Sheriff will retire Dec. 31; McCallum will take office early

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By Lou Elliott Jones

 Levy County Sheriff Johnny Smith has asked that he be allowed to retire early on Dec. 31 and, in a letter to Gov. Rick Scott, asked that his successor, Sheriff-elect Bobby McCallum to permitted take office a week early.
Smith said on Nov. 28 that he has filed the paperwork asking to retire at the end of the year.
The two men, once bitter rivals for the office, have been meeting this week to ensure a smooth transition. "A lot has changed in the last few years," Smith said.
McCallum, a former sheriff's major who was fired by Smith in 2004 after a hard-fought election in which he endorsed Brett Beauchamp for sheriff, won election on Nov. 6. He defeated Marion County Sheriff's Maj. Lee Sullivan. McCallum also defeated Levy Sheriff's Maj. Evan Sullivan in a bitter race for the Republican nomination on Aug. 14. The two Sullivans are not related.
McCallum lost a bid for sheriff in 2008 to Smith in an election so close the winner was determined when the last precinct — Bronson — reported its totals.
McCallum, who would normally take office the first week in January, is attending "new sheriff's school"  in Tallahassee this week.