By Steve Plunkett
Deputy Boca Raton Manager George Brown is a “Home Rule Hero” to cities across the county and across the state for helping derail a proposed Florida law on sober houses.
Richard Radcliffe, executive director of the county League of Cities, gave Brown a plaque on behalf of the state league at the City Council’s July 10 meeting.
He said he learned how hard Brown works during this year’s legislative session.
“I would call him and he says, ‘Oh, I’m at a health fair,’ and I would call him somewhere else and he would say, ‘Oh, I’m at the library working on this.’ … He just seemed to do every job in the world,” Radcliffe said.
The plaque cites Brown’s “outstanding legislative advocacy in 2012 in the fight for municipal home rule.”
“As most of you know, it [home rule] is a passion of mine,” Brown said. “Each city is different. Each city has its own unique character that derives from its home rule actions.”
The exercise of home rule powers “has made Boca Raton a beautiful, successful city, and it sustains us as a premier community,” Brown said.
Mayor Susan Whelchel said everyone on the dais considered every day a George Brown Day. “We’re thrilled to be here with you while you receive this award,” she said.
A bill that would have “exempted certain licensed facilities in a way that negated the required adherence to local occupancy standards” died in committee last spring, the state league notes in its legislative final report.
Delray Beach also opposed the sober house bill.
Radcliffe said the state league and even the county league had not taken a stand on the bill until Brown became involved. “I saw it firsthand,” Radcliffe said. “The man worked some wonders.”