Last Updated: 11:36 a.m.
Flagler County Undersheriff Rick Staly said he will retire on April 17, a news release from the sheriff’s office stated this morning. The resignation, framed as a retirement, is likely to fuel speculation that Staly–a registered Republican–may be preparing a run for the sheriff’s office in less than two years.
“I’ve been thinking about it for some time,” Staly said in an interview this morning. “Then when I was off for my surgery, you’re kind of out of the woods if you will, looking in and looking at what you want to do. During that time my father passed,” he said, and he got notices from his former agency about colleagues there who also died. His mother, who will be 94 Saturday, has been in and out of the hospital. “So I just felt the time was right,” Staly said. He has investment cabins in Tennessee that are “doing extremely well,” and proceeds from selling his security company several years ago enable him to look at a more leisurely time for now. He has been promising his wife an RV trip across the country, for instance. The RV has been sitting for three years. It’ll now be used.
As for his political future, Staly was quick to say: “I’m not focused on that. I’m focused on doing the best job I can for the sheriff for the next 30 days and going on a motor home trip and handling my cabin rentals and building a nine-bedroom lodge in Tennessee. We’ll figure out what to do after that, but that’s what I’m focused on.”
Staly was going to announce his decision to Manfre Friday, but Manfre had other commitments. So the two men, who met through Rotary several years ago, met Monday. “We had a very good conversation, he took it very well, probably one of the best conversations I’ve had with him,” Staly said. The two also spoke about how to replace Staly. “If I’m going to bring you a problem, I’m going to bring you a solution, too, so I made several recommendations to him.” Staly preferred to keep those suggestions private, as it will be the sheriff’s decision. He described the meeting and its aftermath as “an emotional time for both of us, actually.”
The announcement was discussed in an executive staff meeting this morning, then announced to the rank and file shortly before the news release was disseminated.
“I would like to thank the Sheriff for affording me with the opportunity to work with the many professional men and women of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, it has been an experience that I have truly enjoyed and will miss, especially my Friday night patrols,” Staly said in the release. “I am especially proud that overall crime in Flagler County was decreased 12% and clearance rates increased 6% during my tenure as Flagler County Undersheriff.”
Sheriff Jim Manfre’s comment, quoted in the news release, was more pro forma than admiring–as Manfre had been when he first hired Staly two years ago.
“Undersheriff Staly has been instrumental in implementing the agency’s first Crime Scene Investigation Unit (CSI) and first Fugitive Unit, along with our Touch DNA and Juvenile Assessment and Monitoring (JAM) program,” Manfre said. “He is a professional law enforcement officer and a professional police administrator. We wish him the best in retirement.”
But in an interview this morning, Manfre was more candid and spoke with affection about his friendship with Staly, and his understanding of Staly’s decision.
“I understand Rick’s position,” Manfre said. “He’s had some health issues recently. For those of us who have known Rick, and I’ve known Rick for a lot of years, we started off as friends, I care about him, I see how much he’s gone through with his shoulder operation, it’s not a minor operation. I see how much pain he’s been in and how much pain he continues to be in.” Manfre also noted the family issues Staly has been contending with. “I think he’s made the right call. Family comes first.”
Manfre added: “He’s been invaluable to me, I could not have gotten to this point without him. He’s more like a co-sheriff than an undersheriff, because he’s constantly bringing things to my attention to improve the place.”
Manfre acknowledges that for that reason, Staly’s departure leaves a void, which the sheriff says he intends to fill deliberately, taking his time. “It will not be someone from the outside. If we fill the position it will be filled with someone from inside the agency,” Manfre said. One possibility is Jeff Hoffman, the chief deputy.
“Part of the problem is Commander Hoffman has been away for the past 10 weeks, at the FBI academy,” Manfre said. “I want Jeff to come back, Rick and I will sit with Jeff and talk about scenarios.”
Manfre was asked about political speculations regarding Staly. “If Rick had wanted to be sheriff I would have supported him this last time, I would have supported him the time before. I tried to get him to run for sheriff twice before,” Manfre said, asserting that he (Manfre) “absolutely” intends to run again in 2016. But, he said, “this is not my career path being sheriff. I love the job, but it’s not something I aspire to my whole life.” If, Manfre said, he saw that someone better were to run for the job, he would “gladly step aside.”
“As long as I’m the best person for the job, I will continue to do the job,” Manfre said.
