If you see a turtle sitting on a fencepost, you know that somebody put it there. Don't take my word for it: it is an ancient rural aphorism, popularized by President William Jefferson Clinton.
My first encounter with DAVID DOUGLAS BIRCHIM was circa March 2005, when he claimed in a telephone conversation that there's "no corruption" in City Hall, in connection with constant annexations reducing minority voting strength. Those residential annexations helped reduce minority voting strength in the City of St. Augustine from 25% to less than 12%, violating our 15th Amendment and Voting Rights Act. We stopped them, or at least slowed them down, 2006-2019 by exposing their handiwork.
At the time of our first conversation, Mr. BIRCHIM was the assistant and understudy to MARK ALAN KNIGHT, corrupt Planning and Building Director, later fired by City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E. While claiming to use a search process, Regan hired BIRCHIM to replace KNIGHT.
BIRCHIM had his hands slapped for conflict of interest when he failed to recuse himself on a rezoning request for fifteen (15) houses by his own post-hurricane building renovation and remodeling contractor for his own home. Oops.
Thankfully, our Florida Ethics Commission forced his recusal after this blog revealed the lawbreaking.
Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes provides:
CONFLICTING EMPLOYMENT OR CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP.- No public officer or employee of an agency shall have or hold any employment or contractual relationship with any business entity or any agency which is subject to the regulation of, or is doing business with, an agency of which he or she is an officer or employee . . .; nor shall an officer or employee of an agency have or hold any employment or contractual relationship that will create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between his or her private interests and the performance of his or her public duties or that would impede the full and faithful discharge of his or her public duties.
Since graduating with a Master's degree in Urban Planning from the University of Tennessee circa 1998, Mr. BIRCHIM has had only one (1) employer.
He's now thoroughly embedded, if not embittered, with the Dull Republican developer puppets who think they own our Nation's Oldest City, who are in fact ruining it.
BIRCHIM is a lickspittle and a doormat for devious developers who are destroying our town and county, faster than a speeding dump truck.
BIRCHIM's desuetude of law enforcement benefits history-destroying, nature-killing develops Dull Republican developers like CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR. LOUIS JOHN ARBIZZANI, DAVID BARTON CORNEAL, JAY McGARVEY, and their mendacious mouthpieces, including DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT, ELLEN AVERY SMITH, ROGERS TOWERS LAW FIRM, and co conflicted full-time federal employee GARY BRIAN DAVENPORT,
Bless their hearts.
Most recently, on 32 Granada Street, BIRCHIM has told Commissioners that staff does not make recommendations on rezoning of land. BIRCHIM gave no sources for this new rule. Wonder why?
As far as lawmaking goes, our city and county are pretty pitiful,
No local Ethics ordinance.
No Inspector General.
No attack on organized crime investments in our town.
No scrutiny of public corruption by local law enforcement.
We are all victims of the louche lords and unjust stewards of zoning law who know not that they know not that they know not, whenever tortfeasors and fraudfeasors have their way with Our Town.
Is dopey DAVID DOUGLAS BIRCHIM now in line to be the next City Manager?
Now, mutatis mutandis, some cynics may suspect or expect that City Manager John. Patrick Regan, P.E. might try to euchre Commissioners to hire BIRCHIM as City Manager whenever REGAN decides to retire.
We need a national search, not the promotion from within of ethically challenged lugubrious goobers.
Here's the City of St. Augustine press release on the promotion of BIRCHIM:
December 20, 2021
City announces David Birchim as Assistant City Manager responsible for strategic initiatives
Planning and Building Deputy Director Amy Skinner promoted to Director
The City of St. Augustine is proud to announce that a new assistant city manager position responsible for the City Commission’s large-scale, long-term strategic initiatives will be filled by Planning and Building Director David Birchim. Replacing Birchim as Planning and Building Director is Amy Skinner, Deputy Director.
Strategic initiatives the city is developing include but are not limited to a commuter rail project, affordable housing solutions, homelessness housing alternatives, relocation of the Anastasia Island fire station, relocation of the St. Augustine Police Department, and additional satellite parking venues.
“With many of these initiatives, David is critical to the understanding and development of their design and implementation,” City Manager John Regan said. “By allowing him to focus solely on these projects, his experience and expertise will be dedicated to the strategic vision of maintaining vibrancy and livability in our city.”
Birchim started his career 24 years ago as a Planner II, then Senior Planner, Planning Manager, and Deputy Director, before ultimately becoming the Planning and Building Director in 2015. His knowledge of City code and building and development practices, in addition to his ability to articulate the design and intention of projects to the volunteer boards and City Commission is unparalleled. In promoting Birchim to assistant city manager, the city continues to benefit from his expertise and offers an opportunity to work more closely with long-term planning and development.
Skinner has worked for the city a total of 15 years. She started as a Planning Technician in 1989, but in 1997 left the city to work as a consultant and in addition worked for the City of Bunnell for several years. Skinner returned to the City of St. Augustine in 2014 and has been the Deputy Director since 2016.
City Manager John Regan said in his announcement, “Amy is unquestionably the right person to take the helm of the Planning and Building Department. With her skill sets and extensive background, she will bring a fresh, new perspective to the leadership role of the department.”
Meredith Breidenstein will continue in her position as Assistant City Manager overseeing administrative, departmental, and financial operations for the city.
Media inquiries may be directed to Melissa Wissel, Communications Director, at 904.293.3307.
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Photo Attachments: David Birchim, Assistant City Manager and Amy Skinner, Planning & Building Director