The EMERALD STAR NEWS Inc.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
WC BCC Kisela Resigns
As reported by WZEP AM1460
At last Tuesday morning’s Walton County Commissioner meeting, Commis-
sioner Kenneth Pridgen said he met with County Administrator Greg KiselaMonday.He read a letter where Kisella agreed to a voluntary resignation and gave anagreement worked out by Kisela, the County Attorney and himself. The Countywill pay Kisela for six months salary in exchange for satisfaction of any claimshe may have against the county. The motion was made by Pridgen and seconded by Sara Comander. The vote was 3-1 with Cecilia Jones and Larry Jones the nayvotes. Gary Demers will step in as interim administrator and Dede highnote willassist.
Bob Hudson, president of the Walton County Taxpayer’s Association asked
why, since Kisela has a contract with the county, are they paying him for sixmonths when he is voluntarily resigning. Hudson said Kisela is worth more, butquestioned why there was a hiring contract if they were not going to follow it.Pridgen said this is the agreement they worked up at the meeting Monday.County Attorney Toni Craig said it is legal.Mary Nelson also questioned the motion and asked how the motion could bemade if they had not already made up their minds and met out of the sunshine.She said the motion was quickly made and passed. She said it is likely a daygoing backwards for Walton County.Commissioners thanked Kisela for his time and service and recognized hiswife who was in the audience. The two have a farm in Paxton.Also at the meeting, Raymond Jackson, president of the local NAACP cover-ing Walton, Holmes and Washington asked to speak with the commissioners. Hetalked about the email Commissioner Scott Brannon sent using a racial slur.Jackson said they find this offensive. Jackson said they accept the apologyBrannon had previously made.He also said the county flying a Confederate flag is a concern and asked for itsremoval from the courthouse. He noted the upcoming meeting of the NAACPleadership in Walton County. The Confederate Stars and Bars, one type of Con-federate flag used during the time of the Confederate States, flies over theWalton Confederate War Memorial. This was put into place many years ago as away to remember those who served. Florida was part of the Confederacy. The
NAACP had asked for the flag’s removal in the past, but the commissioners de-
cided not to take action, acknowledging the historical value of the memorial.Jackson called the flag a symbol of hate.
The Walton County School Board took up social media. This is for creating a policy on the use of social media by anyone, staff, parents, students and otherswho want to work with the district. The policy is to make sure anyone whomakes a social media site that represents a school or part of the district, does sowithin certain guidelines. The vote passed 3-2 with Roberts and Leddon the nayvotes.The Board also approved personnel recommendations, agreed to waive the 7thgrade retention requirement in the Student Progression Plan and approved four expulsions and set the first budget workshop for May 29th at 5pm.The Board approved a job description of Coordinator of Instructional Servicesand took another look at the analysis of the Staffing Plan, an item that was previ-ously tabled. They tabled the staffing plan again. Superintendent Anderson saidthe job description is to adjust so more people can do the job, making it moregeneric, so people can move around.Anderson said this is a new job description that encompuses other positionsand is at the same pay scale as other coordinators. The people that would be putinto this job description would be a coordinator. Board member Faye Leddonsaid she checked the request out and found it is not creating a new position. Shesaid she wanted to make sure that if they are telling teachers they do not haveenough money, then they do not need to create a new position. Anderson agreedand said this is a generic job description.Member Mark Davis said he would not be voting for funding another coordi-nator position.
Capital Case Lawyers Seek Additional Pay
As reported by WZEP AM1460
The lawyers who recently worked cases in Walton County,came before Judge Kelvin Wells and asked for more paythan is normally allowed. The two asked for the additional pay beyond the norm due to the amount of time they spentworking on cases involving possible death penalties.Sharon Wilson, an attorney for Steven Cozzie, asked for $62,550 for her work in the case. Jay Gontarek, the attorneyfor Thomas Ford McCoy, Jr. asked for $42,500. The statenormally allows a $15,000 payment and can double that to$30,000. Since the amount requested was much more, JudgeWells had to give approval.The Justice Administrative Commission representative toldthe judge in a phone conversation that the requests were de-nied since they go above the normal amount. The JAC alsoquestioned the charges submitted, saying some are not al-ways considered allowed. The main reason, however, wasthe amount exceeded the cap.Judge Wells asked what the average for a capital case is.He told the JAC representative they would find the circuit innorthwest Florida was probably the lowest in the state as far as fees. He also said the cases were involved, with travel andlinked to other cases. Wells said the rate charged was $100 per hour and he knows what the cases involved.
Calling the cases, “Not run of the mill”, the judge eventu-
ally decided to award Gontarek the requested $42,550. Hetold Wilson he would award her $55,000, less than what sherequested, but the highest amount he has ever allowed. Wellsalso approved paying Dr. Larson $26,000 for his work.
On Friday Commissioner Cecilia Jones hosted aribbon cutting at the newSplash Pad at HelenMcCall Park. The SplashPad is the first of its kindto open in South Walton.The opening had manyfamilies excited about thethe pad. Following theceremony and ribbon cut-ting, about 2 dozen chil-dren enjoyed the new fea-ture.Helen McCall Park islocated at 325 Moll Drivein Santa Rosa Beach. TheSplash Pad is the newestaddition to the park whichcurrently featuresMission Play Park, base- ball/softball fields, battingcages, football fields, pic-nic tables, restrooms, pa-vilions and soccer fields.