Thursday, June 29, 2023

From Action News Jax: St. Johns County Administrator’s future in question after workplace culture concerns. (Robert Grant, Action News Jax)

UPDATE: CONRAD resigned.


Unqualified Republican political patronage hire HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD, unindicted co-conspirator as "Clerk E" in the federal bribery indictment in United States v.  PENN CREDIT CORP. & DONALD DONAGHER, JR., has been arrogant since the date that Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT duked him into the job of St. Johns County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller, after letters from developers and power brokers.

After the indictment and before anyone knew about it, five Republican Commissioners voted abruptly to file County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK, and to hire CONRAD.  There was no job posting, no advertising, no advance notice, no express waiver of his lacking the minimum qualifications, no consideration of women or minority applicants, no consideration of any applicants. Commissioners all said CONRAD hung the moon, in 2019, in 2020,  and again in March 2023, prematurely considering a three year renewal of his lucrative quarter million dollars a year contract.

As asinine authoritarian Administrator, CONRAD has behaved like the Dull Republican Lord of All He Surveys, treating the Administrator's job as a "stepping stone" to higher office, fancying himself a future President.

CONRAD told me, twice, at 2020 and 2021 budget hearings, "I don't have to answer your questions; I work for the Board of County Commissioners.  

In the men 's room at the Agricultural Center during 2020 budget hearing recess, CONRAD asked me, "Are you ever happy?"  I responded by saying, "always."  I asked him if he was happy, and he responded robotically, assuring me that he's got a wife and five kids. 

CONRAD has retaliated against employees for doing their "jobs too well." Looking forward, to civil, criminal and administrative investigations of his Reign of Error, 

CONRAD rather reminds me of King George III, from the musical, Hamilton.

On June 30, 2023, at their special called meeting, County Commissioners would be more than justified in giving CONRAD a statement of reasons and an opportunity to request a hearing. 

Otherwise, hubristic haughty hick hack HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD could always resign.

Having offended nearly everyone and violated the rights of employees and managers, resignation is too good for him.  

However, the developers' political machine and he probably agree this  would be "a good career move," in the words of the late Gore Vidal upon the death of Truman. Capote.

What's next? 

  • Commissioners should now designate an Interim Administrator (perhaps Joy Q. Andrews), hire a recruiting firm and conduct a proper national search. It's the standard of care, as former HR managers Sherman Gary Snodgrass and James Springfield agree.  Anything less is willful and corrupt.
  • Commissioners should consider the 25 ideas for government reform I presented on March 15, 2023, the date they voted for a 15% sales tax increase, which voters rejected in a 62% landslide,.

From Action News Jax:

St. Johns County Administrator’s future in question after workplace culture concerns

By Robert Grant,

6 hours ago

The future of the man at the helm of St. Johns County is in question after a commissioner raised concerns about workplace culture within county administration. 

On Friday, commissioners will hold a special meeting to discuss County Administrator Hunter Conrad’s contract just months after they unanimously approved renewing it. His contract was renewed with a more than $30,000 raise to $248,000 in March, about nine months before it was set to expire in December of this year. 

“I’m very worried about the workplace environment and culture that seems to be growing here amongst county staff,” County Commissioner Sarah Arnold said during a June 20 commission meeting. “This is going further into what I believe to be a dangerous precedent and troublesome culture in the county.” 

Arnold made the comments because she said several county directors came to her in private for fear of retaliation after a “hasty” meeting to set the groundwork for a new rule about access to commissioners. 

She said directors are now required to get the administration’s approval before a one-on-one meeting. 

“We can no longer have one-on-one direct access with our directors — and open conversation lines. It seems we can no longer talk directly with our staff without it being reported,” she said last week. 

“During my tenure, I certainly have never heard of any problems with that public or private communication other than Commissioner Arnold’s problem today,” Conrad said. “It’s within my authority as your administrator to call directors meetings whenever I please … by policy and by code, the administration is supposed to have everything funneled through them. That’s not to restrict information or access to commissioners. That’s to make sure that all commissioners are provided with the same level of service and information.” 

Conrad was hired as the full-time county administrator in 2020, and his new contract was not set to expire until 2026. During last week’s meeting, no other commissioners raised concerns. 

In March, Action News Jax’s Robert Grant reported on a former county employee’s concern about renewing Conrad’s contract. 

