By DOTTY NIST
The Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) voted on Feb. 16 to accept the resignation of Sidney Noyes, county attorney since 2017. The officials then discussed how to proceed with filling the position both on a temporary and ongoing basis.
The county attorney position was the last matter taken up by the BCC on Feb. 16 at a three-hour meeting mostly devoted to revisions to the Beach Activities Ordinance. The meeting was held at the South Walton Annex.
District 2 Commissioner Danny Glidewell indicated that he had requested that discussion of the county attorney position be added to the meeting agenda. “I put this on the agenda so that we could get this done today so that we wouldn’t have any gap,” he said regarding the county attorney post.
County Commission Chairman Trey Nick brought up the topic at the close of the meeting, saying that there was a letter of resignation from Noyes and that he would ask the BCC to accept the resignation.
Noyes’ letter dated Feb. 10 was presented to the commissioners indicating that her last day of work would be March 12.
A motion to accept the resignation was approved unanimously.
“We appreciate your service to the county,” Glidewell told Noyes, who was in attendance.
Glidewell then moved to direct Walton County Human Resources to advertise the county attorney position by the county’s normal process, and District 3 Commissioner Mike Barker seconded.
Noyes’ resignation had allowed for a 30-day notice period. Nick suggested having staff work with the Adkinson Law Firm during the 30-day period in the interest of keeping up with pending litigation until the county attorney position had been filled. The law firm is based in DeFuniak Springs.
“I think we need to advertise the position first,” Glidewell said. His motion to advertise was approved unanimously.
Following up on Nick’s suggestion, Glidewell observed that a contract is already in place for the Adkinson Law Firm to serve as legal counsel to the Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC). He brought up the possibility of making the firm acting county attorney on a temporary basis and piggybacking off that existing contract for payment.
Nick was of the opinion that staff, including Noyes, Assistant County Attorney Heather Christman, and County Administrator Larry Jones, should be directed to work directly with the Adkinson firm to keep abreast of current litigation until such time as the county attorney spot is filled.
However, Jones noted that the county attorney position item had been an addition to the agenda but had not been in the original advertisement for the meeting. Therefore he suggested putting off such action for the Feb. 23 BCC regular meeting and advertising the item for that meeting.
This was agreed to, and no further action was taken on the matter.
After serving as assistant county attorney beginning in March 2014, Noyes had been selected as county attorney in August 2017. She had been chosen from a field of 11 applicants. her resume including a Juris Doctor Law degree, Cum Laude, from the Florida State University College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies from the University of Florida, along with four years’ experience with the Office of the Public Defender, 2nd Circuit, the last three of those as assistant public defender. Noyes had served for nine months as associate attorney for the Andrews & Davis legal firm in DeFuniak Springs prior to accepting the assistant county attorney position under the leadership of then-County Attorney Mark Davis.
Noyes’ letter of resignation, addressed to Chairman Nick, and bearing her signature, read as follows:
“I am writing to resign my position as County Attorney, effective March 12, 2021. While I will certainly miss working with you, the other commissioners, and my coworkers, I have been presented with an opportunity that will allow me to spend more time with my family.”
“I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the people of Walton County for the last seven years. It has been a wonderful professional and personal experience, and I will cherish the many friendships I’ve made during my time working for Walton County. I wish you the best of luck and hope for Walton County’s continued success.”