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.