Read: Deferred investigation into St. Johns historical preservation position raises questions 

Trey Asner was the county’s cultural resource coordinator but claimed he was forced out of the position, which has since been expunged. He said he wasn’t surprised the contract is back up for discussion this week. 

“In some cases, I felt I was safe until I wasn’t. I could question certain things, but I couldn’t question certain things. Tenacious subjects like the Hastings High School,” he explained. 

In his previous position, Asner worked to protect historical landmarks like Hastings High School. He claimed county administration asked him to hide a report from the Cultural Resource Review Board. He added his direct bosses weren’t the problem, but there was pressure from higher-ups. 

“They do operate with an understanding that they do not want to get in trouble with administration,” Asner said. 

Read: Dispute over reserved seats turns deadly in theater showing Jennifer Lawrence film 

Arnold voiced concerns about the city’s ability to recruit and retain employees. Action News Jax requested all the names of directors under Conrad’s tenure and their time with the county. A representative said they are processing that request, as well as our request for comment on the situation. 

Conrad acknowledged last week he would “gladly step aside” if board members “don’t like the direction [the county] is going.”

BULLETIN: St. Johns County Administrator Contract Up for Discussion Friday, June 30, 2023!

UPDATE: No word on whether HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD will resign or stand on his right to "some kind of hearing," in the inimitable words of the late Judge Friendly.

There's a special called meeting of the St. Johns County Commission Friday, June 30, 2023 at 2 pm. 

The sole subject is the contract between St. Johns County Administrator HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD and St. Johns County, extended hastily in March and currently set to expire in 2026. 

Is HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD being given proper notice for a Due Process hearing?  

After concerns about his rampant violations of employee rights, that would be a good idea.

Due Process requires a Statement of Reasons and a decent respect for public opinion.  

Were several prior County Administrators fired or run off without adequate process? 

The Rule of Law must be restored.

In Greene v. McElroy, 360 U.S. 474 (1959), the U.S. Supreme Court held that due process hearings were required, even in security clearance cases, to protect the rights of individuals:

Certain principles have remained relatively immutable in our jurisprudence. One of these is that, where governmental action seriously injures an individual, and the reasonableness of the action depends on fact findings, the evidence used to prove the Government's case must be disclosed to the individual so that he has an opportunity to show that it is untrue. While this is important in the case of documentary evidence, it is even more important where the evidence consists of the testimony of individuals whose memory might be faulty or who, in fact, might be perjurers or persons motivated by malice, vindictiveness, intolerance, prejudice, or jealousy. We have formalized these protections in the requirements of confrontation and cross-examination. They have ancient roots. [Footnote 25] They find expression in the Sixth Amendment, which provides that, in all criminal cases, the accused shall enjoy the right "to be confronted with  the witnesses against him." This Court has been zealous to protect these rights from erosion. It has spoken out not only in criminal cases, e.g., Mattox v. United States, 156 U. S. 237,  156 U. S. 242-244; Kirby v. United States, 174 U. S. 47Motes v. United States, 178 U. S. 458,  178 U. S. 474In re Oliver, 333 U. S. 257,  333 U. S. 273, but also in all types of cases where administrative and regulatory actions were under scrutiny.  E.g., Southern R. Co. v. Virginia, 290 U. S. 190Ohio Bell Telephone Co. v. Public Utilities Commission, 301 U. S. 292Morgan v. United States, 304 U. S. 1304 U. S. 19Carter v. Kubler, 320 U. S. 243Reilly v. Pinkus, 338 U. S. 269. Nor, as it has been pointed out, has Congress ignored these fundamental requirements in enacting regulatory legislation.  Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee v. McGrath, 341 U. S. 123,  341 U. S. 168-169 (concurring opinion).

Professor Wigmore, commenting on the importance of cross-examination, states in his treatise, 5 Wigmore on Evidence (3d ed. 1940) § 1367:

"For two centuries past, the policy of the Anglo-American system of Evidence has been to regard the necessity of testing by cross-examination as a vital feature of the law. The belief that no safeguard for testing the value of human statements is comparable to that furnished by cross-examination, and the conviction that no statement (unless by special exception) should be used as testimony until it has been probed and sublimated by that test has found increasing strength in lengthening experience."

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called St. Johns County the "most lawless" place in America.

Hiring CONRAD without a job application, without a national search, without a background investigation, without an interview, based upon Apple Pie arguments he was a "good Christian man?"  

