Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Attending 2.5 days of St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK's budget hearings helped me see the waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, flummery, dupery, no-bid contracts and bigotry more clearly. No tax increase is desired or required -- raise impact fees on developers. Enough developer-driven politics in the eleventh fastest growing county in America, home of corrupt Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR," under FBI investigation.

Former City Commissioner Sandra Parks (heroic KKK-buster Stetson Kennedy's widow) says "A budget's a moral document."

Vice President Joe Biden's father said, "Show me your budget, and I'll tell you what your priorities are."

For three days, from May 18-20, 2016, our estimable St. Johns County Administrator Michael David Wanchick, refused to provide Budget Hearing coverage on County Government TV. But thanks to video-journalist-activist Jeffrey Marcus Gray, who live-streamed the Budget hearing, citizens can now watch and see Wanchick and others responding to budget concerns, including First Amendment protected activity concerning waste, fraud, abuse, flummery, dupery, nincompoopery, misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance.

Go to http://bambuser.com/channel/Public+Records+Access+Matters. Watch County Administrator Wanchick avoiding, evading, ducking, mocking, condescending and trying to chill, coerce, intimidate and silence legitimate public questions, including:

o Hidden $5.3 million sought for Sheriff David Shoar's budget in Board of County Commissioners' annual budget (in addition to his extravagant $66 million annual budget), mostly for his own new training center, without justification or cost-benefit analysis;

o Medical Examiner Predrag Bulic, highest-paid county employee ($225,000), who claimed Michelle O'Connell committed "suicide" based on discredited upside-down gun theory, whose investigation "stinks," according to new 2016 autopsy and national experts. When I asked Dr. Bulic questions about remedial course work, Wanchick rudely cut me off;

o $250,000 tax subsidy to The Players Championship, a golf tournament;

o $400,000 annual loss on the county golf course, which some would like to sell or privatize;

o Large questionable subsidies to The St. Augustine Record with high-cost advertising, some of which is not legally required TRIM or land use advertising (Record receives approximately some $200,000 from governments annually). Do ad dollars purchase the Record owner's obliviousness?

o Millions of dollars in evergreen no-bid contracts to the Establishment, including St. Johns Visitor and Convention Bureau, Inc. and the Chamber of Commerce -- our local Chamber of Commerce (headquartered in The St. Augustine Record Building) is part of Big Business-dominated national lobbying group that has opposed every reform law since the New Deal;

o Wasteful $16.9 million World Golf Village Convention Center Marriott subsidy, for which we're still paying (County only gets twelve days of free use for its citizens annually, which Wanchick said he ultimately decides);

o Mindless advertising to draw more tourists, while failing to invest adequately in West Augustine sewers and in transit, libraries, parks, beaches and other tourist amenities that improve our quality of life;

o Inadequate library and bus service -- no service on Sundays; former Commissioner Dr. Mary F. Kohnke, Ph.D. (R-Ponte Vedra) opined we should all "stay home" and "pray";

o $5000 per Commissioner travel budgets;


o Lack of any African-American lifeguards and pervasive good-ole-boy management culture that perpetuates de facto segregation;

o Failure to require OSHA compliance (Florida governments were actually exempted under Governor Jeb Bush);

o Failure to require $15/hour living wage for all County and government contractor employees;

o University of Florida horticultural agent contract that resulted in wrongful termination of Keith Fuller, our beloved horticultural agent;

o Ripoff $3.50-surcharge Amphitheater ATMs, previously $3.00, long non-ADA compliant, illegally placed there with no contract/lease (in 2014, our County Attorney promised fee-free Bank of America ATMs as quid pro quo for $600 million annual deposits);

o No Inspector General or Ombuds;

o No replacement County Pier plan or St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore discussion; and

o No sophisticated strategic planning discussions, unlike City under Mayor Shaver.


It's our money. Ask questions. Demand answers.

Five constitutional officers won't present their budgets until July 1, 2016. In the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we'll get this right "if it takes all summer."

We need a new County Administrator who works for people, not for corporate developers. Wanchick's contract expires next year -- no renewal, no severance pay under his controversial "golden parachute"/"poison pill" contract.

For a good time, to know more, read my report here:
St. Johns County Budget: The Good, Bad & Ugly --- "MIKEY THE WEASEL" WANCHICK's HAM-HANDED BUDGET HEARING

Read my DOJ complaint about Wanchick's retaliatory threats during the meeting here: http://cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/2016/05/doj-complaint-on-wanchick-retaliation.html

Ed Slavin has lived in St. Augustine since 1999. He was Editor of the Appalachian Observer, Clinton, Tennessee weekly newspaper, which exposed the world's largest mercury pollution event (Union Carbide Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant) and corruption by Anderson County Sheriff Dennis O. Trotter (twice "Tennessee Sheriff of the Year"), who (along with three co-felons) was sentenced to four years in federal prison, and who (along with three other co-felon individuals and a corporation) paid an out-of-court settlement to Slavin for fomenting a meritless libel lawsuit against Slavin, served on the morning of his first law school exam in Memphis (Torts). Folio Weekly Editor Anne Schindler called him an "environmental hero" for exposing the City of St. Augustine dumping a landfill in a lake; the 40,000 cubic yards of contaminated solid waste now resides in a landfill in Nassau County.

No comments: