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Columbia County Observer

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Kevin KirbyKirby DUI: Official wall of silence up around county. Questions go unanswered.
April 29, County Manager Dale Williams Responds

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – While many communities in Florida and around the country take DUI's very seriously, the alleged DUI of Columbia County's number two man, Kevin Kirby is getting the silent treatment from the county's management. Unanswered questions are leading many to believe that the fix is in and Mr. Kirby is going to get a free pass for the event of April 14th, when he drove off the road, sideswiped a tree, hit another tree, rolled his truck, and then received tickets for a DUI, careless driving, and possession of an open container of alcohol in his vehicle.

Mr. Kirby is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, or he admits to the charge, or a different charge.

Based on questions the Observer has heard and direct inquires the Observer has received over the past few days, and after unreturned recalls to County Manager Dale Williams, during the week and on Friday morning, the Observer sent a list of questions to the County Manager for a response.  

Questions Columbia County won't answer

Question 1.   Is it true that Mr. Kirby was given his county vehicle to drive? There was no answer from the County Manager. The Observer has learned that Mr. Kirby was given his county vehicle.

County Manager Dale Williams responds to Q 1:
The Operations Manager for the county has been assigned a county vehicle. This vehicle is authorized for use to and from home. To the best of my knowledge, even though the vehicle can be driven to and from home, Kevin has always driven his personal vehicle to and from work. The only exception to this I am aware of is during storm events.

Question 2.  My understanding is that his vehicle is the only county vehicle, or vehicle of that type without a tracker. Is that true or was it true?

The FHP reports:
FHP Arrest Report
FHP crash report

There was no answer from the County Manager. The Observer has learned that all county vehicles have trackers installed. Mr. Kirby's does not.

County Manager Dale Williams responds to Q 2:
The original vehicle assigned to Kevin was equipped with GPS. The vehicle currently assigned to him does not have GPS. Kevin’s vehicle is not the only vehicle/equipment without GPS. Due to the need to update all GPS hardware/software and the cost associated with it the county has developed a plan to greatly limit the use of GPS.

Question 2b.  If his vehicle doesn't have a tracker, and considering his restricted driving credentials, do you plan to have a tracker installed?

There was no answer from the County Manager. Purportedly, Mr. Kirby can only drive back and forth to work and on job related business. A tracker would insure that.

County Manager Dale Williams responds to Q 2b:

Question 3.  My understanding is that his county vehicle, while it has county emblems on it, does not have a number that is visible, i.e., Mr. Kirby's county vehicle cannot be identified by a member of the public as other county vehicles. Is that true?

There was no answer from the County Manager.

From information that the Observer has received, it appears that Mr. Kirby's vehicle is the only county pickup truck, not including those of the Sheriff's Dept. that do not have unique identifying numbers, not including the license plate. Should Mr. Kirby be driving erratically, an observer could not call the county with a message, "Hello county, vehicle number 200 is weaving all over the road."

One can only wonder if the lack of any number on Mr. Kirby's vehicle is by design.

County Manager Dale Williams responds to Q 3:
I am aware the vehicle has a decal, not sure about the number. I  am aware that not all county vehicles have numbers.

Question 4.  My understanding is that Mr. Kirby is telling folks he wasn't drunk and that he hit his head. Do you know anything about that?

 There was no answer from the County Manager.

County Manager Dale Williams responds to Q 4:
I have no knowledge of nor have I heard this.

Question 5.  If DMV takes Mr. Kirby's work permit, does the county have plans to chauffer him around? There was no answer from the County Manager.

County Manager Dale Williams responds to Q 5:
The county does not employ “chauffeurs”.

Question 6.  Please refer to page 71 of the county personnel policy manual.

Please see Group III Offences.

 (a) First Occurrence: Discharge

 (9) Refusal to take a drug test

 (15) Any off-duty conduct that reflects poorly on; the County...

 (21) Violation of ... any State or County statute... which is related to the employee's employment.

(25)  And/or other offenses, not specifically listed, which in the opinion of the Department Head and County Manager should best be categorically grouped in this section.

There are other sections of the manual that relate to this incident.

Question: Does the policy manual apply to all county employees?

There was no answer from the County Manager.

County Manager Dale Williams responds to Q 6:
The policy applies to all employees (including me).

Question 7.  Because of your close and well know personal relationship with Mr. Kirby, do you think it would be more appropriate to have the Director of Administration handle this incident? If not, how can you be impartial?

There was no answer from the County Manager.

County Manager Dale Williams responds to Q 7:
I have no plans to remove myself from this issue.

Question 8.  Finally, the word is that county employees are not to be speaking about this incident and this directive is coming from you. Is that true? And if so, how do you justify telling county employees what to speak about?

There was no answer from the County Manager.

County Manager Dale Williams responds to Q 8:
If this is true, then a lot of county employees are insubordinate. I can assure you I hear from employees daily. Many are taking great pleasure, many are not.


The county's employees are not happy about the way this incident has been handled. Indeed, it appears that the only county employee that is happy about it is Mr. Kirby.

The consensus appears to be that the matter will be swept under the rug, the State's Attorney will take care of it, and Kevin Kirby will go on as if once again, in his charmed life in the legendary Columbia County, nothing has happened.

One County employee told the Observer, "If that was me, you can bet I wouldn't be workin' right now. S—t, I wouldn't have a job."

Another said, "Yeah, of course he's gonna get off. They'll just sweep it under the rug until he kills somebody."

Finally, one said, "I don't understand it, he has a beautiful wife and a little baby. Why was he out drinking at 1:30 in the morning on a Saturday night? 

Comments (to add a comment go here)

On April 27, 2013, citizen49a of Lake City wrote:

The mainstream media seems to have missed this story, so everyone needs to be sure to do their job for them. Tell everyone you know about this story.  Tell all your friends, all your neighbors, and ask people you don't know if they've heard about this when you're standing in line the grocery store.  Ask them to pass it on to everybody they know. Everybody knows somebody who lost a job, or worse just because they happened to blow a little over the limit.   You can bet they'll be interested to know that a different set of rules appear to apply to some people in this county - and that those rules appear to be enforced by county govt.

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