Palm Beach County Inspector General Sheryl Steckler performed her duties with tenacious grace. Hers was a daunting task given the length, breadth and scope of her authority.
I initially opposed the terms of the ordinance and predicted that it would be challenged by local governments. My concerns were that the county had overstepped its statutory authority by intervening in the affairs of local governments. I was also convinced that one-quarter of one percent would be woefully insufficient to fund the Office of the Inspector General.
Finally, since I am one of many who support and appreciate all that law enforcement officers do, I did not consider the indictments of county officials as anything other than outstanding police work, and for that reason, I opposed a new sheriff in town to quell the hysteria created by the media when it coined the term “corruption county.” As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. Ms. Steckler unexpectedly began to turn up problems, especially in local governments that would otherwise have never been brought to light.
Unfortunately, the funding that was promised to Ms. Steckler was denied her as the lawsuit droned on in court. The fact is that it would not cost taxpayers one red cent more if the county were to fund the Office of the Inspector General completely.
Despite her vast duties and the fact that the county underestimated the cost of her administration, Ms. Steckler did a credible job of launching the new office; and she did more than might have been expected of her. I believe her performance was outstanding.
The county will lose an intelligent and competent lawyer when Ms. Steckler steps down and her successor will have to fill the abyss left by the departing inspector general.
Frank J. Morelli, Wellington