Contextualization Advisory Committee draws 39 applicants

Thirty-nine applicants have asked to be considered for appointment to a seven-member Confederate Memorial Contextualization Advisory Committee; but, before the St Augustine City Commission names the members, City Manager John Regan will review the applications and select his seven recommendations.

In his presentation to the Commission at its October 23, 2017 meeting, Regan suggested the members would include, among others, those who had credentials as historians, educators, heritage tourism professionals and artists.

Regan envisioned the work of this committee as including the identification of gaps in the telling of the city’s Civil War history and how to reconcile those gaps, seeking public input on a plan for contextualization, recommending a contextualization plan and how it will be implemented, including estimated costs and financing options that may be needed.

In a unanimous vote, the City Commission decided that the Confederate Memorial should remain in place, and approval was given to empanel the Contextualization Advisory Committee.

For six weeks, ending with a December 29 deadline, the City Clerk’s office received applications from people volunteering to serve on the committee and today announced that 39 applications have been received.  Candidates under consideration are:


Joel Bagnal
J. Michael Butler
Sharyn Wilson Smith Coley
Ralph Collinson
Stephen Danner
Elizabeth A. Dove
Louis J. Geanuleas
Thomas Graham
Kenneth Grissom
Karen Harvey
Rebecca Howell
Thomas Jackson
Bruce Kendeigh
William B. Lees
Matthew Ryan Lempke
Marty Lewis
George Linardos
Kenneth Maass
Jane Marshall
Jason Mauro
Charla Brown McKlevey
Robert Nimmons
Courtney Olson
Jill M. Pacetti
Susan Richbourg Parker
Jamie D. Perkins
Regina Gayle Phillips
Melinda Rakoncay
Ron Rawls
Margaret Kaler Reynolds
Donald Roberts
Drew Sappington
Ed Slavin
Keith W. Schlegel
Peter G. Shutters
Tigenia Taylor
James Willow
Richard White
Andrew Witt


In 1883 the ground where the monument stands today was conveyed by the city in a 99-year lease to the Ladies Memorial Association of St Augustine for a rental fee of one dollar a year.  The city, in turn, donated the same amount of money back to the Memorial Association.

When the lease expired in 1982, the Ladies Memorial Association was no longer registered with the Florida Department of State.  We are unable to find any evidence that the lease was ever renewed.  The City of St Augustine maintained ownership of the land and has continued to provide upkeep and maintenance for the monument ever since.

The expired lease is one of the legs supporting demands by Ron Rawls, a pastor at St Paul’s AME Church, who says the obelisk must be removed from display on public property.

The commission is set to learn who Regan’s seven recommendations will be during its January 22nd meeting — the same night that Rawls, who is one of the applicants under consideration, has called a demonstration outside the meeting to protest the decision to preserve the memorial.

The committee’s initial meeting date and subsequent schedule will be announced later.

Share your thoughts with our readers >>