Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson asked for and received an apology Tuesday from County Commissioner Cindy Meadows for her statement about his agency and a vendetta against prominent South Walton resident Lane Rees, who was arrested last week on child pornography charges.
Adkinson, who addressed the entire commission at its regular meeting, said he took personally remarks attributed to Meadows in the Walton Sun.
She was quoted as saying “unfortunately, there are people in Walton County who have vendettas.”
“I realized upon coming to Walton County that regardless of my background and effort, some people would judge me on perceived relationships, and I made the decision I would not allow the office I held to be swayed by political persuasion,” Adkinson said.
He said he took offense at Meadows’ statement and that he was proud of the work of his agency. He said while he defends anyone’s right to speak their mind, “I take offense that an elected official” would make a statement like the one attributed to Meadows.
Meadows sat quietly as Adkinson spoke. When he asked her to explain her words, she said only “my comments were not directed at you or your department, and I sincerely apologize if they were taken to have been so.”
Rees is Walton County’s Republican state committeeman and is a former county commissioner. He was arrested April 1 after sheriff’s deputies were notified that a video depicting a man having sex with a 4- to 6-year-old girl had been traced to Rees’ computer.
In other business Tuesday, the County Commission agreed to accept the resignation of County Administrator Robert Halfhill, who lasted about 30 days before quitting. Four county employees apparently made verbal complaints against him in the short time he was there.
Commissioners decided to let Gerry Demers act as interim county administrator with full authority. They also voted to employ headhunters with the Florida Association of Counties to begin looking for candidates to replace Halfhill.
The commission also named jail director Stan Sunday be the interim director of the county’s Tourist Development Council.
He takes over for Dawn Moliterno, whose last day was Tuesday.
Commissioners also decided that the next TDC director would report directly to them, and that any of nine finalists for the job would have to pay their way to come to the county for an interview.