Jacksonville City Council approves a special election for sheriff on Aug. 23

As expected, every city council member voted yes to approve the special election, but council members also had questions for General Counsel Jason Teal.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As expected, every city council member voted yes to approve the special election, but council members also had questions for General Counsel Jason Teal. Some wondering why the city’s top lawyer is saying the sheriff did not vacate the office until four days ago, June 2, when it was clear he moved out of Jacksonville a year ago.

“Even though he left the office or left Duval County in March 2021, he was still acting as sheriff and the law allows him to do that,” Teal said. “And to support the decisions that he made even though he was in essence qualified for a vacancy in office.”

It’s expected there will be lawsuits filed challenging that. Community activist, Ben Frazier, made it clear Monday in council chambers but Teal does not believe lawsuits will hold up in court.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams retirement goes into effect Friday, June 10. On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis named current JSO Undersheriff Pat Ivey as Interim Sheriff.

With the special election now set for August 23, council members told News4JAX it’s time to move on. And they seem pleased with the chose of Ivey as interim, or temporary sheriff until that election is held.

“At least we have that position filled,” Ju’coby Pittman said. “And I think that’s important and that we have a sheriff or an appointment sheriff that is a resident of Jacksonville -- that is part of the charter making sure we are in compliance with that.”

On Monday, DeSantis announced he endorses Republican candidate T.K. Waters for sheriff.

T.K. Waters is currently the chief of investigations at JSO, but says he plans to retire soon to focus on running for sheriff. Waters’ statement reads: “I intend to retire from JSO in the coming weeks after transitioning my responsibilities as chief of investigations and I will be a candidate in the special election for sheriff.”

This shake-up all started when word got out that Sheriff Mike Williams moved out of Jacksonville a year ago, and now lives in Nassau County. The city’s charter states: “If the sheriff should die, resign, or remove his residence from Duval County during his term of office, or be removed from office, the office of sheriff shall become vacant.”

Sheriff Williams announced his retirement last Thursday. “After some consideration, I have decided that a court battle over my residency would not be good for our community,” Williams wrote in a letter announcing his decision. “I’m proud of my 31 years of service to this City and am excited about a new chapter and new challenges.”

Right now, there are six candidates who are running in the 2023 election. Candidates planning to run in the general election now have a lot less time to campaign and raise money.


About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.