Duval Democratic Chair Calls For Shirk To Resign Immediately

Sep 4, 2013

Jacksonville Public Defender Matthew Shirk

Embattled Jacksonville Public Defender Matthew Shirk is being asked to resign by a local party head, following published reports in which he admitted to drinking in his city office and violating other policies.

Duval County Democratic Party Chairman Neil Henrichsen is calling for Shirk's "immediate resignation," calling the prosecutor "scandal-ridden."

"It is clear that he must resign his public position immediately to restore good government and public trust to the Public Defender’s Office,” Henrichsen said in a statement.

“Can anyone truly believe that this official, who has rarely shown up to work, is serving the taxpayers well and advancing good government? No way.”

Henrichsen also criticized Shirk for asking Rogers Towers Law Firm to work with his office for an independent review of the allegations.

The law firm is doing the work pro-bono, but they have contracted with a political strategist from the Dalton Agency who is expected will be paid.

“That clearly shows Mr. Shirk puts his political future above the people he claims to serve as an elected official,” Henrichsen said of the use of the political consultant.

Late last month Governor Rick Scott appointed Gainesville area State Attoney Bill Cervone to investigate allegations of professional misconduct in Shirk's office that include the hiring and firing of two female employees of the city's Whiskey River bar.