Retirement is in the air at County

St Johns County recognized a 28-year veteran of the Road and Bridge Department, James “JJ” Bedell, on occasion of his retirement; his supervisor, Joe Stephenson, offering kind words and humorous anecdotes along with the presentation of an oak rocker during this morning’s meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.

The four remaining commissioners moved ahead with today’s light morning agenda — as the commission readies itself for at least one more “retirement” from its own Board after the November 6 General Election.

Interim chairman Ken Bryan was defeated by two other candidates and will leave office November 20; when his replacement, either Rachael Bennett or Randy Brunson, takes office.

Former chairman Mark Miner has already left; before completing his first term in office. His handpicked replacement, Ray Quinn, who served for one-year during Miner’s last year of absence from office, was defeated by commissioner-elect Bill McClure.

Facing re-election as well is District 1 Commissioner Cyndi Stevenson; who survived the Primary Election, but still must defeat Merrill Roland in November.

The commissioners presented a Proclamation to Debra Rhodes Gibson, Library System Director, declaring that the month of September 2012 be designated as “Library Card Signup Month”. Joining Gibson in accepting the Proclamation was Library Advisory Board member Katherine Dvornick, and other members of the Library staff.

The County received an inquiry from the US Board on Geographic Names seeking a response to an application to name as “San Pablo Island” the coastal landmass from the St Augustine Inlet, north to the St Johns River.

The proposed name change is based upon historical precedents of the Pablo name from Jacksonville Beach north to the St Johns River. This portion, however, only constitutes one-third of the landmass proposed for the naming. The remaining two-thirds are within St Johns County.

The County’s Cultural Resources Review Board voted unanimously to recommend denial of this naming. Additionally, staff finds that adding the San Pablo name to these coastal lands is detrimental to the current and historical identity of St. Johns County.

The commissioners decided not to take any action on the request or hear public testimony on the matter until more is known about the renaming, including its source of support and input from county residents.

The commission will resume this evening at 5:30 p.m. when they will hold a public hearing on the adoption of a tentative millage rates and budget for Fiscal Year 2013.


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