Saturday, June 24, 2023

Commissioner Sara Arnold Exposes and Opposes County Administrator's Illegal Gag Orders to SJC Employees

Thanks and praise to St. Johns County Commissioner Sara Arnold for asking questions and demanding answers about our County Administrator's illegal gag orders to employees. 

What is to be done? 

Here is my June 24, 2023 e-mail to Commissioner Arnold, with copies to others:

Dear Commissioner Arnold:
1. Thank you for blowing the whistle on our St. Johns County Administrator's illegal gag orders to our County employees about speaking to our County Commissioners! (5:47:00 et seq., Commissioner Sara Arnold colloquy during Commissioner Comments, June 20, 2023 SJC BoCC  meeting). 
2. Thank you for speaking out!
3. I listened to the colloquy.  I believe such gag orders are illegal, unconstitutional and unseemly, and possible willful material breach(es) of the Administrator's contract.
4. Query: are these illegal gag orders cause for immediate termination or discipline?  What does our County Attorney advise?
5. Would you and your fellow Commissioners please be so kind as to designate the County Administrator's gag orders and possible breach of contract as agenda item(s)? 
6. Would Commission please discuss, at the July 18, 2023 BCC meeting, whether to give formal written notice and allow the County Administrator to defend himself at an open public Due Process hearing, or else resign?
7. As our elected County Commissioners, you have an indefeasible right to hear from any citizen or County employee without tortious interference.  
8. The County Administrator's rather rude and robotic response to your valid concerns is evidence of his unfitness to hold the job.  County Administrator HUNTER SINCLAIR CONRAD sounded utterly unresponsive and disrespectful. This is not the first time the County Administrator has violated the reasonable expectations of probity. Let it be the last.  The retaliatory hostile working environment must be ended at once in St. Johns County. 
9. Governmental gag orders are unconstitutional and violate our cherished First Amendment rights. More here:
10. No County employee should ever again fear retaliation at work for speaking the truth or doing their job too well. Please feel free to call me to discuss.  
Footnote:  My mother was a Camden County College employee in New Jersey.  As a boy, I saw first-hand the effects on ethical employees and their families of oppressive government managers.  (She helped organize IUE Local 440, and I helped her picket for a week.  She did not rest until the college administration respected the rights of CCC secretaries and custodians in a collective bargaining agreement.). 
11. Our St. Johns County government employees' rights must be protected and not neglected.  
12. Thank you for raising this issue publicly.   
13. Did our County Administrator show his intent to deceive and obstruct when he indicated that he wished you had raise the issue privately?
14.  Our First Amendment deserves "breathing space."  NAACP v. Button,371 U.S. 415, 433 (1963) New York Times. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1974); Gasparinetti v. Kerr, 568 F.2d 311, 314-17 (3d Cir. 1977)(illegal restrictions on policemen’s First Amendment rights); Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. Hepps, 479 767, 772, 777 (1986)(O’Connor, J.)(newspaper entitled to breathing space in defamation case); Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46, 52, 56 (1988) (Reqhnqist, J.)(magazine parody of TV preacher entitled to breathing space); Keefe v. Ganeakos, 418 F.2d 359, 362 (1st Cir. 1969)(Aldrich, C.J.)(chilling effect on First Amendment by illegal suspension of teacher over sharing Atlantic Monthly article on Vietnam War); Parducci v. Rutland, 316 F.Supp. 352, 355, 357 (M.D. Ala 1970)(Johnson, C.J.)(chilling effect in illegal firing of English teacher over Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House).   
15. Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis wrote that our "government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy." Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928)(Brandeis, J., dissenting), dissent heeded and case overruled, Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967). 
Let justice be done.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
(904) 377-4998


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Little Sarah Arnold puff piece and fluff piece by conservative Dem Ed... such a southern gentleman. Half hog by now n got fleas messing with those CRACKERS!!!