Neighboring county commissioner vying to hire disgraced ex-Broward Sheriff Scott Israel … fat chance!

Republican Gov. DeSantis is no fan of Scott Israel. FILE PHOTO.

Disgraced former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has hopes of landing a job as police chief for nearby Opa-locka, which the Miami-Herald calls Miami-Dade’s most chaotic and dysfunctional city” and which seemingly would be a match made in hell if the guy can get hired.

The way it looks, we can hold off on gnashing our teeth as that is probably a long shot, even though one commissioner wants him bad enough to fire the man they already have in the police chief position.

Israel rose to national notoriety as the result of his incompetence and neglect of duty in connection with the massacre of 17 high school students and staff in Parkland in February of 2018.

In January of this year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suspended Israel “for his repeated failures, incompetence and neglect of duty.” The sheriff contested DeSantis’s ability to suspend him but the court confirmed the authority of the governor, upholding the suspension.

Now in a strange twist, Opa-locka Commissioner Alvin Burke is maneuvering to hire Israel to become police chief in that city. Interim City Manager Newall J. Daughtrey has declined to hire Israel. According to the Miami-Herald, “Opa-locka already has a police chief, James Dobson, and by city charter, commissioners do not have direct authority over personnel decisions, a power that only the city manager holds.”

Daughtrey has accused Burke of trying to strong-arm him into hiring Israel. “Please understand that I cannot follow your directive to terminate the chief of police and hire Scott Israel at this time for reasons discussed,” he wrote in an email to Burke. He did not indicate what the reasons were.

The political and administrative situation in the city is turbulent at best. As reported in the Miami-Herald

Long considered one of the most poorly governed cities in Florida, Opa-locka now is nearly bankrupt, and has been under FBI investigation for corruption. South Florida leaders have wondered whether the new governor will take action if Opa-locka’s elected officials are unable to stabilize the city’s finances.

(Melinda) Miguel, the governor’s chief inspector general who heads the oversight board, spoke with Daughtrey on Monday, and was reassured that he was not going to can Dobson. “Governor DeSantis will not support any public official who exceeds their legal authority in keeping with their city charter,” Miguel said. “He supports the city manager in following the law.”

When Daughtry refused to hire Israel, Burke initiated efforts to fire him.

Bottom line is that DeSantis has final say on the Opa-locka job and is highly-unlikely to green light Israel for that position.

The newspaper points out: All financial transactions in Opa-locka, including employee contracts, must be approved by the oversight board, established by former Gov. Rick Scott in 2015 when he declared a state of emergency in Opa-locka. The action followed a whistle-blower complaint that the city was in financial ruin. Now, the board is overseen by DeSantis, who was sharply critical of Israel during his campaign, and wasted little time in removing him from office after his election.

Asked about Israel’s interest in the Opa-locka job, his attorney, Ben Kuehne said, “He is a career law enforcement officer. To the extent he can provide guidance to any government entity or municipality concerning effective law enforcement, he is honored to be able to do that.”

Did he really say, “honored”? The word honor should never be associated with Scott Israel, who among his many grievous failures in Broward County, he is also an outspoken critic of the Second Amendment.

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Victor Rantala

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