Staly, the release stated, joined the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office in January 2013 as Undersheriff and has been a sworn law enforcement officer in Florida for 40 years, starting in Oviedo and Altamonte Springs before joining the Orange County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy Sheriff, where he rose to undersheriff. He retired from Orange County in 2001.
After his retirement Staly remained a fully certified Florida reserve deputy sheriff with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and entered into private security management. In 2008 Staly started his own successful private security company, United American Security, which was sold to a national security company in 2012.
During his 40 years of public safety service Undersheriff Rick Staly received numerous awards, commendations, and medals, including the Medal of Valor and Purple Heart after being shot three times while saving the life of a fellow deputy sheriff who had been assaulted while investigating a disturbance
Carol Mikola says
I’ll be very sorry to see him leave.
Good luck to you sir; and, thank you for your service to Flagler County. Wishing you wonderful RV trips, a rustic cabin with amazing views, and success with all future endeavors.
No surprise here history repeats itself!
If he knew he was going to retire then why did he have shoulder surgery while still on the taxpayers dime?
Are we going to see him campaigning in 2016? I heard happened before in another county!
If not have a great and enjoyable retirement.
Ray Thorne says
“I understand Rick’s position,” Manfre said. “He’s had some health issues recently”.
And this is where Manfre sets the stage. If Staly runs, Manfre will cite Staly’s “health issues” just as he did with Fleming and Carman while on the campaign trail.
I wish him well. And envy that RV trip across country. Take me with you guys..please, please, please….I’ll even drive. I can’t take another summer in this “sinkhole” !!!
Jack Howell says
Rick, we all know when it is time to step down. Trust me buddy, it is not worth the stress on the body to be the top dog. You had a great career. Leave on a healthy note and enjoy the rest of your life. I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors.
Jason Stryker says
I am so surprised that the tax payers of Flager County continue to be taken advantage of by this administration. I wrote last year that this was Stalys plan from the beginning. the fleecing of Flager. He planned to have the scheduled surgery in December so that the tax payers insurance would pay the bill and so that he could be off with full pay for four months during the holidays. He worked for the FCSO from January 2013 through November 2014. He worked for 23 months….However he also had nearly 5 of those 23 months off with pay. He makes over $100,000.00 a year and who here knows of a job that pay that much and gives a person 9 months off with pay. People he PLANNED this just like he plans to run for Sheriff. How else could I have written about this very thing last year in a comment here on Flagler Live? The worse thing is that Staly is worth millions. Why take advantage of the Sheriffs Office budget? Especially when you have deputies making $15.00 an hour risking their lives. This guy even brags about his money….I’m saddened that Manfre who describes himself as a watchdog for us allowed this to happen. Someone should add up all the money that Manfrfe has spent on hiring his friends and giving them benefits only to have them leave. Sad sad sad.
Ray Thorne says
If, Manfre said, he saw that someone better were to run for the job, he would “gladly step aside”
And the moon is made of cheese…
Mark P Bialkoski says
I am sorry to see him go. My guess is Staly no longer wanted to be around Manfre and all of his lawsuits as he is a truly ethical man.
It is scary to think what Manfre will do now that he no longer has a real POLICE Professional advising him.
Buddy Negron says
Staly is a class act and was one of the best things to happen to Flagler SO in decades. I sincerely hope he will return and run to straighten this mess of a place out once and for all! Thanks for your service Undersheriff Staly! God Speed!!!
Come on now people, this is a well executed plan, he has been laying the ground work for almost a year –
he is out there doing his pre-election joining of clubs, and making contacts. Don’t understand the voters in this county….
Gomer Pyle says
Surprise, surprise, surprise… Flagler county, just watch to see in 2016…dog eat dog
David S. says
We need someone like the sheriff in Polk county here.
Oh, yes!! Grady Judd would take care of business.
Move On says
David S—If you want Flagler County to be like Polk County, move to Polk County! Polk County is much larger than Flagler County and they too have their problems there. The two counties can’t be compared. We don’t need facilities or anything else like they have in bigger counties.
He wasn’t comparing counties or buildings, only the men who run the departments. Just because our county is small doesn’t mean we need Andy or Barney running it.
Ray Thorne says
Manfre couldn’t keep a #2 guy during his first term either…
Don’t let this fool you people. Stahly is as big of a donkey as Manfre. Check his past for yourself and find out that he was released from his past position. His intention is to run for Sheriff in 2016. We do not need another Manfre in office. Clean house and get a real Sheriff that has some balls and appreciates his employees.
Linda Sparda says
Im voting for rick staley this election. I heard he was very good. Ppl around palm coast speak well of him.