Rice letter addresses his motivations to be sheriff again
Everett Rice, the former Pinellas sheriff and lawmaker seeking to win the office back in 2012, has issued an open letter. One interesting subtext addresses questions about his ambitions to want to come back (he ran for the House instead of re-election as sheriff in 2004).
Read it below:
"When I last served as your Pinellas County Sheriff my record of professional leadership was undisputed. Every year that I served as your Sheriff I moved the office forward and presented balanced budgets to the County Commission. I changed the office's prior reputation for brutality, corruption and incompetence. I modernized the agency with new technology and I merged six police agencies into the Sheriff's offfice thereby saving tens of millions of dollars in local taxes. My list of other accomplishments is long, and my reputation for such is well known.
"This past spring former Sheriff Jim Coats admitted publicly that he had a plan to quit the job someday and get his chief deputy appointed Sheriff by Governor Rick Scott without and election. Because of Coats' comments and ensuing uncertainty of leadership at the Sheriff's office many people urged me to return. In May I decided to seek election to return to the office.
"Previously I challenged a local ballot initiative that limited the terms of all Pinellas County elected officials to a limit of two four-year terms. I instigated a lawsuit to stop this attempt to limit the terms of the Sheriff because it was in derogation of the independent constitutional office of Sheriff in Pinellas County. While I maintained opposition to the county term limits law, I promised to not seek reelection after two more terms. In keeping that promise, I did not run again in 2004, altough the term limits law was struck down in 2002 by the Florida Supreme Court. I had predicted this and I could have easily won reelection. Because of my efforts, today there are no term limits for any Pinellas County elected official.
"I fought at great political peril to keep the office of Sheriff independent and answerable only to the people. I have always been and will continue to be accessible to the citizens of Pinellas County. I welcome your inquiries and concerns and will address them as best I can.
"I will be returning to an office where morale is down, demand is high and the budget has been cut repeatedly. I think my previous record as Pinellas County Sheriff proves that I can make better use of limited resources while improving morale and meeting the needs of Pinellas County tax payers.
"Since beginning this campaign hundreds of citizens have donated to my campaign and thousands have signed my petition to be placed on the ballot. My campaign is endorsed by State Attorney Pam Bondi, State Senator Dennis Jones and numerous other public figures. I am very grateful for this outpouring of support for me to return as your Sheriff.
"I would be honored to add you to the list of my finacial supporters and Thank You in advance for your support."