As previously reported by Historic City News, the St Johns County Board of County Commissioners recently accepted the written resignation of controversial former County Administrator, Hunter Conrad, together with a separation agreement effective June 29, 2023. Wayne Larson, St Johns County Director of Public Affairs, also announced that an employment agreement with Deputy County Administrator Joy Andrews will establish the terms of her new position as Interim County Administrator while the Board begins a national search to find Conrad’s replacement.
Conrad had been elected Clerk of Circuit Court on the retirement of former clerk, Cheryl Strickland. When the Board later moved to terminate Michael Wanchick, the last county administrator selected through a national search, Conrad was recruited for the higher paying job. With little fanfare, Conrad resigned his elected office to take the appointment, leading to the appointment of current Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, Brandon Patty.
“The Board of County Commissioners has full faith and confidence in Joy Andrews to lead us forward as we continue to maintain a continuity of operations with services and programs for the citizens and visitors of St Johns County,” Chairman Christian Whitehurst stated. “We will be prudent and purposeful on a national search as we work together to identify a permanent County Administrator.”
A blue-ribbon panel is being convened to serve as a Selection Committee, comprised of St Johns County Commissioner Henry Dean, St Johns County Director of Human Resources Lilian Hutchinson, St Johns County Clerk of Court Brandon Patty, St Johns County Property Appraiser Eddie Creamer, and former Coca-Cola Senior Vice President Jerry Wilson.
The selection committee will work with an executive search firm and review applications then develop a list of finalists for interviews with the entire Board of County Commissioners who will make the final appointment decision.
Andrews graduated from Nanjing University School of Law in 2002, where she concentrated on International Commerce and Trade Law. During that time, she served at the University’s Legal Aid Center. In 2005, Andrews moved to the United States to attend the Kansas State University School of Public Administration, where she received a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Public Finance.
Andrews joined St Johns County in 2006 as a Budget Analyst for the Office of Management and Budget, and she also held the position of Director of Health and Human Services before accepting the role of Deputy County Administrator in 2015.
“I am humbled by the trust the Board of County Commissioners has placed in me to steer the County services forward while it conducts its national search,” Andrews told local reporters. “I fully accept the weight of this responsibility. We have dedicated employees who embody the very mission of public service. Together, we will continue charting our course forward with excellent service delivery and an unwavering commitment to the community we love.”
Whitehurst also praised the extraordinary determination of County staff working to accomplish numerous capital improvement projects totaling nearly $280 million. In addition to road improvements and beach nourishment efforts, the 2024 Fiscal Year Budget looms large as it begins October 1st.