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Challengers Target Spending Eslinger, 35, responds that he has created innovative, cost saving programs that have created the smallest budget increases in 25 years.
In January 1991, Eslinger, then a major, was appointed sheriff after an ailing Sheriff John Polk retired. He is seeking his first election to office. Most of the criticism has come from the Republicans who will challenge Eslinger in the Sept. 1 primary: former Seminole sheriff's Capt. Beau Taylor, Winter Park private investigator Harvey Morse and Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Larry Conniff. Two Democratic challengers, former New York detective David Locker and former Sanford police Capt. Charley Fagan, have focused their campaigns on the differences between them. But they, too, have criticized spending at the Sheriff's Office. Taylor, who left the Sheriff's Office in 1990 to oakley why run for sheriff, said he would eliminate the current hierarchy. Eslinger's top managers over operations, administration and the county jail each hold the rank of major. Taylor said he would go back to the single undersheriff structure, as Polk had, and reduce the number of captains. ''We're not going to have a bunch of people hanging around doing nothing,'' he said. ''Surplus''' lieutenants and captains will be offered positions as road deputies, thereby putting more deputies on the road, Taylor said. Morse has criticized Eslinger's budget at every public forum. He has charged that crime in unincorporated parts oakley sunglasses website of the county has increased by 36 percent in the past year. He has blasted the sheriff's bicycle patrol, instituted by Eslinger, as ineffective. Patrol members, who use mountain bikes in high crime neighborhoods, are averaging 4 1/2 hours a week on their bicycles, Morse said. The patrol provided Morse and others with fodder for what they say is wasteful spending. Each patrol okly member received a $600 bicycle and $57 Oakley sunglasses. Eslinger's response is short and well rehearsed, ''Paid for by the drug dealers of Seminole County.'' The bicycle patrol and other new programs have been funded by the Law Enforcement Trust Fund. The fund gives back money and goods seized by the Sheriff's Office from drug defendants. The sheriff's proposed budget for next fiscal year includes a modest 1.5 percent increase and institutes an oakley retailer expanded ''cost center'' approach, Eslinger said. Supervisors in each of 27 cost centers will responsible for their budgets, he said.
Morse said he would drop programs, such as the bicycle squad and a new motorcycle squad, to save money and put more deputies on the road. Conniff's budget plans are built on zero based budgeting. ''You have to justify everything in your budget,'' he said, adding if a program couldn't be justified, he would cut it.
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