A former top-ranking Nassau County director claims he was fired in retaliation for refusing to erase public records.
Office of Management and Budget Director Justin Stankiewicz filed a grievance last month that said he was fired over text messages, and not missing money.
Action News Jax first reported in December that Stankiewicz was placed on paid leave while the sheriff’s office investigated how $1,000 disappeared from a safe at the county administration building.
He was fired weeks later.
“He was the OMB Director and I indicated to him verbally that the trust in that position wasn’t there,” said Nassau County Manager and Attorney Mike Mullin, who fired Stankiewicz.
Action News Jax asked Mullin why he fired Stankiewicz when the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the missing money is still open.
“To me, they’re two separate issues. One is the criminal, and that we have nothing to do with. The other is the information that I had available to me as an OMB director, and the circumstances surrounding the $1,000,” said Mullin.
Nassau County public records show Stankiewicz was terminated “without cause;” the only county employee terminated without cause in the past five years.
Last year, the attorney representing Raydient, a developer that’s suing the county, submitted a public records request for text messages, among other things.
In his grievance, Stankiewicz said he told Mullin he had such text messages in a group chat with county officials on his personal phone.
“You directed me to delete these messages... you stated that you have already deleted your text messages,” Stankiewicz wrote to Mullin in his grievance.
Mullin denied that claim to Action News Jax.
“Categorically, no,” said Mullin.
After his firing, Stankiewicz attached dozens of pages of group texts to his grievance that appear to show county leaders trash talking Raydient.
“They are all [poop emoji] heads and full of [poop emoji],” texts Stankiewicz on March 2, 2018.
Mullin later texts a middle finger emoji.
“The finger emoji was probably an error. Again, I’m not very good at – I thought it was a thumbs up that I was sending,” said Mullin.
A private law firm hired by the county to investigate Stankiewicz’s claims said there is no evidence Stankiewicz was asked to destroy public records or that he was fired because of retaliation.
“Although I am sad and befuddled that I was not even offered an opportunity for a grievance hearing in accordance to county policy, I am glad that the public can now finally know the truth,” said Stankiewicz in a text message to Action News Jax.
#ANJaxBreaking: Fired #NassauCounty OMB Director files grievance claiming he was fired in retaliation for refusing to erase public records (text messages on personal phone between county officials), not because of missing $1,000.— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) February 4, 2019
First story on missing $: https://t.co/sXG6P3uTt4 pic.twitter.com/eOib10MHRb
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