Financial disclosure forms filed by elected city officials are cursory compared to the detailed forms filed by county and other officials. That may soon change as the Legislature considers extending the stricter requirements.
florida commission on ethics
The dueling recommendations in the long-standing ethics case against Sheriff Manfre are awaiting an administrative law judge’s decision, further dragging on an issue that has clouded the sheriff’s term into his re-election year.
The issue started as a $25-a-day fine over a late financial disclosure form that was itself never in question, that School Board Chairman Colleen Conklin never made sure had reached the commission.
The Florida Ethics Commission last year had rejected a deal that would have had Manfre admitting to one violation, seeking a deeper investigation that has now resulted in a potentially harsher penalty.
The complaints, filed by Ronald Reagan Assemblies member John Ruffalo, allege conflicts of interest in the commissioner’s votes and target the attorney’s counsel to the commission.
The Florida Commission on Ethics Friday unanimously approved a $2,500 fine on Flagler County Commissioner Barbara Revels over two violations of the state ethics law, stemming from Revels’s role in the county’s purchase of the old Memorial hospital in Bunnell.
County and Canvassing Board Attorney Al Hadeed, who was also served with complaints, asked for the vote to assert three points that framed the complaints within the official duties commissioners were performing at the time the issues arose.
Manfre’s practices and claims of innocence until cautioned otherwise came under withering criticism by several members of the commission, who voted 7-2 to further investigate all charges originally brought against him.
Calling it a “witch hunt,” the four commissioners say the complaints rehash minor issues that were almost all resolved during the election season, and that the ploy mostly is an attempt to tarnish.
In a footnote to one of the most contentious local elections of 2012, Trey Corbett, a candidate for Flagler County Supervisor of Elections, was cleared of ethics violations by the Florida Commission on Ethics.