This morning at about 9:30 a.m., St Augustine Beach Police Chief Robert A Hardwick filed papers with Supervisor of Elections Lois Oakes announcing his intention to be St Johns County’s next sheriff. Hardwick seeks election to fill an opening created by David Shoar who has stated publicly that he won’t seek re-election.
Hardwick began his service to the City of St Augustine Beach on January 7, 2013 by appointment of the city commission. Sheriff Shoar served on the panel that recommended Hardwick for the position.
Over the past 6-years, Hardwick has enjoyed the comfort of his position without the risk and expense of standing for election. He has never held an elected public office. The 48-year-old municipal chief of police earns a salary of $94,000.00 annually. His salary at the Beach is set by the commission; arguably, he need only keep three of the five commissioners happy to keep his job and collect a pay raise.
According to a report obtained by Historic City News today, using the most recently available numbers from the Elections Office, the City of St Augustine Beach incorporates 5,579 registered voters; only about half the size of the City of St Augustine where Hardwick previously worked.
However, if Hardwick wins his race, every four years his job will rest in the hands of the popular vote from across the entire county; some 192,862 registered voters. And, his salary is determined by Florida Statute based on population — currently $146,521.00 plus benefits.
Hardwick previously served as the assistant chief investigator with the State Attorney’s Office in the 7th Judicial Circuit. He also has experience at the St. Augustine Police Department, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Department of Corrections.