Thursday, November 02, 2023

Ten (10) questions for five (5) semi-finalist St. Johns County Commission Administrator Applicants

UPDATE: November 2, 2023: As if by magic, no written answer from the four (4) finalists, one of whom, from California, withdrew. The four (4) remaining candidates never answered any of my questions, not one. Meanwhile, JAMES DINNEEN, from angry anti-social St. Johns County Administrator hiring consultant.  Meanwhiled, the fired former Volusia County Administrator, for twelve (12) years, insulted my questions on Zoom video to committee members, inter alia falsely stating that my ten written questions included requests for applicant "elementary school transcripts." Misandthopic JAMES DINNEN was rightly assailed, attacked and removed as Volusia County Manager before he was fired. Enough. 

For future generations, suffering from ocean level rise and corruption and deforestation, undiscussed by our SJC Administrator applicants this week: don't think about hiring DINNEEN and his supercilious headhunter corporation, ever again. 

GovHR is a turkey farm, DINEEN has delusions of adequacy, my friends!  

The seemingly other-directed County Administrator Hiring Committee decided it will have Zoom meeting, commencing at 9 AM, Monday,  October 9, 2023. The four-person committee did so unanimously, only after oddly excluding two (2) of fifteen (15) consultant-recommdned candidates, whom the consultant described, and who sounded like they'd been past employee whistleblowers, who apparently lost their jobs for standing up to politics. 

Who's having a Zoom interview on Monday, October 9, 2023?

In alphabetical order:

Ms. Joy Q. Andrews, current St. Johns County Administrator Ad Interim

Mr. Scott Andrews, current Bakersfield, California, Assistant City Manager

Ms. Sarah Campbell, current Town Manager, Orange Park, Florida

Mr. James G. Doar, current Gallatin County, Montana Administrator

Mr. James K. Harriott, Alachua County, Florida

More home cookin'? 

You tell me.

On Saturday, October 7, 2023, 05:05:29 PM EDT, Ed Slavin <> wrote:

Dear Assistant County Administrator Joy Q, Andrews, Dr. Andrews, Ms. Campbell, Mr. Doar and Mr. Harriott:

Thank you so much for applying for the position of St. Johns County Administrator.  I called for a national search [for] this position, in 2019, along with former St. Augustine Beach Mayor Sherman Gary Snodgrass.

I have lived in St. Johns County since November 5, 1999, nearly 24 years.  I  have reported on events in our City and County since 2006, since I learned about the City of St. Augustine dumping a landfill in a lake, and I was called an "environmental hero" by Folio Weekly.

Would you please be so kind as to answer some questions of interest??

1. Reinventing government. What are your thoughts and experiences on Reinventing Government and developing, enacting and enforcing customer service standards?  So often, St. Johns County lacks a welcoming spirit, failing to answer e-mails or return telephone calls. 

2. Government reform. Please read my 25 suggestions for government reform from March 15, 2022. Please explain how St. Johns County should respond to citizen concerns, from this day forward.  (St. Johns County never responded to any of my 25 suggestions. However, we now have Sheriff's office body cameras, question 1. The remainder of my 25 questions still deserve answers.). Based upon your wisdom and experience, how would you advise Commissioners and direct our staff on these suggestions if you become our County Administrator?

3.  Flawed budget proceess. How would you propose to reform our SJC budget process and trim the budget during TRIM hearings? Please read my 104 questions about the FY 2024 SJC budget, including all of the unanswered questions about $786,785 in embezzlement in the Sheriff's office over five (5) years.  St. Johns County never responded.  I requested copies of some twelve (12) depositions in the County's lawsuit against its former auditors, on August 21, 2023, some 47 days ago (almost nine weeks)  I have still not yet received the depositions, which I request that you read and study upon receipt.  If you were to become our next St. Johns County Administrator, how would you respond to TRIM budget questions and public records requests?  Please be specific about your thoughts on St. Johns County's sloth, torpor and hostility.  Please comment on your proposed customer service standards and the reasonable expectations of probity in public service.

4. Hostile working environment. Two (2) years in a row, in May 2021 and May 2022, our disgraced, unqualified, prior County Administrator, Mr. Hunter Sinclair Conrad, insulted me during our flawed annual  budget hearings, stating in haec verba, "I don't have to answer your  questions.  I work for the Board of County Administrators!"   Despite 2022 promises by at one Commissioner, in 2023, that meetings would be held in BoCC Auditorium, those 2.5 days of un-televised workshop hearings were still held in a remote and inconvenient, location, in the Agricultural Center at SR-16 and I-95, far from our County budget records, far from the County Auditorium, and far from our County's one million dollar tv studio at the County Administration Building.  After winning a $30,000 annual raise, Mr. Conrad then ordered our Directors not to talk to our County Commissioners without his involvement; this is why Commissioner and Vice Chair Sarah Arnold asked questions, ending in Mr. Conrad's June 29, 2023 resignation, before he would have been fired at a planned June 30, 2023 BoCC special meeting. Please respond: do you agree or disagree with Mr. Conrad's philosophy?  What is your proposed path forward? 

5. Nondiscriminatory hiring practices.  Do you agree that all SJC jobs must be posted and advertised?  

6. Confirmation of SJC Directors. Do you agree that all SJC Directors should only be confirmed by the SJC BoCC only with advance public notice and a regular agenda item on the BoCC agenda?  Enough last-minute sneakiness by SJC Administration, please,

7. Nondiscrimination and employee rights.  Do you agree that St. Johns County must comply with Supreme Court precedents on employment law, including Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia,protecting LGBTQ+ employees?  When should our SJC employees have been informed of the Bostock decision? Do you know whether they were informed, if at all?  What is the standard of care?  

8. Public information.  Do you agree that St. Johns County Administration needs a far more welcoming spirit, including friendly people to answer information requests, with a library of our government documents on the first floor of our County Administration Building?  (At present, there exists an unfriendly sign in the lobby, directing citizens to call or write (not visit).  (Florida public records law empowers people to request our public records without giving their name(s), a constitutional right that is frustrated by our County today.)   

9. Tax reform. Some seven (7) times since 1988, St. Johns County voters have rejected sales tax increases, as recently as 2022.  Do you accept and respect those seven (7) verdicts of the electorate, in 2022, 2008, 2004, 1998, 1996, 1994, 1988?

10. County Charter:  What are your thoughts about developing a County St. Johns Charter?    (Voters twice rejected a flawed "starter Charter," twice, in 2008. Misguided County Administration refused to include LGBTQ+ people in their nondiscrimination clause, section 10.06) 

Please explain each of your answers.     

Please feel free to call me to discuss.

I look forward to talking and meeting with every single one of y'all.

Good luck and Godspeed to each of you, Ms. Andrews, Dr. Andrews, Ms. Campbell, Mr. Doar and Mr. Harriott!

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