‘It’s amazing to see how well the lawyers’ association governs themselves on discipline’
By Gary Blankenship
A police chief and a former legislator are lending their perspectives as the latest public representatives on the 52-member Bar Board of Governors.
Winston W. “Bud” Gardner, 75, of Orlando, has had a notable career as a commercial pilot, a colonel in the U.S. Marine Reserves, an engineer, and a 14-year member of the Legislature, serving in both the House and Senate as a Democrat representing Brevard County.
Anthony Holloway, 51, oversees the Clearwater Police Department, where he started as a patrolman, rose through the ranks and, served as police chief in Somerville, MA, before taking his current post.
“I love them. They’re amazing,” said board member Michelle Suskauer, who chairs the Communications Committee on which both public members serve. “I am so fortunate to have them both on the committee because they give valuable perspectives and different perspectives, given their backgrounds.
“Bud is a Facebook friend, and he has institutional knowledge in terms of the Legislature and is also current on technology changes. Then we have Chief Holloway . . . coming from the way the police department communicates with their constituents. His perspective is from a law enforcement background. Both of those perspectives are invaluable to the committee.”
Both also serve on the Disciplinary Review Committee and Chair Brian Burgoon said they continue in the tradition of past public board members in providing astute and persuasive input, frequently from a fresh perspective.
“On many occasions during debate in DRC, I have watched the vote on an individual case appear to go one way, and then clearly be swayed in the other direction after one or both public members offer their thoughts. Simply put, when the public members speak, the committee listens,” he said.
“Tony Holloway and Bud Gardner are vital participants in the lawyer discipline process. They both appreciate the implications the DRC’s decisions have on the respondent, the complainant, the public, and the profession. They take their duties very seriously, and provide thoughtful, practical, and insightful comments when discussing discipline cases in both DRC and full Board of Governors meetings.”
Both Holloway and Gardner served on local grievance committees before their board service, but they said they were still surprised seeing more of the discipline process from the board’s perspective.
“On the discipline side, the board is pretty tough on disciplining wayward lawyers, which I think is really good,” Gardner said. “I think that there is not that much public perception of how much the board does discipline itself. That has been somewhat a surprise.”
“It’s amazing to see how well the lawyers’ association governs themselves on discipline,” Holloway said. “Being on the outside, I thought it was the good-old-boy or good-old- girl network, and it isn’t anything like that.”
The police discipline process, he said, is more hierarchical, with discipline either coming from the administration of the particular department or from a review against an officer’s state certification by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“In this [the Bar system], you’re being judged by your peers,” said Holloway, adding he’s been impressed by the knowledge board members bring to the process, including seeing through any rationalizations used by respondents in grievance cases. “They can see though the issues.”
Both were also impressed by public reprimands delivered by the Bar president at board meetings.
“The first one I saw, I wanted to slide under the chair,” Holloway said. “I would say, ‘Fire me or suspend me; I’m not going to go through this.’”
“I think one of the things that impressed me on the Board of Governors is when there was a public reprimand,” Gardner said. “The attorney had to walk in and face the president of the Bar in front of 50 colleagues and be disciplined.”
But it wasn’t a foreign concept to Gardner. He noted the Florida Board of Professional Engineers administers all its discipline actions in public at a board meeting. And it takes steps to make sure engineers see the process.
“I have suggested several times expanding CLE so young attorneys actually view what takes place during these public reprimands,” Gardner said.
Gardner and Holloway also said that one of the impressive parts of the Bar grievance process is the protection of due process rights.
“I frankly can’t see any weaknesses in the process,” Gardner said. “The attorneys certainly have all their rights recognized throughout the process, including confidentiality to a certain point. Due process is highly valued by members of the board to make sure everyone receives it. While it may appear to be a lengthy process in some cases, I think that’s necessary to protect the individual.”
Aside from their committee work, Holloway is chair of the Bar’s Citizens Advisory Committee (formerly the Citizens Forum). Gardner is liaison to the Public Interest Law Section and the Pro Bono Legal Services Committee. “I think the reason for that [liaison to the committee] is I had indicated in my application that I consider pro bono work a very high calling to the profession and certainly a very high service,” he said.
Both public members say they enjoy their board service and the discourses that punctuate the meetings.
“The biggest surprise is just to see how well the process works,” Holloway said.
“Sometimes getting a new policy or something else through, a lot of debate goes on and you think you have the right answer and then something else comes into play.”
Although he said it’s not directly comparable with his legislative experience, Gardner said he’s enjoyed the issue discussions during his board service.
“The level of debate that occurs on the Board of Governors, as a rule, is probably more of an intellectual process than what goes on in the Legislature,” he said. “I don’t mean that to be the case all the time. There are certainly some fairly high degrees of intellect demonstrated in legislative debate. But politics being what it is, it’s not always perhaps factual debate. I have not observed anything like that in the debate on the Board of Governors.”
Gardner is halfway through his third year on the board. Holloway is finishing his second, and plans to seek reappointment next summer. (Under Bar rules, public members are limited to four years on the board.)
Holloway is a graduate of Eckerd College and he received an MBA from the University of Phoenix. After service in the Coast Guard, he began as a patrol officer for the Clearwater Police Department in 1985, eventually rising to patrol commander. He left to become police chief at the Somerville, MA, Police Department in late 2007. Just over two years later, he returned as chief of the department where he began his police career.
Gardner received his engineering degree from Auburn University and then served on active duty in a Marine Corps jet attack squadron, attaining the rank of captain. He remained in the Marine Corps Reserve until 1989, retiring with the rank of colonel. He worked in a variety of engineering firms and also was a commercial pilot for Pan American World Airways from 1968-70. From 2001-09 he was president and chief operating officer of TLC Engineering for Architecture in Orlando.Gardner served in the Florida House from 1978-88.
He was elected to the Florida Senate from 1988-92 and chaired the influential Committee on Appropriations for his last two years.
That legislative experience may come into greater play on his board service. Gardner said he’s talked with President-elect Greg Coleman about serving on the Bar’s Legislation Committee for the 2014-15 Bar year, although that means he would have to give up his seat on the DRC.