Saturday, July 18, 2020

Unrebutted affidavit of former Mayor Nancy Shaver on Confederate war dead memorial contextualization process in St. Augustine, Florida

Unrebutted affidavit filed in Circuit Court by beloved former St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver in Jill Pacetti, St. Johns County Veterans Counciln and Military Officers Association v. City of St. Augustine:

I served as the Mayor of St Augustine between the years 2014 and 2019. I resigned during my third term as the elected Mayor of St Augustine due to health reasons. Mr. Tracy Upchurch was appointed to finish my term which runs through 2020.
During my service as Mayor of St Augustine, the City Commission chose not to remove the War Memorial, based on a near year long, thoughtful, community driven process.
The War Memorial is referred to as “The Dead” which is at the center of this lawsuit and located in the Plaza in the center of a designated Historic District within the city limits of St Augustine.
In the year 2017 the City Commission, led by me, undertook a community-wide dialogue to decide the best path forward for the War Memorial. As the oldest US city with over 450 years of history, our Commission was conscious of the responsibility to maintain, preserve and explain all of Saint Augustine’s story.
We heard from the public in a meeting dedicated to the question on August 28, 2017 and asked the City Manager to provide us, the Commission, with options that would acknowledge community views and our need to preserve our country’s history. The City Manager presented findings, including expert opinion on the physical condition of the War Memorial to the Commission on October 27, 2017.
The Commission, in a unanimous vote, instructed the City Manager to proceed with the formation of a citizen committee to develop an approach for providing education and context to Plaza visitors. Forty residents applied and seven were selected to serve on the committee by the City Manager, resulting in a diverse group with varied expertise and experience.
The expert driven due diligence process began its work in January of 2018 and resulted in the recommendation delivered to the Commission for approval on July 9, 2018.
The group recommended adding plaques to surround the monument that provided meaning and context of its place in the history of the City of St Augustine. The committee’s recommendation included a proposal to add four plaques – Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory and Interpret – to the base of the monument, each of which provides a different historical perspective for those visiting the memorial.
Their recommendation was presented and approved by the Commission on July 9, 2018 and work was completed on May 8, 2019. In so doing the Commission created a process that was respectful of the historical significance of this monument and our responsibilities as guardians of the rich history of St Augustine. Our process depended heavily on both community and expert involvement. The thoughtful process of adding context took months to complete.
As a City Commission, led by me, we recognized the special responsibility we have to the citizens of Saint Augustine and her visitors, past and future to preserve and protect our unique history, as uncomfortable as that can be. This monument has been at the center of St Augustine since 1879. The monument and the people of the City deserve the respect that thoughtful due process can provide.

December 1, 2014, Mayor Nancy Shaver is sworn in by Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince.  Outgoing Mayor JOSEPH LESTEr BOLES, JR, refused to shake Mayor Shaver's hand.  As JFK said of Richard Nixon on the day after the 1960 presidential election, mendacious Mayor BOLES was "the same way going out as he was going in -- no class."

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