They Also Serve Who Move To Florida
A Roosevelt Fire Commissioner moves to Florida, runs for Hernando County Commissioner, and continues to "serve" the fire district in New York.
So, what's wrong with that?
After all, we've heard about elected officials who wear two or more hats (and collect two or more salaries and two or more pensions), as well as special district commissioners who winter in Florida, yet somehow never officially "miss" a district board meeting, pocketing the per meeting allowance notwithstanding their absence. [Hey, you think suntan lotion is cheap?]
Seems there's no one watching the pot when it comes to watching those who are supposed to be watching the pot.
He has a new place in the sun
Fire commissioner is campaigning for a county seat in Fla., but has yet to officially give up his post here
BY EMI ENDO
Newsday Staff Writer
A former Roosevelt resident running for office in Florida on Tuesday has yet to officially resign as a fire commissioner here, according to a district official.
Ronnie McLean, 42, who was elected in 2004 to the Roosevelt Fire District, has moved to Hernando County, Fla., and said he had planned to leave the fire district before his term ends in 2007.
That came as news to one of his fellow commissioners, vice chairman Daniel Markham, who said yesterday that McLean has been voting at board meetings and saw him as recently as a couple of months ago. McLean still has a voice mailbox as a commissioner at the Roosevelt Fire District.
"I don't know when he moved; he didn't tell me," Markham said. "I found out just two days ago that he's resigning and he's relocated." Markham said he and the other commissioners were surprised. "Go figure," he said. "People do what they do."
Markham said the board was waiting to receive a hard copy of McLean's resignation letter, which was apparently faxed to the office earlier this week. The board will likely discuss the vacancy at their next meeting, Sept. 13, Markham said.
But McLean said yesterday that he informed the other commissioners earlier that he would be quitting. "I told them that I was resigning at the beginning of the year," he said. "I haven't really been around."McLean, whose position as a Roosevelt fire commissioner while he was a candidate in Florida made headlines in the St. Petersburg Times on Thursday, said he had done nothing wrong. "
Before I was actually on the ballot down here, I'm pretty sure that I was not a commissioner in Roosevelt," he said.McLean is a candidate in a three-way Democratic primary for Hernando county commissioner.
It is unclear whether holding office as a fire commissioner while standing for election in another state would violate election laws. Under New York State election law, for instance, a town supervisor who moved out of that town would automatically create a vacancy, said Lee Daghlian, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections. But whether that would apply to a special district such as a fire district is not clear.
According to Hernando County elections officials, McLean registered to vote in Florida on Feb. 17, 2005.
In Nassau County, McLean's New York voter registration is still on file but as of June 7, 2006, he is flagged as being inactive in this state, according to a Nassau elections official.
New York State and Nassau officials said it often takes time for a voter's previous registration to be canceled. In New York, "the law says you can't be registered" in more than one place, but it "routinely happens," Daghlian said. "People move."
McLean said, "I registered the way I was supposed to. Once I registered, I never voted in New York again."
Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.
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Okay, so you need to hold two jobs to make ends meet on Long Island. But in Florida?
Apparently, Commissioner McLean isn't held in such high esteem by those who cover the political beat in Florida, either. [READ the St. Petersburg Times piece, Don't Waste Time On Questionable McLean.]
According to published reports [SEE Candidate Still Holds Office In New York], when pressed for answers on his dual role and possible conflicts (if not election law sidesteps), McLean responded, "God is going to sort it out, this kind of thing, because I'm not going to take your threats."
That's it, Commissioner McLean. When reason if not law fails you, call upon the Almighty. [After all, your fellow Commissioners may not be able to get down to the Sunshine State in time to vote for you!]
Said Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for the Florida Department of State, "Well, tell him, before God has a chance, the voters might have a say."
Of course, if Florida voters reject McLean -- as they should -- he could always come back to Long Island. Surely, residents here would welcome him with open arms -- and maybe even a new Commissioner's post, or two...
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POSTSCRIPT: Fire Commissioner Loses Fla. Race; Quits Local Post