Flagler County Commissioner Joe Mullins on Friday emailed fellow-commissioners a brief but vague apology about his “inappropriate remarks and actions” at last week’s commission meeting even as he’s continued to insult Commissioners Greg Hansen and Charlie Ericksen online since.
The email mentions neither commissioner by name, nor makes reference to the actual abuse he spoke to them, doing so twice to Hansen, even after seemingly apologizing to Hansen in person at the commission meeting. Mullins’s behavior led Hansen and Ericksen, among others, to call for the commission to censure him.
Ericksen, who was skeptical of the email today, said Mullins’s apology doesn’t change his call for censure at the coming meeting of the County Commission Monday evening (Sept. 21). “I’m sure he’s written a few of these in his career,” Ericksen said. “He’s making an attempt to CYA–cover your ass. As to whether he’s honest or not, maybe that’s something that comes up at our meeting.”
Commission Chairman Dave Sullivan, who left town for the weekend to take a break, said categorically that Mullins’s email doesn’t materially change anything.
“He’s not very smooth, is he, and he’s not very knowledgeable about stuff,” Sullivan said. “I’m going to be faced with a very difficult situation on Monday, and I don’t want to say anything now that will affect that because I’m building up what I’m going to say as I’m sitting here trying to enjoy a bit of time off after the campaign.” (Sullivan was at a time-share just north of Naples.) “I think he’s realizing that he’s in trouble. But I think it’s good that he wrote–I think that’s good that he wrote the letter, or the email.”
The September 9 meeting of the County Commission started with a tense half-hour as a group of 12 to 15 anti-maskers, sitting at the front end of the commission chamber, defied county building rules and requests by Sullivan to don masks in order to stay in the room. The group was becoming rowdy when Sheriff Rick Staly spent several minutes calming its members down, only for Mullins to interject and try to speak. Sullivan and Hansen told him not to. He threatened to leave with the anti-maskers. They both told him he was welcome to, which upset Mullins further. He did step down from the dais, but only to return shortly afterward and call Hansen a “fat sonofabitch,” and insult Ericksen’s mental acuity. At a 9/11 memorial two days later, he again unleashed a string of abuse at Hansen, with Mayor Milissa Holland standing next to Hansen.
“I first and foremost want to sincerely apologize about my action in a very intense situation,” Mullins wrote in his email, sent late this morning. “As I said during the meeting I am truly sorry for inappropriate remarks and actions.”
That’s all there was by way of an “apology,” with recognition neither of the abuse he’d heaped on two commissioners nor the disruptions he’d caused in the room, at one point going as far as lodging a complaint with the sheriff against a sheriff’s deputy who had tried to calm him down (though Mullins routinely speaks of standing with deputies).
The rest of the email is more focused on himself in a mix of dissembling and back-patting, with no apologies to the way he’d treated Hansen at the 9/11 event: “It was a very intense situation that we all would have like to avoided. I take this position seriously and feel strongly that I want to represent the people as I’m sure everyone on this board does. While we are made up of many personalities in the county and commission and have many different styles and views I realize we have to work together as one. I by no means want our great accomplishments we have all been able to achieve as a team the last two years to be overshadowed by personal issues. (We all know a house divided cannot stand) and I truly regret my actions in heightening the tension subsequent to the unfortunate event that occurred at last meeting. I am committed to a positive path forward. I will make my apology public at the board meeting Monday.”
“It’s vague,” Ericksen said of the email, calling it more of an “introductory letter. Or more to come?” Asked directly if the words changed his mind about censure, Ericksen said: ‘The guy’s a cancer and he’s got to go. I will bet there are things we don’t even know that this guy is doing.”
Mullin’s email contradicts the numerous times he’s again insulted Hansen and Ericksen on his social media platforms since the Sept. 9 meeting. “I gladly stand by my words and actions and will always be by the people of Flagler,” Mullins wrote on Sept. 12, again adopting insulting nicknames for the two commissioners (“HASTY Hansen and CRAZY Charlie Ericksen (who makes Biden look more alert and smarter than Einstein)” and, remarkably, accusing them of being “demeaning”–in the very same sentence. He called them “clowns” in yet another posting. His postings attacking the commissioners were interspersed with posts about his delivering campaign signs, including signs representing the campaigns of fellow-County Commissioner Donald O’Brien (who has been least willing to criticize Mullins on the commission) and for Staly.