That was wrong. 

That was absurd. 

Hiring him temporarily, then permanently and then renewing his contract, for another three years, without considering other qualified applicants.  That was crooked. 


That would be "a good career move," as the late Gore Vidal said upon the death of Truman Capote.

Will HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD be fired like his predecessor, MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK?

Footnote: I was not in attendance when WANCHICK was fired, on November 19, 2019, the same date when HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD was hired, in possible violation of F.S. 286.Fired County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK later told people that his firing was "all that damned Ed Slavin's fault."   But the public record reflects that I was not there that day.

CONRAD's contract provides in pertinent part:

Article IV. Termination, Resignation and Suspension

(1) Termination by the Board. The Board retains the irrevocable right to terminate this Agreement at any time, subject only to the applicable provisions of Chapter 125, Florida Statutes, the County Code of Ordinances and those provisions contained in this Agreement where matters of termination and severance are addressed. Upon such termination, all services of the County Administrator shall also terminate. For purposes of Section 125.73, F.S., should the County Administrator request a hearing, such request shall be provided to the Board within three (3) business days of the notice of proposed termination.

(2) Resignation by the County Administrator. The County Administrator retains the right to resign at any time. In such event, the County Administrator must provide the County with no less than one hundred twenty (120) days prior written notice of the effective date of the resignation. This Agreement shall immediately terminate with no further action required by the Board upon the effective date of such resignation.

(3) Suspension by the Board. The parties hereby acknowledge that the Board is authorized to suspend the County Administrator with full pay and benefits at any time during the effective term of this Agreement, if: (1) a majority of the members of the Board and the County Administrator mutually agree; or if (2) after a public hearing in which a majority of the members of the Board votes to suspend the County Administrator for Cause (as defined herein), subject to the County providing the County Administrator written notice of all charges and/or allegations giving rise to such Cause by no less than ten (10) days prior to the public hearing. For purposes of this Agreement, "Cause" is the County Administrator's misconduct as defined in section 443.036(29), F.S. or the County Administrator's commission of an illegal act, including but not limited to a judicial or administrative agency finding of a violation of the Sunshine Law (Chapter 286, F.S.), the Public Records Law (Chapter 119, F.S.) or of the Ethics Law (Chapter 11, PartIII).

Florida Statutes 125.73 and 125.74 provides:

