Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Backsides Turned to "We, the People" in St. Johns County and St. Augustine, Florida

Attend a meeting of the St. Johns County Commission, St. Augustine City Commission for the first time? Notice something passing strange?

Our overpaid staff members' backs are to the audience.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Parliamentarian and other staffers face the audience. Ditto the U.S. Senate. Ditto the St. Augustine Beach City Commission, which has the staff located to the right side.

And that's the way it was at the St. Johns County Commission, until its new building was constructed, with Commissioners high on a dimly-lit dais, and staffers backs to the public. How gauche and louche to change the arrangement, without discussion or debate.

Nothing could be ruder. Of course, the City of St. Augustine's City Manager, City Clerk and City Attorney have their backsides to the public, while the Deputy Clerk can be both seen and heard, to the side.

After ten years of enduring corruption, waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, flummery, dupery, nincompoopery, no-bid contracts and bigotry from local governments, it's time for them to stop. Point this out when you speak to local governments.

When the St. Augustine Beach City Charter Review Committee consultant, Mariyn Crotty, arranged tables to have committee members' backsides to the audience, I objected. It was changed at the next meeting.

We the People should be able look into the eyes of overpaid St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK, St. Augustine City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E., and their overpaid hireling attorneys PATRICK McCORMACK and ISABELLE LOPEZ. They should not be able to use unseen signals to public officials to stage-manage events, or show their disrespect by having their backsides to the world. Enough.

Symbols are important. Craven or crooked local government managers are in bed with developers -- as symbolized by what Thomas F. Reynolds, Jr. and Dr. Roy F. Hinman, II, M.D. have rightly called "the Developer Debt Relief Program" -- more $24 million in forgiveness of developer obligations. While in bed with dodgy developers, they literally have their backsides to We, the People. Enough.

Government legislative body staff should face the public, not show their butts:

U.S. House of Representatives

Town of Hastings Town Council (Ed Slavin file photo)

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