Monday, May 28, 2012

Charles Parker: Sheriff's Contest is a Respectful Showdown

Magic Johnson against Larry Bird – pro basketball fans know what I’m talking about.  They were two players competing in the same era – rivals of different styles – each respectful of the other’s talent and love for the game.

Wayne Ivey and Todd Maddox are the two Republican candidates for Brevard County Sheriff.  The winner will face a Democrat in November, but this August contest will likely produce the next sheriff.  After watching them in a debate last week, an analogy with the two basketball greats seemed fitting.  These men are rivals of different styles, but also respectful of each other as law enforcement officers and both committed to the public safety of Brevard County citizens.

Maddox stressed his years working as a deputy in Brevard – noting that he has served in almost every capacity possible, much of the time as a supervisor of those on the front lines.  Ivey claimed broad experience as well – including being exposed to best practices from around the state while with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Ivey talked about his commitment to being a part of the Brevard community.  He will be Jack Parker-like – who has made a mark by volunteering for many boards and fundraising for many organizations.  He added that he would bring together a group of retired community business-people to review his budget.

Maddox – while noting that the citizens are his bosses – said that his most important job is working with the deputies.  He said that he already has an inside track on budgeting and referencing the poor economy he claimed he could make immediate 5% cuts to the budget (with 10% coming within four years).

I have many friends in the sheriff’s office.  Some are for Maddox and some are for Ivey.  I suggested a generalization to one of them for confirmation.  I said it seems that Maddox’s supporters are the men and women that wear the green uniform and drive the green and white cars.  Ivey’s backers – then – are the ones that wear the ties.

He smiled and said I was spot on.  He noted that the road deputies respect both men and that the fault line is more of a mode of survival.  You see, Maddox has said he will cut about half of the current supervisors, while Ivey will generally keep command staff at current levels.

My only real beef with either of them after this debate was with Ivey.  When he called federal grants “an economic development activity,” I literally cringed.  Federal money always comes with strings.  It usually goes away leaving a budgetary hole to filled locally.  Taking federal money is not “investment” or “opportunity” – it is ceding control.

Both men seem very capable and I have confidence that both are up to the job.  They will certainly approach it differently – but not so much as to do much harm.  I will continue to study them and their ways and make a decision as the primary approaches.  I hope you will do the same.

You can follow Charles Parker on Twitter @cpbrevard and on BlogTalkRadio from 8:00 - 8:30 pm Sunday evenings -


  1. This is not true. Wayne Ivey has a wide verity of supporters in the Sheriff's Office. Yes, Sheriff Jack Parker supports him (I'm not sure how that's a bad thing) but deputies that wear the green uniform as well as those civilian employees that wear the green polo do as well. Your friend was not giving you facts, just his/her opinion.

  2. It's all opinion Alan. It's basically perception and we are all looking through sets of eyes with preconceived notions. A person would actually have to poll employees to find out where most of the support is going. It is a fact when you to to the list of contributors that Mr. Ivey has the backing of a lot of money people even from outside this county. This is nothing but opinions on blogs and the like but the contributions are fact on the Supervisor of Elections website. IT IS WHAT IT IS.

  3. Well written article, Mr. Parker. Like Mr. Rainey above though, I do take exception to your comment, "I said it seems that Maddox’s supporters are the men and women that wear the green uniform and drive the green and white cars. Ivey’s backers – then – are the ones that wear the ties." It's true that Sheriff Parker and several of the command staff, which are proven leaders, support Wayne Ivey; however, that support does go into the trenches as well and it's possible Wayne Ivey has the support of as many or more of the men and women in the trenches as Todd Maddox. It's obvious that both candidates want what is best for the Sheriff's office and the citizens of Brevard County, they just have different opinions on how to make their visions a reality. I was somewhat offended though by the comment made by Todd Maddox about individuals above the rank of Lieutenant only needing a GED to obtain their position. Though major and commander are appointed positions, I feel that Todd neglected to mention the other qualifications required such as integrity, competence, professionalism and years of sacrifice and dedication. Wayne and Todd are both OUTSTANDING individuals but personally, I feel that Wayne has the ideals, plan of action and insight to lead the department down the road of excellence that Sheriff Parker has instilled in the men and women, both sworn and civilian, that currently work for the Sheriff's Office. Bottom line--the Citizens of Brevard County have great candidates to choose from...which is a good thing.

  4. I have asked the same question over and over to no avail. Why did Parker decide to support an outsider of the agency....if many people continue to point out that Parker has been a great leader, I won't justify going to someone from outside the agency.

    to Moffitt: kind of hard to use words like integrity,competence,and professionalism when you have people in command staff that have pulled their gun on a civilian over a parking spot...

    @Rod522: you mean poll the employees... really? I am confident that there is a list of where everyone stand, and names are being kept, and all eyes are on them.

    @Rainy:glad to see nothing has changed with you...when you don't like something someone says just tell em they are wrong...

  5. It is what it is... It's one man's opinion who is not in the Sheriffs Office. I think his assessment is pretty spot on. While Mr Ivey does have support from those in the trenches, I personally don't believe he has as much support as Mr. Maddox.

    Jay, while it's true that there are other qualifications you look for when appointing people to the position of Major and Commander, Todd was 100% correct, the only REQUIREMENT are a G.E.D. or high school diploma. The qualities you mentioned are thinks you would hope that the people in those positions would possess. Sadly, its not always required.

  6. Alan you are wrong only a small group of deputies and all the command staff support Wayne,I wonder why? This election has become a David vs. Goliath match with big money trying to control the outcome and the future of the Sheriff's Office leaving the agency vulnerable to special interest groups. Charles Parker is dead on.