Morton is fully aware that he is “poking the bear,” in his own words, by questioning a sheriff who can be prickly when challenged (“his biggest police department has been a rinky-dink police department,” Staly said in an interview late Wednesday evening). But he’s not picking a fight, he said, nor is he looking to lead Palm Coast in the direction of its own police department. 

“We don’t want a police department. We value what the sheriff brings to the table for a lot of reasons and we’re happy to partner with the sheriff like we do now on an expanded level,” Morton said. “We just need to know, and they should want to know, the county should want to know, the county sheriff should want to know, are we appropriately deployed, are we appropriately staffed, are we assigning enough resources, and if not, then that’s the basis for an adjustment. Not this nebulous–well, we think, like Mark said yesterday, I was shocked, ‘we think 40 more officers will do it.’ Wow. Wherever do you pull that number from? How are we arriving at that conclusion?” 

“Right now it is prickly. We may be hiding or obfuscating that it’s prickly. But it’s uncomfortable, right? It’s got to be uncomfortable for the county, it’s got to be uncomfortable for the sheriff,” Morton continued. “Not trying to pick a fight, what I’m saying is, if Sheriff Staly believes that he is that undercapitalized and that perpetually over the arc of time even predating him, that the sheriff’s been underfunded, let’s get to that definitive benchmark, let’s come together as a county, a city, a sheriff’s department, all of us together. If he doesn’t like this idea, fantastic. Let’s figure out how we get to that baseline data that we all need to know what direction, what levels, how fast, how slow, left, right. We need to move to make sure we’re getting this done right.” 

To Strobridge, the baseline data and the analyses are in place. 

 “I’m not saying that I disagree with some of the things that he’s saying,” Strobridge said. “I’m saying we have got to look at the totality of the circumstances and where we’re going. The idea in and of itself that growth does not equal increased requirements is ridiculous. If you have increased access to your parks, you have got to clean them more often. It takes more workload to do that. That’s just an automatic. It’s silly to think that growth does not equal increased services in any community. If that were the case, they wouldn’t have to hire people to do economic development, they wouldn’t have to hire people to do these other things.” He added: “The only metric that you have to base it on today is growth, and that’s not a bad metric to base it on.”

The sheriff’s office isn’t opposed to a long-range study that may parallel Morton’s approach, Strobridge said, with some caveats. The workforce study would be necessary “for the entire community,” Strobridge said. “This should not be a comprehensive plan just for the city of Palm Coast. This should be a plan for law enforcement services in the unincorporated areas of Flagler County as well as the city of Palm Coast.” But, he said, the sheriff’s current request is to stay ahead of growth’s demands. “This kind of study does not get done overnight, and we will already be behind, as we are today, if we don’t move forward. There’s a time to do that type of plan, but not at the cost of not funding what is necessary to do the job.” 

Other caveats: Workload, mandatory staffing levels and union contracts impose certain limitations–such as 12-hour shifts. Changes in contract are possible, but difficult. “All the things that he spoke to you about are good things,” Strobridge said, “but we have contractual limitations that won’t allow for some of those things to change, because they have financial impacts to the individuals.”

As the sheriff spoke of an incident developing in Palm Coast’s R Section late Wednesday night, he enumerated the more than a dozen units called to the scene and spoke of the deployment as an illustration of how such incidents can strain the agency, with four calls for service at the time lined up and waiting for a response because of the concentrated action in the R Section. That action soon ended, with a search for two auto theft suspects ended in favor of a different “tactic,” the sheriff said. 

Staly said he’d spoken individually to four of the five council members (the mayor, who’s been at her daughter’s bedside in a hospital, did not return his calls) and all four had given him the impression that they’d be willing to consider the addition of three or four deputies if six weren’t possible. At Tuesday’s meeting, Council member Eddie Branquinho, a retired cop, was leaning that way, Jack Howell seemed sympathetic as well, asking what it would cost to fund three positions, but Nick Klufas and Bob Cuff did not say they’d go that route. (Mayor Milissa Holland was absent.) 