On Thursday, Mullins was at it again: “This story will bring a long battle out between Hasty Hansen and his wife attacking me personally and professionally. And Ericksen not attending any of his committees. It’s backed up by many emails, text and one from my attorney threatening legal action. His goal is to remove me so the back door deals can be attempted again. But once again Flagler live spins the truth.” Ericksen concedes that there’s been times that he’s not been to meetings, but he said that’s been because of a combination of meeting cancellations or his own health struggles of late. (Emboldened by County Administrator Jerry Cameron, who’s ordered his public information staff not to recognize FlaglerLive among local news organizations, and silence from other commissioners, Mullins for months has been using anti-Semitic and other racist imagery and language targeting the site’s editor.)
Sullivan said his intention Monday will be to protect the commission above all. “I don’t want the County Commission to come out of this with a black eye that will take us time to overcome.” Conceding that Mullins has called him over the last few days, Sullivan did not disclose what he would do specifically. “I just assume not, because I do have some thoughts, I’ve been researching definitions and the history of censures and what they mean. I’m focusing on specific incidents, if that will give you any thoughts on it. It’s a word that’s used flippantly as far as I’m concerned. I think it’s worth looking at the various definitions.”
A search of commission minutes through the clerk of court’s office, prompted by the county attorney’s office last Monday, revealed no instance of a commissioner being censured through the years locally–at least not from what the minutes indicate.
What is more certain is that commissioners will have to address the Mullins question one way or another as they’ve been fielding additional emails regarding his behavior–and his being in line to be the commission’s next chairman, come November.
“As a resident of Flagler County, I find it appalling that action has not been taken to remove, or at the very least, censure Mr. Mullins for his absolutely disgusting and disturbing displays at public meetings,” one constituent wrote commissioners, the county attorney and Cameron on Sept. 16. The email echoes the tenor of others like it. “Mr. Mullins is well known to incite negative behavior in his constituents and your continued acceptance of his behavior does little to encourage him to change. Moreover, we are well aware that he is in line to chair the board of commissioners, and, should this happen, his “friends ” in the community will almost certainly feel that they are at liberty to act out even more than they do now at their street corner political rallies. I have seen quite a few articles, letters and comments about Mr. Mullins’ various business dealings and other shenanigans, and am having a difficult time chalking them up to hearsay when I see his behavior in person. Frankly, I don’t know why he’s not regularly drug tested (based on alleged shenanigans). Quite a few of us would like to see that happen, and the results made public. You all seem like reasonable individuals. Do something about this while your integrity is still intact.”
Sounds like Mullins is the typical opportunist, creates little events and then attempts to spin them for a grandstand play to “save the county”. One minute he’s in the middle of the chaos, stirring the pot as creating the opportunity to be the county saviour, the next he’s on-line spinning that fabricated moment as being “of the people & for the people” and now we see him issuing a half-hearted apology. One has to wonder whether or not those anti-maskers were in the room & planted to create an opportunity to disrupt addressing the issue that were to be discussed and perhaps resolved. I don’t believe in censure of any council member is retained, Repeated heinous offenses is a pattern regarrdless of whether it’s staged or some bi-polar moment that requires mental health evaluation and medications. Recall is really the only recourse in this. Non-elected and any employees would have been terminated very early in exhibiting that demeanor.
The Voice Of Reason says
Jimbo, I think you’re right. In my view he’s acting like a mini trump. Going from one melt down to another creating a string of distractions that never get scrutinized and dealt with like that of a normal figure or circumstance. A blur of outrageous conduct that’s like a moving target that is never hit properly. He’s a bad reality show run amok that’s enabled by a failed political party that will tolerate any farce in order to hold power. Morals and values are flushed down the toilet by the party of family values. Gullible fools brainwashed by faux news and right wing media at all levels. Lost souls that should worry about their afterlife. They will not be judged kindly whether politicians or pawns of a political party that is essentially a dumpster fire.
Too bad the people of Flaglers Politicians now go and waste more time energy resources aggravation with some immature dimwit living out one of his alternate realities. Good luck
CROCODILE TEARS says
Sullivan talks a GOOD talk, betcha he smooths Mullins behavior over at this meeting, also appears that these lawyers for Mullins who appeared on Flagler live comment section in his defense advised him to write this email but guess what legal team- this does not make up for Mullins disgusting and abusive rhetoric toward the citizens in this county. Mullins is a day late and a dollar short, with his divisiveness he has still not apologized to we the people who have endured the brunt of his attacks by him and his crony’s who he gets all riled up, we the people have spoken and will not be ignored any longer nor allow this to continue.
