County clerk, administrator trade barbs over watchdog roles

The sometimes-contentious relationship between County Administrator Bob Weisman and Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock grew frostier Tuesday.

Bock through the years has tried to assert more of a watchdog role over county departments than Weisman, and the county attorney’s office, maintain she has the authority to do.

A recent citizen complaint about a county road paving program prompted Bock to launch a review of the county’s practices in order to “ensure the public’s confidence” in county government, according to a July 31 letter from the clerk’s office.

That drew a sharp rebuke from Weisman Tuesday, who maintained that the commission’s own auditor and the county’s audit committee should decide how to handle the matter.

County commissioners agreed and directed the committee to consider the concerns about the road program.

If Bock proceeds with her review, Weisman said his office will honor any records requests she makes, but that his staff will not go beyond that.

And if Bock proceeds anyway and produces an audit of the county road program? “Frankly, I’m not going to care what she says,” Weisman said at Tuesday’s commission meeting.

Bock said she does not plan to back off her watchdog efforts, but also isn’t looking for a legal showdown with the county.

As for the concerns about the county road-paving program, Bock said the important thing is that an audit is conducted – whether it’s done by her office or the commission’s auditor.

Offering a backhanded compliment, Bock said it was “refreshing” that county officials said they would consider conducting an audit of one of their departments. “I look at this extremely positively,” Bock said.

SunSentinel.com

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