Thursday, February 18, 2016

Record article vindicates Karen Zander, PZA applicant

St. Augustine Beach Realtor® Ms. Karen Zander is vindicated by February 19, 2016 St. Augustine Record article -- her application was timely. It appears that she is the victim of blatant sex discrimination and political chicanery on the part of St. Johns County Commissioner JAY MORRIS. Enough flummery, dupery and nincompoopery from this pompous pouty Ponte Vedra pachyderm, who says he would "do anything" to get BRAD NELSON back on the Planning and Zoning Agency board.

See my February 16, 2016 article here.

This blatant sex discrimination and political chicanery is indefensible, and must be ended at once. JAY MORRIS is trying to block a woman applicant for an all-male board based upon false statements her application was late, admitting he would do "anything" to reappoint a male applicant who resigned and now wants to be reappointed.

This is just one more case for the FBI Corruption Task Force to investigate.

This is just one more example of why we badly need an Ombuds and Inspector General for our local governments. Explanations by the county staff are superficial, transparent despicable and not worthy of belief.

County zoning board applicant says she filed on time

Posted: February 18, 2016 - 11:20pm

Karen Zander’s application to serve on the St. Johns County Planning and Zoning Agency was received by St. Johns County on Nov. 30, while former board member Brad Nelson’s arrived Feb. 12.

On Tuesday, St. Johns County commissioners put off appointments until March after county staff said both applications came in late.

But Zander is challenging the claim that her application arrived past the deadline, demanding via a letter to commissioners that the record be corrected.

“I was shocked to hear for the first time that county staff determined my application was late and therefore could not be considered unless rules were suspended, which interestingly would then allow Brad Nelson’s last-minute application to also be considered,” Zander wrote in a letter addressed to county commissioners.

The position was advertised to close on Nov. 25, according to county spokesperson Sarah Hand. She said county officials are checking to make sure a different date was not advertised online.

But Zander said a county official she spoke with in advance of filing her application told her the deadline was Nov. 30 because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Never in any correspondence with staff or county legal counsel nor in county’s own PZA board materials or deliberations was there any indication that my application was submitted late ... because my application was not submitted late,” Zander wrote.

The county’s response, through Hand, on Thursday was, “Because the county accepts applications for boards like the planning and zoning agency year-round, that is the reason why she wasn’t given any sort of indication it was technically missing any sort of deadline.”

The application also made it to the Planning and Zoning Agency, which supported Zander for the post. Zander said no one mentioned any issue with her application until Tuesday. County officials said they noticed the missed deadline later in the process.

Zander also said she told Paolo Soria, assistant county attorney, before the discussion at the meeting that she wanted to speak to the commission but outside of public comment. Zander wrote that her understanding of procedure is that when someone is part of an agenda item, it is not appropriate for that person to speak during public comment.

“I felt it best to respectfully await my turn to be called, as counsel clearly knew I was ready to speak, rather than disrupt procedures by coming to the podium without being introduced,” she wrote. “To my shock and dismay, I was never introduced nor given opportunity to speak.”

Soria said Thursday that Zander was welcome to speak during public comment and will have the chance to speak again.

Zander, a Realtor and owner of local business 97 Park, said Thursday her concern is that she feels her professional reputation was harmed by the county’s claim that she missed the November deadline. Zander is also a St. Augustine Beach Planning and Zoning Board member.

“It’s extremely important in my profession that I’m aware of and stick to deadlines because I’m working with contracts that involve other people’s interests, and so I have to be very careful that I watch all deadlines,” Zander said. “And so I believe that by the commission and the county staff stating that I missed the application deadline, that’s now part of the public record that allows you to then print that I missed my application deadline. It infers that I kept my mouth shut after having missed that deadline. That is not what happened. I didn’t miss a deadline. The deadline that I was given was Nov. 30.”

During the meeting, Commissioner Jay Morris voiced support for Nelson and his experience on the board.

Zander wrote that “it was abundantly clear that at least one of the St. Johns County Commissioners, namely Commissioner Morris, had a very clear mission to see that Brad Nelson was appointed to county PZA again. As I see it, the only way in which this could be accomplished would be to somehow disqualify my application which then allowed the commission to willfully disregard its own PZA’s recommendation to appoint me to PZA.”

Morris said Thursday that he had no mission to get Nelson appointed.

Morris also said he was told the morning of the meeting Tuesday that Zander’s application missed the deadline.

“I had nothing to do with disqualifying her appointment,” Morris said.

Nelson resigned from the PZA to run for property appraiser, but withdrew from the race earlier this month. He then reapplied for the agency. Zander said Nelson let her know initially that he would not apply for the PZA again despite withdrawing from the property appraiser race, then changed his mind.

Nelson could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Commissioner Rachael Bennett also indicated during the meeting that another member could miss several meetings. She made the motion to delay the vote.

The commission voted 4-1 to wait until March to make appointments so that the positions could be re-advertised and applicants could qualify under the county’s rules. Commissioner Bill McClure voted against the item, saying the process was being politicized.

Bennett responded in an email to Zander that she would make sure her concerns are addressed at the hearing in March when the commission is scheduled to vote on the appointment. The vacancies are being readvertised.

1 comment:

Tom Reynolds said...

Where there is sneakiness.......... there is Jay Morris
Where there is phoniness .......... there is Jay Morris
Where there is corruption.......... there is Jay Morris
Where there is cronyism .......... there is Jay Morris
Where there is controversy ........ there is Jay Morris
Where there is cheating ........... there is Jay Morris
Where there is slimy .............. there is Jay Morris
Where there is dishonesty ......... there is Jay Morris
Where there is chauvinism ......... there is Jay Morris
Where there is sickening .......... there is Jay Morris