VOICE OF THE PEOPLE says
Mullins will apologize and the puppet masters will be pulling the strings of the commissioners, I hope that Hansen and Ericksen will not cave or comply!
E Pluribus says
“Mussolini” Mullins has created a situation that his trust fund, his family influence, or his attorney can’t get him out of this time. Join us next week for the exciting conclusion.
To little to late Joe. You are a disgrace. You do not represent this republican.
Bill C says
Mullins does not represent the values of the citizens of Flagler County. He has disqualified himself, therefore he should do the honorable thing and resign. His self-serving apology only further insults the public.
Why doesn’t Mullins just go around wearing a tee-shirt emblazed with “#sorrynotsorry” ?
E. Hoffa says
Mullins flips issues like Beijing Biden! Just censure this Crazy Fool and move forward to Make Palm Coast Proud Again!
Apologizing 101: omitting = lying; an apology that omits specifically why one is apologizing is essentially a lie and therefore no apology at all. And how does anyone claim absolution of behavior resulting from an intense situation, which they themselves exacerbated? So over the egos!
Jackie McDonald says
Sounds like Mullins is out of control. No way should a public official be able to act like he has. It is embarrassing to the Flagler community to have one of our officials acting like a brat.
Michael Cocchiola says
Trump bullies don’t “sincerely apologize” for anything. Mullins has brought his idol’s tactics to Flagler County. Buy your way in. Appeal to people’s worst instincts and feed their grievances. Create fear through intimidation. Say and do anything to denigrate your opponents because you know they still have some semblence of honor and integrity and will try to avoid confrontation. Act without fear of consequences because you’ve paid off enough people to get away with anything. Eventually, you have silenced any opposition and you own the county.
Shame on Flagler County voter’s if Joe Mullins is reelected ever again. He’s a liability and embarrassment to the county.
jim dana says
This is for sure a dog and pony show – been here 5 years and this has been getting worse and worse. Who runs the show here in Palm Coast? We buy buildings that we can’t use and sit unoccupied and we watch this Mullins run around looking totally out of control.
VOTE and vote early.
Helen Siegel says
How does a Commission censure a member who’s behavior has deteriorated to this point, and then go on to elect him chair? At the very least censure is in order and under no circumstances should he head this Commission. Mullins defeat at the end of his term if he makes it that long, will not be a loss in any manner of thought. He has no leadership qualities and is a toxic force in the community he represents.
MAKE FLAGLER PROUD AGAIN says
Helen Siegel: Sounds to us that Mullins was headed for chairman, it is very disturbing to we we people that this commission and by that we mean his 2 bro friends- was going to elect him, goes to show us where their heads are at and furthermore we ask this question: What else do they have planned and are not transparent about in this counties future? Hopefully this commission will now do the right thing now that we the people have spoken!
Helen Siegel says
It’s not over until the fat lady sings…
Trailer Bob says
“Mullins behavior led Hansen and Ericksen, among others, to call for the commission to censure him”
As a former town commissioner in my former state, director on the Chamber of Commerce board, founder of multiple community organizations, candidate for state representative, candidate for mayor (I am a republican, this was Connecticut with a “D”), and a Main Street business owner, it appalls me to watch this damaged person act out like a 7 year old and it is an embarrassment to the entire community.
Who exactly is the BOCC working in the best interest of? Mullins has provided ample episodes of insanity, hatred, and incompetence that should have been addressed long ago. His personal emotional issues of mania, hate, rudeness, and temperament should not be our (the people of the county) problem and it should have been dealt with sooner and more seriously.
When our elected officials are forced to dumb down their roles of leadership and representation do to the fear of threats coming to fruition, it is time to be concerned with more than merely Mullins behaviors. It seems this has become serious enough and a large enough embarrassment to the community to consider that actions, or inactions, of the entire group who is not only “supposed to represent the people” but actually “act” to do so needs to be addressed.
Hell, being censured to Mullins is probably considered a medal of honor. Wake up and put your big boy pants on commissioners…it’s your job.
Lance Carroll says
NPA Marie says
He needs to go. Period. Completely unprofessional behavior from day one. Whatever happened to people with opposing views at least acting civilized and “gentlemanly” with one another? Childish bullying, name calling, and belligerency are not qualities I want in my elected officials. I do not regularly follow Flagler Live, but this article caught my attention because of his controversial behavior.
All Flagler County Commissioners need to listen to the taxpayers in this county before they have their meeting regarding Mullins insulting behaviors.