Klufas didn’t return a call before this story initially published Thursday. Cuff in an interview today said he recalled speaking with the sheriff on Monday, and of his support, but not of putting any kind of number of what he would support, if he would. Rather, he reiterated his skepticism. “His request didn’t really provide any more detail other than we need six more deputies, and that’s because the population is growing and because we’re still understaffed compared to other agencies,” Cuff said, “which to me–I assume there’s more to the story than that, but that’s pretty much what we were given. I’m not against him having more deputies, but even with the increase in property values, that doesn’t mean we have free money floating around.” 

Cuff, too, is very skeptical of basing deputy additions on ratios. “I’m open to suggestions,” Cuff said, but the lack of detail gives him pause. “I’d like to have something a little more than ‘give us six deputies this year, we won’t ask you for more deputies next year.’ I’d rather have a longer range plan if everybody agrees we’re going to need more staffing from the sheriff’s office.” 

It’s not clear if the debate is over. The sheriff made his request. The council did not make a move to amend the budget. Morton is standing by his approach, and will continue to “push back just on the number because I don’t want to just keep throwing millions of dollars in additional officers,” Morton said. “Personally I don’t believe in ratios. That would be my starting point.” Beyond that, “just like I do with every other base allocation that we do, there’s got to be: what is our performance measure.” 

From Strobridge’s perspective, “there is no more discussion to be had unless they ask for additional information,” he said. “The decision now lies with the city council. I brought forth information based on my experience and training, workload, growth and other factors that developing this power squad would be a great benefit to the continued reduction of crime in the city of Palm Coast. Now the decision lies with the city council. This is not us against the city manager. I respect his opinion and I would love to engage in a comprehensive growth plan to provide public safety services to the community.” 

If nothing else, Morton’s approach has made that much clear: that all sides are aware of a much-needed comprehensive plan–and that the city manager will treat the sheriff’s contract the same way he does any other contract with the city, or any department within the city. 

Does Morton feel confident of having the council behind him on his approach with the sheriff? “No,” he said without hesitation. “I have stated my position to council and said from where I sit today, recognizing that this could not be well received, as your manager, trying to do my job ethically, just like Rick is trying to do his job to the best of his ability ethically, I’m just saying this is my position, and that’s how I hope I always do my job, is come to the table with good information, the best informed decision I can make.”

32 Responses for “Palm Coast Manager Challenges Sheriff’s ‘Nebulous’ Evidence In Request For More Cops”

  1. Dave says:

    Ha yea ok ,you couldn’t catch the bad guys in the stolen car but 6 more deputies might have got the job done?! Oh please just except it, there is a new sheriff in town and his name in Morton and he isnt gonna let this Staley guy bully or push him around!

  2. Duncan says:

    Oh my gosh! Does Palm Coast finally have a competent manager?

    Statistical data is the smart way to make decisions rather than making gross assumptions based on general head count.. Saving $660k, when crime is dropping, sounds very sensible to me. Throwing bodies at declining crime seems silly and expensive; put the money where it’s needed please and keep spend our tax dollars wisely.

  3. Right says:

    “That’s fine, Morton said, commending the sheriff for the crime drop. “But it’s just as logical a conclusion to say, it’s a statistical anomaly that crime went down 22 percent if we’re not peak staffed,” he said. “How else do we explain it?”

    Some sensible thinking from this city manager in my opinion.

    I would ask how many deputies were pulled or promoted from patrol to fill other positions in the agency during Stalys tenure so far? Would seem to me you feed the greatest need first and if its patrolling our streets as the argument in this article suggests, then you don’t pull from anyone from it. If I were Sheriff, I’d comb through the agency and see where some brass and others (who may have forgotten how to patrol and feel it’s beneath them) sit and I’d send them out to work a couple shifts to cover some of the shortage. All this shows me is that the current Sheriff may not know how to truly manage his office.

  4. KC says:

    This town hasn’t encountered a capital project that it didn’t want to nuke millions of taxpayer dollars on. But when it comes to providing an actual essential government service, boy is that a subject of debate. The sheriff is the only person around here who is unquestionably good at his job. Picking a fight with him is insane. Crime stats may be moving in a favorable direction, but this town clearly has a well-entrenched drug problem. We had people selling heroin and bath salts behind the library. A few teenagers have been murdered in recent months, which shows that a lot more attention needs to be paid to what’s happening in schools.

