McCollum Calls for Reinstatement of Assistant State Attorney
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum on Tuesday urged the state attorney for the Third Judicial Circuit to reconsider his decision to fire an assistant state attorney for her repeated appearance and speaking engagements at Tea Party rallies and other conservative forums.
In a letter to state attorney Robert “Skip” Jarvis, McCollum urged the prosecutor to reconsider his decision last week to fire assistant state attorney KrisAnne Hall for refusing to stop speaking at Tea Party and conservative political events, even though she did so on her own time.
“Although I have not personally reviewed any contract you may have with your employees, it is difficult to see any nexus between Ms. Hall’s free speech activities and her employment,” McCollum wrote in a letter Tuesday .
Hall is asking a federal court to force Jarvis to rehire her in the circuit that includes Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor Counties.
Jarvis fired Hall on May 24, saying she overstepped her bounds by continuing to appear at such events after he told her to stop. As an at-will employee, Hall can be fired without cause.
Contacted Tuesday, Jarvis declined comment, telling the News Service of Florida he had not seen the letter from McCollum and said he would respond “at the appropriate time” after seeing the letter.
McCollum and Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp have both come out in support of Hall. In a letter to the Florida Times Union, Kottkamp said Hall’s political activities on her own time should be protected under the First Amendment. McCollum is running to become the Republican candidate for governor. Kottkamp, another Republican, is running to become Florida attorney general.
In a letter to newspapers editors around the state, Kottkamp said Hall’s activities were not unlike those of Jarvis, who was involved in Democratic Party activities for former state Sen. Rod Smith of Gainesville, while Jarvis was an assistant state attorney in 2006.
"It's hard to believe that a person who put criminals behind bars and helped protect the safety of Floridians was fired from her job because of her political ideology," Kottkamp wrote.