125.73 County administrator; appointment, qualifications, compensation.
(1) Each county to which this part applies shall appoint a county administrator, who shall be the administrative head of the county and shall be responsible for the administration of all departments of the county government which the board of county commissioners has authority to control pursuant to this act, the general laws of Florida, or other applicable legislation.
(2) The county administrator shall be qualified by administrative and executive experience and ability to serve as the chief administrator of the county. He or she shall be appointed by an affirmative vote of not less than three members of the board of county commissioners and may be removed at any time by an affirmative vote, upon notice, of not less than three members of the board, after a hearing if such be requested by the county administrator. The administrator need not be a resident of the county at the time of appointment, but during his or her tenure in office shall reside within the county.
(3) The compensation of the administrator shall be fixed by the board of county commissioners unless otherwise provided by law.
(4) The office of county administrator shall be deemed vacant if the incumbent moves his or her residence from the county or is, by death, illness, or other casualty, unable to continue in office. A vacancy in the office shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. The board of county commissioners may appoint an acting administrator in the case of vacancy or temporary absence or disability until a successor has been appointed and qualified or the administrator returns.
History.s. 1, ch. 74-193; s. 821, ch. 95-147.
125.74 County administrator; powers and duties.
(1) The administrator may be responsible for the administration of all departments responsible to the board of county commissioners and for the proper administration of all affairs under the jurisdiction of the board. To that end, the administrator may, by way of enumeration and not by way of limitation, have the following specific powers and duties to:
(a) Administer and carry out the directives and policies of the board of county commissioners and enforce all orders, resolutions, ordinances, and regulations of the board to assure that they are faithfully executed.
(b) Report to the board on action taken pursuant to any directive or policy within the time set by the board and provide an annual report to the board on the state of the county, the work of the previous year, and any recommendations as to actions or programs the administrator deems necessary for the improvement of the county and the welfare of its residents.
(c) Provide the board, or individual members thereof, upon request, with data or information concerning county government and to provide advice and recommendations on county government operations to the board.
(d) Prepare and submit to the board of county commissioners for its consideration and adoption an annual operating budget, a capital budget, and a capital program.
(e) Establish the schedules and procedures to be followed by all county departments, offices, and agencies in connection with the budget and supervise and administer all phases of the budgetary process.
(f) Prepare and submit to the board after the end of each fiscal year a complete report on the finances and administrative activities of the county for the preceding year and submit his or her recommendations.
(g) Supervise the care and custody of all county property.
(h) Recommend to the board a current position classification and pay plan for all positions in county service.
(i) Develop, install, and maintain centralized budgeting, personnel, legal, and purchasing procedures.
(j) Organize the work of county departments, subject to an administrative code developed by the administrator and adopted by the board, and review the departments, administration, and operation of the county and make recommendations pertaining thereto for reorganization by the board.
(k) Select, employ, and supervise all personnel and fill all vacancies, positions, or employment under the jurisdiction of the board. However, the employment of all department heads shall require confirmation by the board of county commissioners.
(l) Suspend, discharge, or remove any employee under the jurisdiction of the board pursuant to procedures adopted by the board.
(m) Negotiate leases, contracts, and other agreements, including consultant services, for the county, subject to approval of the board, and make recommendations concerning the nature and location of county improvements.
(n) See that all terms and conditions in all leases, contracts, and agreements are performed and notify the board of any noted violation thereof.
(o) Order, upon advising the board, any agency under the administrator’s jurisdiction as specified in the administrative code to undertake any task for any other agency on a temporary basis if he or she deems it necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the county government to do so.
(p) Attend all meetings of the board with authority to participate in the discussion of any matter.
(q) Perform such other duties as may be required by the board of county commissioners.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to grant to the county administrator only those powers and duties which are administrative or ministerial in nature and not to delegate any governmental power imbued in the board of county commissioners as the governing body of the county pursuant to s. 1(e), Art. VIII of the State Constitution. To that end, the above specifically enumerated powers are to be construed as administrative in nature, and in any exercise of governmental power the administrator shall only be performing the duty of advising the board of county commissioners in its role as the policy-setting governing body of the county.
History.s. 1, ch. 74-193; s. 822, ch. 95-147.

Florida Statute 443.06(29) defines "cause" for termination for Misconduct as:

(29) “Misconduct,” irrespective of whether the misconduct occurs at the workplace or during working hours, includes, but is not limited to, the following, which may not be construed in pari materia with each other:
(a) Conduct demonstrating conscious disregard of an employer’s interests and found to be a deliberate violation or disregard of the reasonable standards of behavior which the employer expects of his or her employee. Such conduct may include, but is not limited to, willful damage to an employer’s property that results in damage of more than $50, or theft of employer property or property of a customer or invitee of the employer.
(b) Carelessness or negligence to a degree or recurrence that manifests culpability or wrongful intent, or shows an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer’s interests or of the employee’s duties and obligations to his or her employer.
(c) Chronic absenteeism or tardiness in deliberate violation of a known policy of the employer or one or more unapproved absences following a written reprimand or warning relating to more than one unapproved absence.
(d) A willful and deliberate violation of a standard or regulation of this state by an employee of an employer licensed or certified by this state, which violation would cause the employer to be sanctioned or have its license or certification suspended by this state.
(e)1. A violation of an employer’s rule, unless the claimant can demonstrate that:
a. He or she did not know, and could not reasonably know, of the rule’s requirements;
b. The rule is not lawful or not reasonably related to the job environment and performance; or
c. The rule is not fairly or consistently enforced.
2. Such conduct may include, but is not limited to, committing criminal assault or battery on another employee, or on a customer or invitee of the employer or committing abuse or neglect of a patient, resident, disabled person, elderly person, or child in her or his professional care.

Lowell Palmer Weicker, Jr., R.I.P.

A historian friend asked me, circa 2017, "remember when there were good Republicans?" 

I fondly remember Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. and so should you. 

Senator Weicker was one of my heroes during Watergate.  In the words of Senate Watergate Committee Chair Sam J. Ervin, Jr.:

From The New York Times: 

Lowell Weicker, Maverick Connecticut Senator and Governor, Dies at 92

A liberal Republican, he became known for his fierce criticism of Nixon during Watergate. Decades later, he termed Donald Trump “a total con artist.”

