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Gov. Scott, Back in Flagler for 7th Time, Will Open Sheriff’s New Operations Center Tuesday

| October 29, 2015

They'll get to do it again next week: Gov. Rick Scott with Frank Meeker, now the chairman of the Flagler County Commission, at a local Republican dinner two years ago. (© FlaglerLive)

They’ll get to do it again next week: Gov. Rick Scott with Frank Meeker, now the chairman of the Flagler County Commission, at a local Republican dinner two years ago. (© FlaglerLive)

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office originally intended to hold its ribbon-cutting at the new Operations Center in Bunnell this week. Then it changed the date to the morning of Nov. 3.

That seemed odd. It was the same day as Palm Coast’s grand opening of its new City Hall in Town Center, though that one is scheduled for late afternoon, just ahead of the inaugural council meeting in the new digs. To cynics, or observers of recent tensions between the city and the county, it looked like the county was trying to one-up the city.

It was nothing of the sort. The date was changed to accommodate Gov. Rick Scott’s schedule: Scott has agreed to be at the sheriff’s ribbon-cutting and grand opening at 10 a.m. Several county officials confirmed it today, among them Sheriffs Spokesman Jim Troiano: “The governor is coming. he’ll be here at 10 o’clock on Tuesday,” Troiano said. (Gov. Scott’s office on Friday said the governor had to push back his visit to 11 a.m. because of a conflict.)

The county administration has been working on securing Scott “for a little while,” Julie Murphy, the county’s spokesperson, said. “We’d been waiting to hear back from the governor if he was going to be able to make it we waited, we waited, and we weren’t hearing back,” she said, so the original ribbon-cutting date was set–for what would have been Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. Two days later, on Oct. 21, the date was changed to Nov. 3.

Members of the governor’s detail were at the operations center this afternoon, touring and preparing for the visit.

“There’s a lot of places he could go, he’s not running for reelection,” Meeker said. “He doesn’t have to come down see Flagler County. I think it’s certainly a nice gesture on his part to remember Flagler County and come down and spend some time with us as well.”

It’ll be Scott’s seventh visit to Flagler County since he became governor five years ago, but his first in his second term. He last visited on Sept. 9, when he conducted a campaign stop at Grace’s Deli (which subsequently closed) on Palm Coast Parkway.

The sheriff’s office moved into the new operations center earlier this month, in what used to be the old Memorial Hospital, in downtown Bunnell. The public got its first chance to tour the building, before the move, in late September. The Flagler County Commission bought the building for $1.23 million two years ago and had it transformed into a 34,000 square foot facility for the sheriff, whose personnel outgrew the offices on Justice Lane at the west end of town. Those offices have been converted into the female wing of the county jail, with a new jail for men next door opening later this year or early next.

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Several local elected officials will be at the ribbon-cutting, with Scott’s presence likely to act as a magnet for many more. “Frank Meeker of course will speak, and we will have the mayor of Palm Coast, the mayor of city of Bunnell and Sheriff Manfre, and the governor of course.” Jon Netts is the Palm Coast mayor, Catherine Robinson is the Bunnell mayor.

“It’s a huge thing for Flagler County, having the governor of the state of Florida coming here and having him dedicate a building,” Troiano said, and “to see and listen and hopefully take comments from citizens about what’s happening here in Flagler County. He’ll have an opportunity first-hand to learn about Flagler County.”

Only one previous Scott trip was related to government or broadly public matters: he briefly stopped in during the wildfires of 2011 to speak of the state’s support for local firefighters, though he never actually saw the fires except from the air. His other visits have focused on new businesses (such as Flagler’s Coastal Cloud), in line with the major theme of Scott’s tenure–job-creation. He’s also visited the county chamber of commerce and conducted two political trips, one of them to attend a local Republican group’s dinner.

Meeker said he would be trying to catch the governor’s ear on one matter that has occupied him for the past year, and cost him close to $2,000 to defend–an election commission complaint on a minor matter of campaign-literature wording that led to a $250 fine. “I’m going to ask him if I can get some help on changing the law–that people can file ethics and election complaints without any skin in the game. I’d like to see them pay a fee of like $250, and if it’s picked up, then it’s paid back. If it’s found to be frivolous, they lose their money.”

