Why I Voted No
By: Jason P. Davis
Recently, there have been a number of people, including one letter to the editor, questioning why I voted against the initial motion for a County Council investigation of the county and its relationship with Waverly Media, the bus bench people.
I read the Volusia County Charter frequently, and at most times have a copy of it with me for reference, the same with the Constitutions of The United States of America and The State of Florida. After being elected as County Chair and charged with the responsibility of running County Council meetings, I made a concerted effort to study our Charter even more along with both Constitutions. Although I am not an attorney, I know our Charter and fully understand what our powers and duties are on the County Council. I also know what we cannot do and what is beyond the legal authority vested in us as a council. The motion regarding the investigation, which did pass on a 5-2 vote, was in my opinion, not legal and violated our Charter, so I became one of the two dissenting votes.
Our Charter, under section 309, clearly states "the council may make investigation into the affairs of the county governmental operations," I fail to see how this particular investigation is Governmental Operations. The Waverly Group is a private company. Yes doing business with the County, but still a private company, and currently under investigation by the State Attorney, and the FBI.
I now ask why we, the County Council, want to spend more money and time on an investigation that is being done by two other agencies with policing authority? Do we really need to possibly compromise those investigations?
The next statement in the charter states " and for this purpose the council shall cause subpoenas to be issued for witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence before the council in session." In other words we can call citizens and employees into the chambers, while in session, and ask questions of them about the subject or issue on the floor, Government Operations.
Finally the penalty for noncompliance. "Any person who fails or refuses to obey such subpoena issued in the exercise of those powers by the council, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor upon conviction and punished according to law."
Nowhere in this section of the charter does it say we have the authority to employ an outside investigator, or outside counsel. Basically, it gives the county council the authority to conduct a U.S. Senate style hearing, that is all.
The publicly announced opinion of our County Attorney was in support of my findings, informing the council that we do not have the authority to enforce an investigation as passed, because it violates our Charter and surpasses our authority as a council.
The County Attorney is the Attorney for the entire County Council, not just me. If other council members of the same profession, law, prefer to practice their trade during council meetings rather than seeking advice and counsel from OUR County Attorney they are only doing a dis-service to their constituents by putting personal issues ahead of them.
If anyone feels a lack of trust, or confidence in State Attorney, Volusia County Sheriff, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (F.D.L.E.) or the F.B.I., they need to question these officials and agencies who are all involved in the same investigation.
The Volusia County Council is not an investigative agency, and I warn those involved to be careful what you ask for; for sometimes those best intentions backfire, and someone else can become the subject of further investigations.
Why My Military Service And Earning of the
Bronze Star for Valor Became Part of The Official Meeting Record:
It came to my attention, that an individual, or certain
individuals, were questioning my service to our country. None had the
intestinal fortitude to ask me, in person for documents, but chose to make false
statements and accusations. Cowards have different ways of doing things
and pursuing their personal agendas . Any veteran who has served this
country would be rightfully angry, disgusted, and feel disrespected by any
similar statements and accusations such as made against me.
My military service documents, including the Bronze Star
for Valor earned, appeared on my website during my campaign for Volusia County
Chair, and now they are part of the official record of the meeting of the
Volusia County Council meeting of October 24, 2013, and part of the public
record. My office is always open to anyone for discussion on this matter,
or, any matter concerning Volusia County government.
Osteen Maytown Road and Trails
The name of the project is “Rails to Trails,” not
“trails through residents’ yards.” Property cherished and nurtured by
families, some for several generations; property improved at significant cost to
all residents; destroying the quality of life of established homesteads and
families. Is that good government?
Volusia County may have the legal authority to encroach on
their little house on the prairie, but as elected officials I believe we also
have a moral responsibility to our citizens.
As a nation, state, and county we protect birds, turtles,
reptiles, mammals, waterfowl and fish. We now need to begin protecting our
citizens so they may enjoy the quality of life guaranteed by The Constitution of
The United States of America. The long planned, rail to trail project,
needs to find an alternative path that will not disrupt the only non-protected
species in Volusia County. The residents and citizens.