Success Appeal

Public officials may be wealthier than you think (and then there's Matt Shirk)


For a month, Public Defender Fourth Judicial Circuit Matt Shirk's name has been in the local press almost as many times as Miley Cyrus' (coincidentally, both earned their headlines for making asses of themselves). An investigation conducted by The Florida Times-Union uncovered allegations of questionable hiring and firing practices, inappropriate email exchanges with female employees and the consumption of alcohol in his office, not to mention “Showergate" and "Badge-gate," all of which are currently under investigation by a special prosecutor appointed by Gov. Rick Scott.

But personal and career implications aside, Shirk may have financial woes to contend with were he to lose (or resign from) his position. According to a database using information provided to the Florida Commission on Ethics, Shirk’s net worth is the fourth lowest of the 184 public officials, including judges, city council members, sheriffs and school board members from Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties.

Here are some of the more interesting financial tidbits I found while spending way too much time searching for familiar names...

Public officials with the lowest net worth 

  • Jesse Davis, Baker County School Board: ($700,000)
  • Terry Wright, Putnam County School Board: ($63,768)
  • *Charles Van Zant, Clay County School Board: ($11,480)
  • Matt Shirk, Public Defender Fourth Circuit: $13,676
  • *Mark Miner, St. Johns County Commissioner: $14,381

Public officials with the highest net worth 

  • *W.C. Gentry, Duval County School Board: $32,194,174
  • Lori Boyer, Jacksonville City Council, $8,837,916  
  • Fred Lee, Duval County School Board: $7,435,254 
  • John Thrasher, Florida Senate: $6,820,548 
  • John "Jay" Morris St. Johns County Commissioner $4,739,754 


  • 48 officials of the 184 in the database are worth more than $1 million.
  • More than one-third of Jacksonville City Council members are worth more than $1 million (Greg Anderson, Lori Boyer, Kimberly Daniels, Johnny Gaffney, William Gulliford, Stephen Joost and Jim Love).
  • Only three Jacksonville City Council members are worth less than $100,000 (Reginald Brown, Don Redman and Clay Yarborough).
  • Sheriff John Rutherford's net worth ($782,645) is greater than State Attorney Angela Corey's ($612,527) and Mayor Alvin Brown's ($479,152).
  • At $700,000 in the red, Baker County School Board Member Jesse Davis makes me feel much better about my own net worth—or lack thereof.
DISCLAIMER: "Information on the net worth of Northeast Florida officials came from the Florida Commission on Ethics. Under Florida law officeholders must submit their average net worth to the Commission on Ethics every year. Net worth is calculated by subtracting all liabilities from all assets. But only assets and liabilities over $1,000 must be reported, which means subtracting liabilities from assets does not always equal net worth" (from Also, the information provided is from 2010 and may not reflect an individual's current net worth. 

* Some of the aforementioned officials may no longer be in the office indicated above. Those individuals' names are marked with an asterisk.
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