12 Responses for “Gov. Scott, Back in Flagler for 7th Time, Will Open Sheriff’s New Operations Center Tuesday”

  1. Geezer says:

    Just look at the birds of a feather in the picture.
    Anyone smell sulfur burning? Is it very hot in here?

  2. Denise Calderwood says:

    Mr Chairman, really the only pressing issue you want to address with the Governor is your personal ethics! You know what you did wrong, take some ownership. Why don’t you point out to the Governor the need to clean up the abandoned old hospital that has looked like that for 35 years across the street from the new Sheriff’s Administration building or the need to have some additional dollars to take care of the wings of the hospital and maybe turn it into a much needed social service center, a homeless shelter or a senior center, especially since these are located in the only HUD housing complex we have in Flagler County- which is 1952 housing which in dire need of rehabilitation.

  3. Ron says:

    I agree with you Dennis. Really that is your top priority! We need to return home rule back to our local governments as they relate to vacation rentals. This is a huge problem thru out the country. This business model is killing our communities. This busniess model is all about greed. These busniesses do not belong inter mixed in single family communities. This state needs to wake up. It is time to stop this activity. Let’s support the Florida league of cities and regain the property rights of all Florida citizens that where taken away from the vacation managment industry back in 2011.

    Hey Frank get your priorities straight. It is time to protect our neighborhoods from these greedy investors. Protect our communities now! It is time to elect representatives that will protect our family values. Is George Hanss going to step up to the plate?

  4. layla says:

    What was he charged with? If you are going to mention ethics complaints, what are they and was he found guilty? This is news that everybody needs to know.

  5. carol says:

    How ridiculous can you be Frank Meeker. Should be ashamed of yourself.

  6. Virgil F says:

    Hey Denise and all of you anti Meeker malcontents. He is away burying a six year old granddaughter who succumbed to cancer. At least show some small respect for a grieving grandfather and, your county commission chairman and wait to take your shots until he returns next week. Nice going. VF

  7. Lancer says:

    It’s great to have the Governor return to our county. It shows the rest of the state that we are developing.

    It’s always entertaining to watch the left, always angry about something, trying to actually turn this into a negative.

  8. footballen says:

    Manfre and Scott cutting the ribbon together, there is your birds of a feather!

  9. JT says:

    Hey Frank, be sure you get your developer buddy in the mix …I know you know he’s visiting, lets be sure you convince the governor how good thing things here in the Hammock.

    How you blew off local land use documents, HCC charters (for the first time EVER in Palm Coast) and voided deed and platt restrictions after people got sucked in , moved here. Sure, follow the dollars…..everything else be damned…

    You can bet Governor Scott will be aware. Frustrated with everything , you betcha.

  10. Rita May says:

    People people people, Frank is going through a very rough year. Can you not give the man a break even for a little while? I would not wish on any of you what he and his family has been going through, and I thought the people of Flagler County would take that into consideration, I guess I was wrong.
    First a lawsuit, then a cancer diagnosis and the worst of all being helpless watching his 5 year old granddaughter, and her parents fight a losing battle with brain tumors (yes, that’s right tumors, plural). Obviously you did not think about that before you posted these comments.

    Political office holders cannot please everybody all the time. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made. Some will like them, some won’t. But right now, Frank and his family do not need to read/hear the maligning comments. That can wait. All your negative remarks about what Frank said in the above article comes from his frustration about many things. All these negative comments could have waited till Frank and his family go through a mourning period (if that is possible after loosing a daughter, granddaughter). So please cut him some slack!

  11. Ron says:

    Hey Virgil F,

    Cool your jets. How should the media or the public know what is going on with the commissioners personal life. Frank has done a commendable job. But he has unfinished business. This is not a personal attack or lack of respect for our commisioner. It is a call for action. Our neighborhoods are under attack just like of he rest of the country by greedy investors and he vacation rental industry. This business venter needs to cease in single family neighborhoods.

    You may wake up one day and find a public lodging establishment next to your home. We need to support the efforts of the league of Florida cities and return full home rule control back to our local governmements as they relate to vacation rentals. Unfortunately Frank decided to make a comment about ethics complaints. This should take a back seat to property rights that where loss in June of 2011 when the vacation rental industry trick the Florida legislature and Governor Scott.

    What’s more important protecting our neighborhoods and community or charging people filing ethics complaints?

  12. Art Bowles says:

    I said it before and I will say it again…..Meeker is for Meeker.

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