Taxpayers want him removed because he is a embarrishment not only to Flagler County Commissioners but all to the paying taxpayers of this county.
He has proven over and over again he is not qualifed to be in any public office in Flagler County.
Commissioners do your jobs and request for his removal.
Joe Mullins is the worst of the worst. He should resign.
Cocerned Citizen says
Mullins needs to go. And the BOCC owes Flagler County an apology for allowing this nonsense to continue on our dime.
What busniess could have been transacted had there not been this constant distraction? All this name calling,fighting and division has not moved our county forward in a positve manner. Likewise Mullins is not the only one at fault here.
For months we continue to read about the inaction of this BOCC. They allow themselves to be compromised by “campaign contributions” and other favors garnered by special interests. They continue to completley ignore the will of their constituents. And when called out want to ask you to “step outside”.
Eriksen has zero room to talk in this issue. He believes that because he has decided not to run again he can treat others how he wishes. He continues to bully and bluster. And his teen age mentality of I don’t like what you said so meet me outside attitude is disgraceful as an elected official.
I have served in the military and worked in public safety my entire adult life. Every job I have ever had required an oath. And that held me to higher standards. These people were sworn in to do a job as well. And to date what has been accomplished? Eriksen’s come back to me in an earlier article was we are bringing taxes into line. So what? That’s your job. Do it.
I work in the private sector now and have recently observed this type of behavior at my work place. When employee’s couldn’t get along initial warnings were given. Then write ups followed. And then guess what when no resolution was made people were fired. I guess it’s different at the BOCC level. Here in this county our elected officials can continue to act like immature 5 year olds having a pissing match in a playground sandbox. Then laugh at their constiuents all while collecting a paycheck and sitting secure in their job.
How much longer will we continue to allow this to go on?
Focused on Flagler says
I wish Sullivan would have the sense to distance himself from the two crooks; Hansen, Sullivan, and Erickson are actually descent people.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Okay Joe, time to go
We’re fed up with you
We’re sick of your show
Please make our day
Just go away
And find another place to play
(We are sure that Augusta
is more than ‘disgusta’)
You attacked, you defamed, you lied
Even Threatened a scary train ride
How great it will be
To get rid of thee
To part will be such sweet sorrow
We will welcome our new tomorrow
And when you leave please go for good
We don’t want you in our ‘hood….
C’mon man says
Bring your popcorn. This next BOCC meeting is gonna be off the chain.
Mullins brief apology is not worth the bandwidth used to send it. The man is a disgrace to Flagler County and to all that serve in Public office. Joe time to go, do yourself a favor and be a real man and Step down.
Hammock Bear says
Politics in Flagler County are as rude as D.C. politics. Can Mullins be forced to resign? What a true waste of tax payers money that goes to him. Hope he is seeking to relocate to another state.
JUST SAYIN' says
Don’t be surprised everyone when at tomorrows meeting that Mullins pulls some kind of a maneuver in an attempt to high jack and take the focus off his bad behavior as a commissioner, he is a master manipulator!
….and here we are still talking about Joe. Repeated bad behavior, constant drama. Do what’s right on Monday. He’s had plenty of chances, and only continues to spread hate and discontent. This community is better. We deserve better.
Dedicated American says
I hope Sullivan and O’Brien have the balls to step up and get rid of Mullins. Start thinking about the tax payers complaints the two of you, oh I include Hansen also, always avoid and take very good care of the builder that donates generously to your campaigns.
Steve Vanne says
Darn mullins looks like no one likes you in this town. Maybe this should you something.
Been There says
The Commission and Cameron are complicit in everything Mullins does in this county whether immoral, unethical and sometimes illegal. Cameron protects Mullins as have Sullivan and O’Brien. This is because he served a purpose. Now that the private sector forces that REALLY drive Flagler County have a NEW candidate (who will mostly likely win the election) to sit on the dais and do their bidding, Mullins is no longer a necessary evil. They don’t need his vote to adjust the voting weight in their favor and he can be removed, like anyone who stands in their way. The people who put him in office will be the ones to take him out.
He is just a tool. They just didn’t realize how much of a tool he is.
I’m kind of enjoying watching them turn on each other.
Lucid intervals and recovering from blackouts is the order of his days. Looks like maybe a few good nights rest might help. He is following the lead of his idols so He willend up in the same Political garbage heap as them wreckage in the rearview mirror of fallen Elected Officials.
His did thus guy get ejected. We’re we that stupid theees only one solution. Remove him. He is not fit to run a lemonade stand.