Councilmember asks for binding opinion on sheriff residency issues, activist calls for investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A city council member is asking for a legally binding opinion from the city’s general counsel on Sheriff Mike Williams’ residency issues.

The request comes after the council president dropped his request for a binding opinion following the sheriff’s retirement announcement Thursday.

Sheriff Mike Williams may be stepping down next Friday, but the request signals the controversy over his move to Nassau County is far from over.

Councilmember Brenda Jackson is specifically seeking an answer to whether the sheriff technically vacated his office the day he moved to Nassau County more than a year ago.

“What she’s asking for is basic, it’s rudimentary,” said Ben Frazier, head of the Northside Coalition.

Frazier argues a binding legal opinion is imperative.

“Because we know that there are going to be other questions, legal questions that come up as a result of this,” said Frazier.

One of the questions mayoral candidate and councilmember LeAnna Cumber wants to be answered, is how Williams can remain in office for another week when the draft opinion released Thursday determined he’d vacated his office.

“There’s that gap so, I just think that there are a lot of questions to be answered and I think that we need to do that because look, we need to make sure that the integrity of the office remains,” said Cumber.

According to Councilmember Matt Carlucci, the general counsel does not have to respond to Jackson’s request, unless the council president were to sign on or if the full city council voted to pose the question.

We were also unable to reach Jackson herself, but she could bring the request up for a vote when the council meets Monday.

Either way, Frazier argues getting a legally binding opinion is just the first step.

He’s demanding the city council launch a special committee to investigate the whole situation.

“If the sheriff broke the law, the bottom line is that there should be consequences,” said Frazier.

In Thursday’s draft opinion, the general counsel determined all of the sheriff’s compensation and actions during the year he continued serving while living out the county were valid.

As far as JSO is concerned, it told us Friday that Mike Williams remains the Duval County Sheriff.

One way or another, he will no longer be sheriff by the end of next week.

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