  5. NR says:

    Where has crime dropped??? We’ve have had multiple murders and high drug busts just the last couple of months all over flagler county. The Sheriff has done great so far at getting criminals to the green roof in. I say give him what he needs to keep the community safe. The manager wants to act like this is beverly hills but slowly they’re gonna make palm coast into another holly hill.

  6. bill nelson says:

    How many of us have actually seen a crime scene?? Every Deputy that shows up (late or otherwise) in his taxpayer supplied automobile is most times there for show, and after the fact. I have watched, personally, a person cuffed by a deputy but before that person is removed from whatever the infraction is/was, 3-4-5-6 more deputies in their own personal taxpayer supplied vehicles show up! “hail, Hail, the gangs all here, but now Mr. Staly wants 5/6 more ?? I don’t understand the protocol, but I’m sure it’s not “the more (men in blue) the merrier. Mr. Staley: do your job. Manage what you have. Please stop throwing bodies at problems that are of no effect.

  7. Wow says:

    Look at it this way palm coast. 6 more officers to catch and release thieves and drug addicts. Maybe next flagler needs to stop focus on traffic and start getting the drugs off the streets.

  8. Right says:

    @NR, the city manager isn’t the one touting the reduction in crime, the Sheriff is. Those stats are quarterly or annually so the recent murder or anything that happened in the past couple months isn’t factored in to the stats that were provided by the Sheriffs office.
    Years ago, under then Sheriff Fleming’s tenure (whether you liked him or not) there was a gang problem in this county that was responsible for a lot of crime here… drugs, robberies, home invasions, burglaries thefts etc..(it’s easy to look up as articles about it are on this site as well as the news journal though most who lived here at the time will remember) and there were less deputies than there are now however, the Sheriff’s office of those days was able to eradicate the the gang issue here sending key players to prison under the RICO act giving us, the law abiding residents, a nice reprieve. My point being, that you don’t necessarily solve a problem, if there is a problem, by throwing more people at it. You put GOOD people in positions that can actually get the job done as was the case back then. I support our deputies….especially those in patrol as they are the workhorses and are doing a great job for the community despite what seems to be some mismanagement.

  9. Right says:

    @ Wow,
    Traffic stops are one of the main sources of getting drugs off the street.

  10. Mary Fusco says:

    Sorry, but the police need every officer they can possibly get in this City. Between the drugs, kids out of control and the domestic violence calls there aren’t enough cops to cover. Let’s add some low income housing to the already horrific situation. I’ts about time for citizens to take control of their own lives including their kids and their domestic partners. I have lived for over 70 years and have NEVER had a police officer come to my house. It can be done. Act like a human being.

    @ Wow, when exactly do officers focus on traffic? Most of the drugs are done by kids who get caught and go into Juvenile Detention, get let go until they become full fledged adult dealers. There is no parenting anymore and it is the deterioration of American society. Go with the flow and get a really big dog or a great alarm system.

  11. Broke resident says:

    Thats right @kc don’t pick a fight with the sheriff he will turn the police union loose on the city council or maybe he can tell the county commission to write a letter to the council and tell them to “just hire them extra cops” or else they will sue!

  12. Jimbo says:

    Mr Morton specifically states he is NOT picking a fight, NOT saying no. He just wants evidence. Just like we all would want in any decision made by our local government using our tax dollars. Perhaps if the performance measures are done properly there would be reason to hire 10 more deputies instead of 6. I for one am glad our new city managed is thinking like responsible book keeper and not just throwing money out the window because plants look pretty.

  13. Jim says:

    No city can have too many police officers . I rather be 6 overstaffed the 6 short. Waiting for for crime to increase then hire is like buying hurricane shutters a day after a bad hurricane. The damage is already done

  14. Haw Creek Girl says:

    If Palm Coast has that much of a need for additional police services, they certainly need their own department!

  15. Brandon Cross says:

    With 25 years police experience, 7 years in a small town as Chief of Police, I understand why the Sheriff is asking for more Deputies.
    Empire building should be expected. Not only from law enforcement, but all sections of government.
    I think the new Palm Coast Manger realizes this, and is pushing back.
    Just my thought… Flagler County Sheriff ‘s Office has done a great job at reducing crime, yet I question, as does the City Manager, if more deputies and associated expenses merit the costs at this time???

