Letter: Thirty-two years’ experience matters

Letter: Thirty-two years’ experience matters

George Lareau
St Johns County, FL

Dear Editor and Historic City News readers:

Cheryl Strickland served as our elected Clerk of Court for nearly 20 years. When she announced she would retire in August 2015, she requested the Governor appoint me to fill the remainder of her term. It was a logical request. I had been training for the position for nearly 19 years as her Chief Deputy Clerk where I worked beside her, being involved with every management decision in the office. Also, I had been employed at the Clerk’s office for 32 years.

Despite plenty of advanced notice, the Governor didn’t make a decision by Clerk Strickland’s retirement date so a decision was made locally and I was named as the interim Clerk of Court by the Chief Judge. The appointment would last until the Governor made a decision or until the election, whichever came first. Nearly two months later I received a call from the Governor’s office that said “things are not going your way”. He was appointing someone who had never worked in the office, effective immediately! One week later, I retired and decided to run for the office I had been trained to run my entire adult life.

I would understand the decision if Mrs. Strickland and I had run the office poorly, or if there were even one negative article written about the Clerk’s office. But, in fact, the opposite is true. Mrs. Strickland received letters regularly from customers who complimented her staff and the only articles written about her office were complimentary.

If it weren’t for the excellent directors and employees that Cheryl Strickland and I hired and trained over the past 19 years, your local Clerk’s office would not be running today. Historical St Johns County records should be managed by someone with historical knowledge of your records. People named as replacements should have knowledge of the office they will be managing.

Consider your own career…Were you better at it when you first started or did you become better over time, after gaining experience?

I am officially running for St. Johns County Clerk and Comptroller and I will be on your August 30th ballot. Let’s tell Tallahassee to respect local decisions instead of caving to political pressure and granting favors.

I’m looking forward to working for St Johns county citizens again!

This message was approved by George Lareau, Republican candidate for St Johns County Clerk of Court.

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