Assistant Chief for Beach Police sworn in tonight

Tonight, Chief Hedges will swear in Daniel DeCoursey as the new Assistant Chief of Police for the town of St. Augustine Beach and local Historic City News reporters will be watching as fireworks may ensue.

According to a Jacksonville syndicated news wire report published locally, the St. Augustine Beach City Commission meeting tonight could turn ugly if ex-assistant chief of police Joni Mathis has her way.

51 year-old Mathis, spent 24 years at the Orlando Police Department and retired as a lieutenant in 2007. She is now a family mediator. She was hired by 56 year-old Chief of Police Richard Hedges in January 2008. Hedges fired her less than 2 years later; in October 2009.

In May of 2009, Hedges reported that Mathis had become embroiled in an extramarital affair with one of her subordinate officers at the St. Augustine Beach Police Department. During the four-month investigation, conducted by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, Hedges said Mathis and Officer Todd Smith were involved in a scandal that brought the department into disrepute.

Since termination, Mathis has been waiting for word on a federal gender discrimination complaint she filed nearly two years ago and she says that she plans to sue.

Mathis told reporters that her plans tonight include describing a double standard in disciplining male officers as well as questioning other aspects of Hedges’ leadership.

If you are planning to attend — the regular St. Augustine Beach City Commission meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. Monday and will be held in the Commission meeting room on the south side of city hall, located at 2200 A1A South in St. Augustine Beach. It will be broadcast live on Comcast Channel 2 and is streamed live over the Internet.

The city commission has adopted the following procedure: persons wishing to speak about topics that are on the agenda must fill out a speaker card in advance and give it to the recording secretary. The cards are available at the back of the meeting room. This procedure does not apply to persons who want to speak to the commission tinder “public comments”

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