  16. Jaded Veteran says:

    The new city manager is to be commended for asking hard questions and for doing some research. All good, of course. However, to describe the drop in crime for Flagler County an anomaly is unfair to Sheriff Staly and even more so to the hard working deputies who patrol our streets every day. A one month drop in crime; well that could be an anomaly. A 22% decrease in crime from one year to the next would seem to signify something known as a ‘trend’, and a very good one in this case. This trend, one of the best in the entire state, is a huge ‘win’ for the entire Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

    Sheriff Staly has, according to news reports, implemented a wide range of crime reduction strategies, which are obviously bearing fruit in the form of less space available at the ‘Green Roof Inn’ and less crime, especially violent crime, on our streets. How often do we have actual robberies? They are very rare. Think about it. Even House Burglaries are down, as are car breaks (people are locking up their cars now – it helps).

    There is, by the way, a very simple explanation as to why the ‘call volume’ is up while the crime rate is down. The ‘call volume’ includes each and every time a Deputy takes some counter crime initiative, checks out a suspicious activity, or knocks on the door of a juvenile probationer to make sure he/she is home by their curfew and not out committing mayhem of one sort of another. The fact that Flagler County is experiencing its lowest crime rate in the past 10-to-15 years is NOT an anomaly – it is a product of a determined, planned and obviously successful effort by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

    Which brings us to the next issue. Maintaining and improving our current low crime rate is an important quality of life issue for us all. The crime rate is seldom constant. It is usually either increasing or decreasing. According to the State of Florida’s crime reporting numbers, Sheriff Staly has been one of the most successful Sheriff’s in the state when it comes to reducing crime. If he believes he needs more manpower in order to continue this trend – I would listen to him very carefully.

  17. Flatsflyer says:

    The camera doesn’t lie! The pictures appearing after almost any
    arrest tell the truth and real story. Never less than 10 LEO’s even for
    a minor infraction. God forbid is they arrest someone for a hang
    nail. Sheriff’s across the country attend conferences to learn how to
    build empires and scounge for money not how to protect and serve.
    Hollywood “Rick” has learned his trade well, keeping creating problems
    and then demand expensive solutions. If you check his resume you will
    find out that he graduated he graduated with honors from Trump University.
    He wasn’t at conference this week, he was in Washinton this week looking
    For a job in Trump’s Administration, how was he able to hide fro the cameras?

  18. Born and Raised says:

    I thought the same thing, crime is down, and to make a presentation for more deputies there isn’t any analysis evidence to proof that we need an increase in deputies.

  19. carol says:

    No, no, no we don’t need more cops.
    Give us a tax break!!!!

  20. Bc. says:

    Hey sheriff Staly if you get extra officers please put one on A1A to control the daylong speeding and passing from the south end of Beverely beach down to island estates cars fly by here and cross the double yellow lines speeding at will. Just maybe if we had more traffic control over here the deadly accidents will stop i count 7 death in the last few years that I no of in the area were I mentioned 7 deaths in a four mile section of A1A we need traffic enforcement over here

  21. Right says:

    @ Jaded Veteran,
    Why is calling it a possibly anomaly unfair? If crime was down across the state then that’s possibly what it was. Stats are always fluctuating and no one is saying the deputies aren’t doing the job. As a former LEO in a bigger city, I know there’s more going on day to day than what’s recorded in the stats.
    But, I’m glad the city manager is approaching the issue using some sense.
    As far as crime reduction strategies, it’s the same strategies, this county just has a Me, My, I, Sheriff who likes face time with the media touting those strategies as though he invented them and the unknowing public eats it up meanwhile some of us know better.

  22. Doug A says:

    There is zero traffic enforcement in this town. Speeding tailgating and aggressive driving everywhere and no sheriffs deputies anywhere. Doing the speed limit on Pine grove Dr I have been passed many times, the last time was a lawn maintenance truck and trailer. I guess the sheriffs department just sits and waits for a crime to be committed so they can send out five or six cars to cover it.

