Nassau County Board of County Commissioners
January 28, 2015, 5:00 p.m.
Commission Chambers, 96135 Nassau Place, Yulee, Florida
Call to order, Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
Present: Chairman Pat Edwards; Commissioners Steve W. Kelley, George Spicer, Danny Leeper and Walter J. Boatright.
Ted Selby, County Manager; Mollie Garrett, local attorney; Shanea Jones, Office of Management and Budget Director; Chili Pope, Human Resources Director; Tina Keiter, Human Resources; and representing the Clerk’s office Connie Arthur, Deputy Clerk.
Official Agenda Summary:
SS150128 –__05:03:55 – Michele Kling, citizen, came forward. Given Mr. Mullin’s long history with the County both in private practice and representing the County previously, she questioned conflict regarding past and present clients who may bring business or issues before the Board should Mr. Mullin be appointed County Attorney again.
Chair Edwards responded that should Mr. Mullin be appointed to the position, he or whomever the Board chooses for the position would be a full-time county attorney.
SS150128 – 05:07:12 – Tab A – Discuss/negotiate a contract with Michael S. Mullin for the position of County Attorney.
Discussion: Mr. Mullin came forward to review a draft contract prepared by John Dickinson with Constangy, Brooks and Smith, LLC, consultant. The County Manager explained that the draft document had been forwarded to the commissioners prior to the meeting but Mr. Mullin had not yet seen the document. Mr. Selby reiterated that at the Board’s direction Mr. Mullin was approached regarding his interest in the position but no negotiations have taken place.
It was suggested that any work performed for the Constitutional Officers would be a separate issue perhaps through an interlocal agreement with each entity. Mr. Mullin would encourage working with the Constitutional Officers for open communication.
Mr. Mullin questioned the board as to their view of the role of the county attorney and whether it comports with his view. The group discussed the pertinent contents of a contract and the cost of running the county attorney’s office.
Regarding conflict of interest issues, specifically the Terra Pointe/Rayonier project, Mr. Mullin contacted the Florida Bar for clarification. He explained that the key was that Mr. Mullin had no confidential information that the board did not have; therefore, there is no conflict. Responding to a question raised by Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Mullin clarified that if an agreement is reached with the County, he would withdraw representation of Terra Pointe/Rayonier. The client is in agreement. Additionally, Mr. Mullin felt that 60 days to finalize work with existing client relationships was sufficient.
Ms. Jones reviewed the expenses associated with the county attorney’s office.
The group commenced a review of the draft contract as follows:
Section 1. Duties. There were no recommended changes.
Section 2. Term of Employment. Noting some disagreement, it was suggested to extend the initial term of the contract to September 30, 2018 with consideration for extending or not extending the contract to be discussed during the Board’s first meeting in September 2018.
Section 3. Salary and Benefits. Item A: It was suggested to absorb the car allowance and deferred compensation (paid separately to the former county attorney) into the base salary offer of $180,130 plus fringe benefits. There were no changes to Item B. Item C: Mr. Mullin requested health care coverage under the County’s policy for himself and his children. Following discussion of the current policy and options there was consensus to change the language to state that the county will pay the base rate coverage at 100 percent for Mr. Mullin and his children and any upgrades in coverage would be the responsibility of Mr. Mullin. Item D: Additionally, the county attorney would have the option to participate in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) (Senior Management level at 21%) or an equivalent amount of money in an annuity. Mr. Mullin would prefer an annuity. The text will remain the same noting that Mr. Mullin does not desire to participate in the FRS. It was noted that Item E, professional dues, would be addressed in the annual budget process. Item E: The group reviewed the County’s Paid Time Off (PTO) policy. Following discussion there was consensus for Mr. Mullin to begin accrual at Level 3 (180 hours per year). Mr. Dickinson suggested text to read that the County Attorney shall be subject to accrued paid time off in accordance with Paid Time Off (PTO) policy, Level 3; all other sections of the Leave Policy outlined in the County’s Employee Policies and Procedures Manual will be applicable. Later in the meeting there was further clarification to include that the Level 3 rate of accrual is applicable through the 19th year of employment. Item G (travel expenses): It was noted that the County Attorney’s budget is approved annually by the Board. Ms. Garrett suggested adding language that it is subject to the budget approved by the Board. Item H: The same language will be added to this item. Additionally, Mr. Mullin acknowledged a change in the draft language to add “to the extent required” to meet Florida Bar, etc.
Section 4. County Attorney Office Space, Supplies and Equipment. There were no changes recommended.
Section 5. General Terms and Provisions. There were no changes recommended.
Section 6. Termination of Contract. Item A. There was consensus for Mr. Dickinson to research the County’s governing policies and if he finds no legal impediment change termination without cause with a super majority vote instead of a simple majority vote. Item B. Termination for Cause would require a simple majority vote. There were no changes to Items C, Termination by County Attorney, or D, Other Bases for Termination.
Section 7. Governing Law and Venue. It was suggested to add language to allow for a hearing before an independent arbitrator selected from the American Arbitration Association to address any dispute arising under this agreement.
Section 8. Effective Date. Will be considered on February 9, 2015.
There was consensus to make the recommended changes and bring back the revised, complete contract on February 9, 2015 for consideration of the board.
Under Audience Input, Bernice Wallace requested clarification as to the length of time the County would provide health care benefits for Mr. Mullin’s dependent children. Ms. Keiter clarified that currently the children are eligible until they reach the age of 26.
There being no commissioner items and no further discussion, the special session of the Board of County Commissioners adjourned at 7:31 p.m.
_________________________ Pat Edwards, Chair
John A. Crawford