Thursday, June 29, 2023

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.


Anonymous said...

I said prior to his hiring that there should be a search and not have the good old boys decide. This is a result of your on doing.

Anonymous said...

There are good Republicans here in town and in the state who do their duty, help the community, serve the public and the people, but they're not heavily involved in politics. The ones who are, so called "conservative Republicans" in politics and government are lawyers for the rich... nothing more. These are the bad Republicans. So you can see the many kinds of divisions going on in that party and figure out who is a lawyer for the rich and who is really for the people among them. The anti-tax, pro-Trump, right wing police state, anti-immigrant, anti-gay rhetoric is an easy way to tell if they're one of the bad Republicans seeking to profit for themselves using any means necessary.. through demonization and degredation of others.