Transition under way for Marion Co. sheriff-elect



MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Marion County's newly elected sheriff Chris Blair is starting to take charge of his office, even though he's still the subject of a major election violation investigation.

"It has an impact on us. We still have the same amount of work to do. We just have to do it in a shorter amount of time," said Marion County Sheriff's Office Maj. Paul Laxton.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement asked the sheriff's office to delay the transition to investigate a tip that the incoming sheriff had violated state election laws.

Blair would not comment on camera, but told WFTV reporter Berndt Petersen he won't let FDLE's probe get in the way of his assuming command.

Last week, state investigators announced they had no operational concerns with the transition process, but added that the investigation remains active.

Blair is scheduled to be sworn into office Jan. 8 and on that day there could be a shuffle among the top commanders.

"Any time there's a change, we work for the sheriff. So we work wherever he wants us to work.

And I think everybody understands that. We're just doing our job, and whenever that job changes then we do the new job he has for us to do," Laxton said.

Sheriff-elect Blair said he would hold a news conference on Friday.