Friday, October 06, 2023

Commissioners need great administrator candidates (Sherman Gary Snodgrass, St. Augustine Record, December 28, 2019)

I agree with the December 28, 2019 column by former St. Augustine Beach Mayor Sherman Gary Snodgrass.

Nearly four years later, we now have an advisory committee to help Commissioners vet the candidates identified by the national search.  We will have open, public on-the-record interviews at Commission, the way Mayor Snodrass did with City Attorney candidates in St. Augustine Beach.

 "Open covenants, openly arrived at," as President Woodrow Wilson would say. No more secret squirrel stuff -- the selection of Hunter S. Conrad as County Administrator Ad Interim violated legal and ethical norms.  It was a sin, a crime and a tort.  No women or minority candidates were considered.

Never again.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Commissioners need great administrator candidates

Posted Dec 28, 2019 at 6:43 PM  

EDITOR: This letter is in response to the recent article regarding the County’s impending search for a new administrator. We could debate how the former administrator’s separation was handled but that’s for another time. As the saying goes, we are where we are. What’s next, and how should the search for a permanent county administrator be pursued? These are the real questions to be answered. Comments made by various Commissioners about the process are not encouraging. Now is not the time for amateur hour.

The County Commission should engage an executive search firm with a demonstrated track record of success in conducting senior level searches in the public sector. Such a firm would bring objectivity and transparency to the process. Executive search firms typically maintain data bases of potential candidates and have a nationwide network of contacts and resources that would be invaluable in identifying a slate of diverse, outstanding individuals, including those that may not be seeking opportunities. An executive search firm would bring professionalism, sophistication, best practices and proven methodologies in identifying highly qualified candidates.

St. Johns County is one of the 10 fastest growing counties in the United States. It faces myriad complex challenges including growth and development management, infrastructure, beach and shore restoration and preservation, transportation and mobility, quality of life, funding issues and more. These are serious times with serious issues needing attention. A sophisticated, clear, independent and fact-based process is required for identifying and employing a world class leader as the County’s next Administrator.

County Commissioners step up your game!

S. Gary Snodgrass

Former Mayor of City of St. Augustine Beach

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