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Columbia County Observer

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Kevin KirbyKirby DUI: Update and Videos
Finally a judge assigned. Kirby violated County Personnel Policy. County Commissioners remain silent. 

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – It has been almost seven weeks since the Observer's last article in the saga of the Kirby DUI. Kevin Kirby, the Columbia County Public Works/Operations Director rolled his truck over at about 1:45 am on April, 14, 2013. Both on the scene and when he was booked into the County Jail, Mr. Kirby refused to take a blood alcohol test (refused to blow) despite numerous warnings of the consequence. Columbia County's infamous good ole' boy County Commission has been silent despite Mr. Kirby's violation of the County's Personnel Policy & Procedures Manual. Refusing to blow automatically suspends one's license for a year. Mr. Kirby is on call 24/7.

The docket since our last article on May 31, 2013

The assigned judge in the case was Columbia County, County Judge Tom Coleman. Judge Coleman recused himself on June 6, 2013.

On June 12, 2013, then Chief Judge Leandra Johnson assigned Circuit Court Judge Paul Bryan to preside over the Kirby case. Judge Bryan, as well as Judge Johnson are both Columbia County judges.

On June 20, 2013, the Kirby case was given a control date of July 25, 2013. The note on the County Criminal Court Minutes: "State and defense to contact Judge Bryan's office to coordinate the next court date."

On July 1, 2013, the State and the Defense filed a joint motion to continue the case. Mr. Kirby's attorney agreed that "this would constitute a waiver of speedy trial."

On July 9, 2013, Judge Paul Bryan recused himself on his own motion and requested "the Chief Judge to appoint another judge to hear the case."

Later on, on July 9, Judge Bryan faxed the now Third Circuit Chief Judge, the Honorable Greg S. Parker of Taylor County the following:  The defendant is a well known County employee. Suggest an out-of-County/County judge handle be assigned ... likely (unknown). All judges here in Col. County will recuse.

On July 11, 2013, Chief Judge Parker assigned Suwannee County Court Judge William F. Williams, III to preside over the case.

County Personnel Policies & Procedures Manual

The County Personnel Policies & Procedures Manual is clear and specific. Chapter 10 – Standards of Conduct/Code of Ethics is introduced by the following statement:

County employees are considered “Good Will Ambassadors” in their roles as public employees.  This involves a degree of duty and obligation regarding public and private conduct that is not common in other non-public employment. All County employees are expected to comply with the following standards of conduct.

Did Mr. Kirby comply?

1.  As a condition of employment, a consistently positive, courteous, and professional attitude toward the public and co-workers is an essential function of every position...

5.  Off duty conduct which reflects poorly on the County or is prejudicial to the interests of the County may be sufficient grounds for discharge.

8.  Employees are encouraged to maintain their personal appearance to reflect a good public image.

Mr. Kirby's County position requires that he have a valid Florida drivers license.

You be the judge

There is not a public employee in Columbia County/Lake City, from the lowest paid positions to the highest of pay and responsibility that doesn't believe that if they refused to blow and under similar circumstances to that of Mr. Kirby that they would still have a job. The standard response to the Observer's question, "What if that were you," was a simple, "I would have been fired."


Our last article concluded with the State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister telling the Observer, "It’s a trialable case and if Mr. Kirby wants his day in court, I am going to give it to him. Then it is going to be up to a jury to believe if he was drunk or not."

In mean time it is not clear how Mr. Kirby is on call 24/7, nor is the current status of his driver's license been explained. It is time the County Commissioners stepped up to the plate, did something, explained what is going and why they have been struck dumb.

Let there be no doubt about it. They are the one's responsible for the current Kirby situation. There has been a lot of talk lately regarding the action or inaction of County Manager Dale Williams. If his bosses, the County Commission wanted action, they would have it.

Instead, they have condoned the behavior of Mr. Kirby once again.

The legend of Columbia County's good ole' boys lives on.

A special thanks goes to CCSO (Dep. Larry Auger). The FHP (Sgt. Tracy-Hisler-Pace). The folks at the Third Circuit Clerk of the Courts, Columbia County. State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister. These folks made access to the public records of this incident painless and demonstrated to power of Florida's public record laws and the respect for the law of these officials.

An extra special thanks goes to the Grasshopper who spent uncountable hours editing the videos, enhancing the audio and laying in the audio track at the jail. He wanted no credit and no money. "I am doing this as a public service. I have three daughters, two of them little girls. The consequence and tragedy of drunk driving has wrecked untold lives. There is no charge."

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