  23. Prblecause says:

    Palm Coast along has nearly 90,000 residents and covers almost 95 square miles. With a population this size and area to patrol we need more deputies, simple as that. Do a little research and you will find that on average there are 3 officers per 1,0000 residents, or in some cases 16 officers per 10,000 residents on average. These studies are readily available through the FBI.

    Staly knows what he is doing, we should be supporting this initiative. Lets keep our crime stats on the continued down trend and hopefully save a few teen lives while at it.

  24. palmcoaster says:

    Manager Mr Morton correct in cautious approach. We pay too much to the county in our ad valorem taxes more than double what we pay the city of Palm Coast when the city is footing 70 percent of our services…versus county 20 to 30 percent only …This is were the problem is and this is why county waste our taxes in useless real estate and give our taxed $$$ away’s to never complying promises of jobs to new “potential employers” that take the cash and take off in their short lived venture living us with the bills to pay.
    County needs to give back to Palm Coast what they take away in our homes taxes yearly or maybe Palm Coast should annex it and stop the Palm Coasters double taxing with the Sheriff Services, Fire Services etc. etc. Jacksonville and Miami been there and done that…county annexation.

  25. palmcoaster says:

    And I do agree that traffic enforcement in Palm Coast is hardly seeing to say the least. Maybe proper costly fines should be in place to pay and fund more traffic units. Being lenient with just warnings does not seem to be working. I see speeders, knee driving while smoking and texting, bikers evil knievel’s racing in our residential roads and thru trucks violating the NoTruck Roads as well. By the way were all the traffic fines funds en up?

  26. Dave says:

    If you are driving the speed limit you are driving too slow! It is common knowledge that you should drive 7 mph over the posted speed limit. Any slower than that and you are clogging up our streets. We can safely maneuver this town without getting tickets all the time ,who can afford that?

  27. SJ says:

    Just to give some context, the next city to the South, OB, has an operating budget for 2018-2019 of 9.5 million for 68 to 70 officers plus support staff with a population of around 45,000.
    Under the Sheriff’s request the number of Deputies would increase to 34 with a 3.5 million annual budget and a population of approximately 90,000 that is much more diverse than in the past.
    The start up for a “Palm Coast Police Department” would be in excess of 20 million for staff, facilities, equipment, and vehicles. The annual operating budget would be up to the Commission, but it is highly unlikely it would be less than 10 to 12 million.
    Just some food for thought

  28. palmcoaster says:

    To Dave ; where did you get those statistics? Our convenience does not exempt us from abiding laws. Sounds to me like the improper thought of a Pepsi large beverage delivery truck driver that in a cocky manner he said while using FPD a designated with signage NO TRUCK ROAD, that those signs are only for eighteen wheeler’s!! As per DOT a No Truck Road is for all trucks and he better abide as they are being recorded while not doing so and sooner or later will be fined. We have rules and signage everywhere and are mainly to preserve our safety and quality of life. So please observe them.

  29. Jimbo says:

    At-a-boy City Manager. Appreciate you asking for justification for the spend. Nice to see someone finally ask questions when it comes to financial impact requests. Doesn’t matter if the request comes from the Sheriff or from the sewer plant, justification is required for any spend the city makes. Wish the questions would be asked for the millions being spent on the fibernet project. No justification at all. All a dream.

    On the Sheriff asking for more, why not. People are always reluctant to say NO to additional policing or fire services. Why not use that fear to your advantage. They see that the city/county is gaining more money from increased values and additional residential and business growth so why not go for what you can. Shouldn’t work this way. Every spend should be based on needs and requirements not because the pot got bigger.

    In 2008 and a few years after, it was nice to watch municipalities review every dollar, making hard decisions on services, and reducing waste. As much as I don’t want that bad financial era back, I do want the financial responsibility back for our governments and service providers for them.

    I always like to hear people say that because Palm Coast is the largest city in the county, it should contribute more than the tax dollars it provides for county services.(Sheriff services) I disagree. Since the time Palm Coast became a city, we have been carrying the bulk of county tax dollars but yet there has been no reduction in county tax rates to Palm Coast residents.

    With the majority of businesses that service the entire county and some serving the surrounding areas outside the county, of course it would require more policing. So Palm Coast gets to pay for the additional traffic police and other services because of that? The county is getting more tax dollars from those businesses than the city.

