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, , -244; Kirby v. United States, ; Motes v. United States, , ; In re Oliver, , , but also in all types of cases where administrative and regulatory actions were under scrutiny. E.g., Southern R. Co. v. Virginia, ; Ohio Bell Telephone Co. v. Public Utilities Commission, ; Morgan v. United States, , ; Carter v. Kubler, ; Reilly v. Pinkus, . Nor, as it has been pointed out, has Congress ignored these fundamental requirements in enacting regulatory legislation. Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee v. McGrath, , -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.
Will HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD resign?
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: