Osceola deputy fired day after filing to run against sheriff

Sheriff Russ Gibson cites 'lack of loyalty' ruling in termination letter

Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – An Osceola County deputy was fired a day after filing to run against his boss in a 2020 sheriff's race.

The Orlando Sentinel reports Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson fired Deputy Marco Lopez last week after he refused to resign.

In a termination letter, the sheriff cited federal court rulings that say a sheriff can fire a deputy who files to run against him. It's called lack of loyalty.

Florida law says a law enforcement officer who runs against an incumbent must resign upon qualifying for the ballot. Lopez acknowledged he would need to resign, but says he doesn't have to until qualification, which is determined in May 2020.

He told  the newspaper his firing was retribution, adding there would be no conflict of interest if he continued to work.