A black-and-white photo of Lowell Weicker, seated in an office, wearing a suit, a tie and glasses. He is gesturing with both hands (he looks to be counting) and looking intensely to his left.
Lowell P. Weicker Jr. in his Senate office in 1977. In 30 years in public life he never seemed happier than when he was in the middle of a good toe-to-toe slugfest.Credit...George Tames/The New York Times
A black-and-white photo of Lowell Weicker, seated in an office, wearing a suit, a tie and glasses. He is gesturing with both hands (he looks to be counting) and looking intensely to his left.

Kirk Johnson, a former reporter for The Times, covered Mr. Weicker when he was governor of Connecticut.

Lowell P. Weicker Jr., a liberal Republican who earned a national reputation for pugnacious political independence — first as a young United States senator during the Watergate hearings and later as a third-party governor of Connecticut — died on Wednesday at a hospital in Middletown, in central Connecticut. He was 92. 

His family announced his death in a statement.

Mr. Weicker was an obscure junior senator from Connecticut and a member of President Richard M. Nixon’s own party in 1973 when he took an assignment on the Senate select committee that was investigating the Watergate affair — the break-in at the offices of the Democratic opposition by a White House team of burglars and the administration’s attempts to cover up the crime.

But after the committee’s televised hearings were over, he was famous, demonized by some for the harshness of his attacks on Nixon but lionized as a hero by others.

n one memorable moment, the White House counsel, John W. Dean, was in the witness chair, having revealed that Nixon had kept an “enemies list.” Mr. Weicker declared, to enthusiastic applause:

“Let me make it clear, because I have got to have my partisan moment: Republicans do not cover up; Republicans do not go ahead and threaten; Republicans do not go ahead and commit illegal acts; and, God knows, Republicans don’t view their fellow Americans as enemies to be harassed.’’

Several men in suits and ties, including Mr. Weicker, seated at a table with many microphones on it. They all have very serious expressions on their faces.
Some of the members of the Senate Watergate committee in 1974, on the day the committee released its final report. From left: Fred D. Thompson, the minority counsel; Mr. Weicker; Sam J. Ervin Jr., the North Carolina Democrat who was the committee’s chairman; Samuel Dash, the chief counsel; and the Democratic senators Joseph M. Montoya of New Mexico and Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii.Credit...George Tames, via The New York Times
Several men in suits and ties, including Mr. Weicker, seated at a table with many microphones on it. They all have very serious expressions on their faces.

He later wrote in his autobiography, “Maverick: A Life in Politics”: “As a politician, I wasn’t hurt by Watergate. I was made by it.”

To Mr. Weicker’s admirers, the Watergate hearings revealed a man who was willing to buck power, question authority and follow his convictions, whatever the cost. To his critics, they transformed him into a contrarian with a robust ego who often went against the grain for the sake of the fight itself.

Indeed, through a 30-year career in public life either serving in or representing Connecticut — as a state representative, as the first selectman of Greenwich (the equivalent of its mayor), as a one-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, as a three-term U.S. senator and as governor for four years — Mr. Weicker, a hulking presence at 6-foot-6, never seemed happier than when he was in the middle of a good toe-to-toe slugfest.

In the Senate, where he served from 1971 to 1989, his closest friend and mentor was Senator Jacob K. Javits of New York, another liberal Republican. His favorite enemy, through many a battle in the 1970s and ’80s, was also a Republican, Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina.

Attempts by social conservatives like Mr. Helms to advance their agenda — whether through enacting legislation regarding prayer in public schools or restrictions on abortion rights — particularly enraged Mr. Weicker, who saw the increasing power of the Christian right in his party as a grave threat to its future.

“No greater mischief can be created than to combine the power of religion with the power of government,” he wrote in his autobiography. “History has shown us that time and time again.”

Mr. Weicker’s politics — he usually sided with Democrats on social issues and with Republicans on taxes and spending — always made him an outsider, and in 1990, two years after losing his Senate seat to Joseph I. Lieberman, he walked away from two-party politics completely.

His political comeback, when he ran for governor of Connecticut, would make him into what he said he had always been: an independent. Founding a third party — its official name was A Connecticut Party — he took office in 1991 in the trough of a national recession that had not spared his state. That year, he pushed through the creation of an income tax — long a taboo in Connecticut — even though he lacked the vote of a single member of his party in the state’s General Assembly.

“I sometimes did see myself as a maverick,” he wrote. “Independent, unafraid.”

