Over and over again, I hear discontent in the community with the Escambia County Sheriff’s budget – that has increased over 30 percent since Ron McNesby took office. It’s good that McNesby and his buddy George Touart are talking about cuts and savings through consolidation because the public wants to see more fiscal responsibility out of the ECSO.
So far McNesby has issued statements that he will not reduce the number of officers on patrol – which is a positive step. The waste is at the administrative level. Too many campaign contributors and political cronies pulling down huge salaries.
Community leaders and former campaign contributors are scratching their heads and wondering where has all the money gone. Stories about misuse of helicopters. boats and other ECSO property and an abundance of flat screen televisions – as well as contracts being let without competitive bidding are floating through the community.
The ECSO budget and his past spending will be campaign issues in 2008. Fair or not, the public will be asking – For the money we’ve spent, are we safer than in 2000?