    I don’t want the city to start their own police dept and I am not saying the sheriff isn’t doing a good job, I just think that the county should be paying for most, if not all of the sheriffs cost seeing they are getting the most money from the city residents. I feel that PC has stepped up beyond what it should in financial support of the Sheriff. It even stepped up to pay for one Resource Officer for the schools. WHY?

    I think the Sheriffs Department is doing a great job but…the Sheriff needs to stop showboating. He needs to be more fiscally responsible, like the purchase of the mustang patrol cars (that some sheriffs have difficulty getting in and out of, WHY?). I feel the county should be contributing more for these services and not PC.

  30. jennifer says:

    So both sides are posturing …

    First crime is down based on FDLE’s standards for reporting, which does not include every crime committed in Flagler County. It counts violent crime – rape, aggravated assault, homicide as well as certain property crimes – burglary, vehicle thefts. It does not count all crime – simple battery (ie – bar fight), supsicious person, traffic stops due to speeding, DUI, etc. So yes, you can have an increase in calls for service as well as a reduction in reported crime to FDLE. It does not mean the deputies are doing less work. So. Mr. Morton being clever this early out the gate is worrisome – it shows he doesn’t understand crime studies but chose to cite other irrelevant sources rather than do a five minute google search, or even call FDLE – their public information specialists could have explained how crime stats are derived.

    Second, Staly is posturing as well. We do have a need for increased deputies – but not for traffic. The mustangs are ridiculous. We have several deputies who cannot transport someone so they can show off the “fast, new cars.” Crime is happening in the neighborhoods. We see this with an increase of people pulling on door handles. Deputies need to be patrolling the neighborhoods more frequently and interacting with the community. The money Palm Coast paid for traffic cops was stupid. We need deputies who are versatile and not just concentrating on speeding, that’s what FHP is for.

  31. Jay Effelston says:

    Very Typical from an Agency where the Sheriff is a bully. EVERY single tenured Deputy I have EVER spoken to in Flagler County is miserable. Many civilian staffers are miserable and scared. Many Flagler County Natives are appalled and can’t believe what this guy has done to the Sheriff’s Office. Proven fact here: Staly only takes credit for things when they go right and points fingers when they go wrong like the OPS CENTER MYSTERY (A TRUE STORY EXISTS HERE) and Staly knows the other side. He could have done more but didn’t care. Why? do you want to know the true story? You probably already know. Stiffo & Renina were too busy setting up Manfre. That’s right, Manfre (love him or hate him) was done very dirty, but iManfre is NO CRIMINAL. . Staly did the same thing to Kevin Beary in Orange County. What happened at Seminole Sheriff? thing is Eslinger was to whitty for Staly. Staly was divorced from Seminole. Unfortunately, he came here.

    YES IT WAS A 2X SET-UP. I wish that Manfre would have vetted him a little closer.

    Imagine working for a man that balks on loyalty, honor & respect. A closeted NEVER TRUMPER who changed his political affiliation only to run for Sheriff.

    YES, Staly is a Radical Liberal Democrat at heart who is a RECENT REPUBLICAN CONVERT & NEVER-TRUMPER. Yes, he changed political affiliation because of of the number of Flagler’s Republican Voters. This is an example of a man whose loyalties are for sale. A millionaire with such an obtuse and wicked private & personal agenda to reign and control persons by intimidation, force and threat.

    There’s a reason why an honorable man such as Jack Bisland fled from Staly’s staff. When you see the moral corruption in action, it twists and turns your stomach in a manner that causes you to bend at the waist in pain.

    I hope someone steps up and runs against him. He will have GOOD SUPPORT from many REAL Flagler Residents and other prominent elected officials. He can try to boast about his accomplishments, but EVERY SINGLE FLAGLER RESIDENT knows that its the great work of the individual Deputies that are carrying his name. And know this Flagler.Live, Deputies work OUT OF FEAR not out of desire, but they do love the County.

    Whoever is controlling his FB or Twitter is a Staly lackey. STIFFO STALY…

    It’s time for the Bunnel Chief and the Flagler Beach Chief to achieve distance from Stiffo.

    One and Done…….no more Staly.

    Thanks for the great report Mr. Manager

    Jay Effelston

    Palm Coast

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