Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASSAU COUNTY; Do It Right

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASSAU COUNTY; Do It Right

Article excerpt

For better or worse, it may be time for a new Nassau County administrator.

Not that Mike Mahaney has done poorly. He has not. He's bright, organized and competent.

But most commissioners don't have confidence in him - and that probably makes his job untenable.

Mahaney is a casualty of the November elections.

Before, he had four supporters and one opponent on the commission. Now, there are three opponents and only two supporters - and the three seem determined to fire him.

They probably can't do it, yet, since his contract requires a 4-to-1 supermajority vote for termination.

But, as a result of some legal maneuvering, that threshold might be lowered to a simple majority.

And even if he is able to keep his job, he'll likely be a magnet for criticism - at least until the next election. It's difficult to be effective under those circumstances.

Ideally, the commission should do a formal job evaluation, then give him reasonable time to correct any perceived deficiencies.

If it doesn't want to do that, then at least pursue this the right way.

For example:

-- The clerk found a lawyer who says Mahaney's pay should go into an escrow account until a court rules on the validity of his contract. That looks vindictive.

Lawyers frequently disagree on what the law means. A different lawyer might advise the clerk to keep paying Mahaney.

At the least, get an opinion from the county attorney, who still hasn't weighed in on the issue.

Regardless, there has to be a lawyer, somewhere, smart enough to figure out a way legally to keep an employee's paychecks coming - in a timely fashion, so he can pay his bills - as long as he's on the job.

-- There is talk of charging Mahaney a copying fee for documents that he needs to defend himself.

That's petty.

County employees shouldn't discuss his strategy with him while at work, of course, but they should copy all relevant documents - at no charge - during regular hours. …

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