Florida County Reinstates Confederate Flag to Government Offices

AP Photo/Dave Martin
AP Photo/Dave Martin
Ocala, FL

A Florida county is bucking the trend of government officials dumping the Confederate flag by reinstating its Confederate banner to a flag pole outside its county office complex.

Just last week, interim county administrator Bill Kauffman removed the Confederate flag that had been flying outside the county’s government complex for twenty years and replaced it with a flag bearing the county’s seal.

But less than a week later, the county commissioners voted unanimously to return the flag to its spot among the city’s flag display.

The five banners on display include the Spanish, French, British, Confederate, and American flags, all of which celebrate the county’s rich history. Each of the flags have flown over the area at one time or another since the Spanish first landed over 500 years ago.

County officials reversed their decision to eliminate the Confederate banner after the overwhelmingly angry feedback from residents was heard during Tuesday’s meeting.

Commissioners, though, still insisted that the five flags may confuse residents and are considering whether the entire display should be moved to an area where markers can be erected to explain the reason the county is displaying the flags in the first place.

County Commission Chairman Stan McClain, who initially agreed that the Confederate flag should come down, said he hopes that the Marion County Historical Society can help come up with markers to explain the flags.

“It’s a passionate issue on two sides,” McClain said after the vote was taken. “What we are trying to do is interpret the historical relevance of this display we have. It’s either take the whole thing down, or try to use it as a historical tool from a historical perspective.”

Aside from a possible moving of the flags, the issue, though, may not be entirely settled.

After Tuesday’s meeting, flag opponents said that the meeting to reinstate the banner violated the Florida Sunshine Law because under the law government officials must post a notice of a public meeting ahead of time. Tuesday’s meeting was not advertised.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.