June 17, 2022 7:00am

Movers and shakers largely disapprove of former Sheriff Williams moving out of town

How Williams handled the episode when he got caught living out of town drew heavy criticism.

Photo of Drew Dixon
By Drew Dixon
Jacksonville, FL Correspondent

Many of Jacksonville’s movers and shakers say they’re rankled by the eventual “retirement” of former Sheriff Mike Williams June 10 after it was revealed he no longer lives in the city. That is in direct violation of Jacksonville’s charter requiring elected municipal officials to live within Duval County.

Williams “retired” from his post after The Tributary online news outlet busted the lawman for moving outside the city limits about a year ago. After initially denying he would step down and changing stories as to how long ago he moved to Nassau County, Williams retired as he was caught in one of the biggest political blunders in recent city history.

June’s Power Poll showed 36% of those who took part in our survey said it was yet another example of a power broker in Jacksonville who thinks they are above the law. The same figure of 36% said Williams should have known better while only 5% of respondents said they don’t see what the big deal is as Williams could still serve effectively as sheriff while living in another county. Some 2% said they have no opinion or don’t know.

Williams lived outside the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction for at least a full year and the city charter says the post is rendered vacant as soon as the office holder moves to another municipality. We asked if Williams should return his salary for the past year to the city, which is $180,000. On this question, respondents are ready to get over the issue with 73% who said Williams “retired,” let’s just move on because dragging it out won’t do any good. Only 27% said he should pay back his salary.

But Williams took a drubbing in perception when it came to how power brokers ranked his handling of the entire episode. Some 38% said Williams showed “poor” handling of the mess. Another 36% said it was “mediocre” and only 26% said it was “good.”

Movers and shakers were overwhelmingly unwavering when it came to the city charter and the stipulation that elected municipal officials should live in Duval County with 77% saying they agree with the charter laws. Only 20% said the charter needs to change in an age of commuting and telecommuting.

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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