Santa Rosa County Clerk of Court & Comptroller Donald C. Spencer during the January 7 County Commission meeting called for District 1 Commissioner Sam Parker (pictured above) to resign. Parker shot back during the board’s January 11 work session, making a racial allegation against Spencer.
Spencer on January 7 accused Parker of firing former County Attorney Roy Andrews as a “scapegoat” for the commissioner’s own bad decisions, specifically not to solicit bids for a contract awarded to Waste Pro, an action which has so far resulted in lawsuits.
Parker fired back at Spencer at the end of the board’s January 11 work session.
“I hate to be the one to address this issue…I feel it’s my duty as a public servant to address behavior that could be seen as offensive or discriminatory,” said Parker, explaining that he initially believed Spencer’s comments were an attempt to attack him because of the Clerk’s friendship with the former County Attorney. “However, based on subsequent actions by Clerk Spencer after that, I feel like his comments may have been part of a deliberate ongoing effort to undermine the decisions of the BOCC. Members of the community reached out to me following last week’s meeting and expressed their concerns about how the clerk used his position to single out an exemplary African American female student athlete in our community in an attempt to stop her from receiving financial assistance from the Board of County Commission.
At that time District 2 Commissioner Bob Cole asked Chairman Dave Piech to interject.
“I fully understood Mr. Spencer’s actions and it looking like to the public we were donating to an individual,” Cole said, noting a local organization was going to accept the money on the athlete’s behalf.
But Parker continued. “When members of the community bring it out and feel like they could possibly be the victims of possibly something that was unintended,” Parker said, playing a video compilation of Spencer questioning the contribution Jada Savage, a Milton High basketball player traveling to Europe to play ball. “(Spencer) said that his actions were not due to a personal vendetta, so I can understand why some people in the community have asked me if the recent actions were either intended to undermine the board decisions or were his actions a result about feelings he harbors for people who possibly have a different skin color.”
Cole then asked the chairman to address Parker again. “I told you Mr. Hamilton was going to provide the proper documentation and when you start throwing all this stuff up…”
Piech at that point directed Parker to wrap it up.
“I just hope that if there are any negative personal feelings that those could be set aside and that we could all carry out our duties professionally and not do anything that could possibly be construed as discriminatory towards anyone,” Parker said, pointing out he plans to further discuss the issue during the board’s January 21 meeting.
Piech then abruptly adjourned the meeting.
A public records request revealed that Parker had not received emails or texts from the community regarding racial concerns about Spencer. Upon further questioning, Parker told county attorney staff on Wednesday that he had been approached in person.
South Santa Rosa News asked Parker to disclose information to back up his assertion of racism, in particular the names of the persons he claims approached him with concerns, but he refused.
The next county commission meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., January 21 at the County Administrative Complex, located at 6495 Caroline Street in Milton.
Watch Parker’s comments, starting at the 4 hour 13 minute mark at this link: https://santarosacofl.civicclerk.com/Web/Player.aspx?id=582&key=-1&mod=-1&mk=-1&nov=0