Lowell Palmer Weicker Jr. was born in Paris on May 16, 1931, the son of the chief executive of the Squibb pharmaceutical company. A grandfather, Theodore Weicker, a German immigrant, had founded the pharmaceutical company Merck & Company with George Merck and later, with a partner, purchased Squibb & Sons.

Lowell Jr. attended the private Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and Yale University, graduating in 1953. After a two-year stint in the Army, he enrolled at the University of Virginia Law School and received his degree in 1958. He served in the Army Reserve until 1964.

Though he grew up in privilege, in his later public life Mr. Weicker often took the side of the underdog. He credited some of his political views to his mother, Mary Hastings (Bickford) Weicker, a Democrat, but just as much to his father, a Republican who he said taught him that having luck and wealth was no excuse to look down on those who had neither. (His parents later divorced, and his mother remarried.)

As an overweight teenager, Mr. Weicker said, he also learned early that standing in place and punching back was probably his best strategy in life.

“A man has to learn to do one of two things,” he quoted a school coach as saying: run or fight. “One look at you and I suggest you learn how to fight,” the coach said. The lesson stuck.

Along the way, Mr. Weicker became a devoted operagoer — so much so that he accepted walk-on parts with the Connecticut Opera.

He was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly in 1962 and was first selectman of Greenwich before winning seats in the U.S. House in 1968 and in the Senate two years later.

With his national profile raised after the Watergate hearings, Mr. Weicker in March 1979 announced his candidacy for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination. But within two months the campaign collapsed, after a poll in his home state had him running third behind Ronald Reagan and former President Gerald R. Ford.

Mr. Weicker, in shirt sleeves and wearing a tie, sitting in a soft chair in an office with a pile of papers on his desk.
Mr. Weicker in his office in 1984. He served in the Senate from 1971 to 1989.Credit...George Tames/The New York Times
Mr. Weicker, in shirt sleeves and wearing a tie, sitting in a soft chair in an office with a pile of papers on his desk.

Mr. Weicker left public life in 1995, after one term as governor. That same year he published his autobiography, written with Barry Sussman, who as an editor at The Washington Post had helped steer its Watergate coverage. Mr. Weicker subsequently served as founding president of the Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit group working on disease prevention, from 2001 to 2011.

He is survived by his wife, Claudia Weicker; his sons, Scot, Gray, Brian, Tre and Sonny; two stepsons, Mason and Andrew Ingram; 12 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He lived in Old Lyme, on Connecticut’s coast.

In the 2008 presidential election, Mr. Weicker endorsed Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, rejecting the self-described maverick Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin. He also backed President Obama in 2012, arguing that his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, was too willing to adjust his positions to win favor with the far right.

Similarly, he had no affection for former President Donald J. Trump, who had once called Mr. Weicker a “fat slob who couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in Connecticut.”

“I think the man is a total con artist,” Mr. Weicker told Hearst Connecticut Media in 2015. “Maybe it’s a reflection of the Republican Party more than Donald Trump, if it allows any nut case like Trump to make it as if he was a valid presidential candidate.”

In 2019, he predicted that Mr. Trump would lose his bid for re-election.

A white-haired and casually dressed Mr. Weicker, standing outdoors with his left arm resting on a tree branch.
Mr. Weicker at his home in Connecticut in 1999. He left public life in 1995, after one term as governor.Credit...Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times
A white-haired and casually dressed Mr. Weicker, standing outdoors with his left arm resting on a tree branch.

In his book, Mr. Weicker admitted that idiosyncratic politics afforded him few allies. By the time he left the Senate, he wrote, he was close to few people in either party.

To many voters at home, he had perhaps come to seem almost too much the loner, fighting one-man battles. Mr. Lieberman neatly captured that image in a series of television commercials that helped swing a tight election. They portrayed Mr. Weicker as a great lumbering bear who came out of his cave only to roar at the world.

In a 2012 interview with Connecticut magazine, Mr. Weicker was asked what was harder: being a senator, being a governor or being retired.

“I think probably being retired,” he said. “To sit here and watch this world go by — and this world is having a tough time — and I can’t do anything about it.”

Neil Vigdor contributed reporting.

Kirk Johnson

Kirk Johnson has covered the American West for more than a decade. Born and raised in Utah and currently based in Seattle, he has written extensively about public lands, rural economics and the environment. More about Kirk Johnson