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County Employee Faces Termination After Accessing Judges’ Secure Area To Complain About His Case

| August 1, 2018

County Judge Melissa Moore-Stens handles the misdemeanor docket, including most drunk driving cases. (© FlaglerLive)

County Judge Melissa Moore-Stens handles the misdemeanor docket, including misdemeanor drunk driving cases. (© FlaglerLive)

For his employer, it was one misjudgment too far.

Gerald Pikaard, a 61-year-old trades worker employed by Flagler County government, faces termination after he used his county-issued ID badge to access the chambers of County Judge Melissa Moore-Stens and her assistant to complain about the slow disposition of his case, a drunk driving charge that had been reduced to reckless driving.

Pikaard had been arrested for drunk driving and refusing to submit to a breathalizer test on March 31 in Flagler Beach. On July 24 he appeared before Moore-Stens. Based on a plea agreement that dropped the breathalizer charge and reduced the drunk driving charge to reckless driving, the judge adjudicated him guilty, which was to enable him to have his driver’s license restored.

The driver’s license was necessary for him to perform his work with the county, Joe Mayer, director of human resources in county government, said today. But the county was working with him until he could get his license back, Mayer said, allowing him to ride with others to get to and from work sites. He performed numerous jobs as needed in maintenance, construction and the like. He’d been trying to get his license restored, “and I guess he ran into some roadblocks along the way,” Mayer said.

The day after the disposition of his case before Moore-Stens, he was wearing his Flagler County government uniform when he used his county-issued ID badge “to access the security door that leads to the Judges and JA’s offices on the fourth floor” of the Flagler County courthouse, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Brian Paquariello, a supervisor of the sheriff’s bailiffs, wrote Heidi Petito, the county’s facilities director and Pikaard’s boss.

“Pikaard proceeded to go to Judge Moore-Stens’s office where he spoke to her Judicial Assistant Nadine Kelly,” Pasquariello reported. “She asked if she could help him assuming he was there to fix something.” He was not. “That is when he put some papers down on her desk referencing his court case 18-CT252 and wanted to know why his court orders were not in the system yet.” Kelly told Pikaard she could not help him and that he needed to go to the clerk’s office with his inquiry. He never made it into the judge’s office itself.

The incident did not further involve the Sheriff’s Office. But because it was a misuse of the county’s access badge into the judges’ secure area, “he’s been given notice that there’s intent to terminate,” Mayer said. Government employees are not immediately fired in such circumstances but rather given a hearing before a hearing officer to present their case. The officer in this instance is appointed by County Administrator Craig Coffey. The officer then makes a recommendation to Coffey. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Pikaard, a Palm Coast resident, has been employed with the county since 2015. He was arrested the evening of March 31 after a 911 caller reported that two patrons at Flagler Beach’s Johnny D’s Beach Bar and Grill had left the bar looking intoxicated, “and the driver was unable to stand,” according to the arrest report. A Flagler Beach police officer pulled over the Ford Mustang that had been described and found Pikaard at the wheel. Pikaard then failed the field-sobriety exercises the officer administered and, booked at the county jail, taken to Florida Hospital Flagler for clearance, then returned to the jail, from where he bonded out five and a half hours later.

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15 Responses for “County Employee Faces Termination After Accessing Judges’ Secure Area To Complain About His Case”

  1. atilla says:

    You can’t fix stupid.

  2. Lnzc says:

    Just let him off with a slap on his wrist,maybe next time he will kill someone
    Get the drunks off the roads
    How much evidence do you need?

  3. PC Citizen says:

    Gee, a disgruntled Flagler County employee upset with the pace at which the Flagler County Judicial System works …………. Imagine that !

  4. John says:

    A good thing he did not lose his cool and had a weapon on him.

  5. Concerned Citizen says:

    So here you have a county employee who has to use county transportation to do his job. He then got arrested with a DUI and it got plead to a lesser offense.

    Then said county employee uses badge to access an area that he isn’t really supposed to have access unless he’s authorized to be there. He wasn’t

    I’m going to guess that he won’t be terminated. Rather a reprimand will be issued and he will be warned. I mean if you have deputies acting the way they do at the court house and then being transferred why treat General Services different?

  6. palmcoaster says:

    I know he done totally wrong…but probably he won’t be able to find a job now… and maybe he will be further doomed. Maybe he was totally unaware that what he was doing was wrong..? When it comes to legalities and formalities in our justice system I believe that most of us are not aware and doubtful of what is the right step to take. Please county management reconsider his firing..? I want to make clear I don’t know this county worker.

  7. Born and Raised Here says:

    When I was in private sector and if I went into a forbidden area or department that I was not authorized to be in, this was treated as a breach of security, and I would be escorted out of the building by security, and not even allow to go to my office to collect my personal belongings. Immeditate termination.

  8. Dave says:

    Makes you wonder if he was receiving special treatment on his charges just because he worked for the county. Privilege

  9. Richard says:

    Why is that some people today think that they are better, far superior and have special rights than the rest of us? At 61 years of age you would think that he would know better by now, ya THINK! Let the chips far where they may and maybe he should consider becoming a reforming alcoholic and leave the booze alone.

  10. Hello says:

    What a crock! A county id/badge doesn’t allow access to every office/place in the county. Some one didn’t do their job, and now this guy will loose his. He’s entry level, county could care less!

  11. Josh Davis says:

    Absolutely intolerable behavior. One time is too many. He should be terminated immediately. Plus, this security policy should change. It should not be that easy for a defendant to reach the Judge’s chambers. Totally unacceptable. Our Judges shouldn’t be at risk like this especially at work. How scary!!!!!

  12. John says:

    Gets off his DUI probably because he is a County employee and will probably get a promotion to supervisor with a big raise. People saw him staggering out of a bar and do the right thing and he refused to blow😱 and he doesn’t loose his driver’s license. If he kills someone next time it’s on the prosecutor head for giving a deal.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This is all BS. When the JA asked if she could help him it was NOT to assume he was there to fix something, that is a common expected greeting. He did not see the Judge and this is being used to take action against the man to get rid of an employee who is getting close to retirement age to get him off the payroll. This is absurd and if the security badge worked to access that area he had every right to be there. The badges only work in areas that they are programmed to work. Just because a county employee has a ID badge does not mean they have access to all areas. The badges only allow access to the areas the badges were programmed to work. Joe Mayer is one that needs to be off the payroll being paid more than $100,000 a year plus benefits to do little of nothing. He is a pawn for Craig Coffey and Company and us bleeding us tax payers. This man did not see the Judge and did nothing to be terminated. Had he broke security there are 10 Bailiff’s in the Judge’s areas that would have taken action. This is being blown way out of proportion. It is only ASSUMED that he was there to fix something! More Flagler County drama.

  14. County employee says:

    To all those saying he didn’t do anything wrong are way off base. If a civilian wants information on his or her case they must follow proper channels. Just because you have access to non-public areas as a maintenance employee would, does not give you the right to use that access to get information on your case, ostensibly bypassing proper channels. It’s a fireable offense.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Agree, Mayer’s looking for a way to fire the guy.

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