DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WMBB) — Emails and letters sent over Veterans Day Weekend to the Walton County Board prompted a special meeting on Nov. 13.
County commissioners mentioned terminating the current Administrator Quinn Robertson and the recent hire of Deputy Administrator Joe Turner.
“I think it’s a smear tactic on a brand new employee that hasn’t even been here a month. And I think that that is disgusting,” said Donna Johns, District 4 Commissioner.
Commissioners claim to have received hundreds of electronically signed emails regarding the hire of deputy administrator Joe Turner.
Commissioners explained the emails targeted Turner’s reputation as a leader of a conservative activist movement.
“This is about Mr. Turner and Mr. Robertson being used as a pawn on a power chess board and everybody in this room knows it. That’s what this is about. This is about a power play. And you’re caught up in the middle of it,” said Brad Drake, District 3 Commissioner.
The board urged Turner to file a criminal action report against the origin of the emails as a smear campaign.
“I’m proud of my record. I’m proud of my love for my country. I’m a proud nationalist. I have a son who served in the Marine Corps proudly. Our younger son, who’s currently in the Navy, is attending naps right now. He’ll be going to the academy. I’m proud of the job I’ve done as a father. I want law and order in this country, and I’m tired of getting smeared for it,” said Joe Turner, Deputy County Administrator.
At the start of the meeting commissioner Tony Anderson motioned to fire county administrator Quinn Robertson. That motion was taken back to instead instruct Robertson to create a report in 30 days of all of his actions since his first day on the job in June of this year.
“I do believe this board is entitled to an update of his actions and then based off that update, then it would be to the individual commissioners to decide if his performance was in the best interest,” said William McCormick, District 1 Commissioner.
The human resources department is looking into hiring an outside legal counsel to investigate Turner and his background to serve as the deputy administrator.
Robertson spoke with News 13 on Tuesday, Nov. 14 stating he can’t make any comments on the matter until he consults with legal council and the investigation is complete.
At the meeting, Robertson assured the board he had done everything by the books.
“The operational decisions that have been made I’ve checked with H.R. on, made sure that they were well within my construct to do so. And I stand by those,” said Quinn Robertson, County Administrator
A public records request for copies of the emails and letters has been made, those will be released to News 13 in the coming days.
During the meeting, commissioner Brad Drake unexpectedly motioned to terminate services by acting attorney Clay Adkinson in hopes of prioritizing finding permanent legal advice.
That motion was denied 3-2.
We will update this story as more actions and comments are made.