Nassau’s interim county attorney takes on permanent role

nassau county
Former County Attorney Mike Mullin resigned following allegations of illegal behavior regarding public records.

One part of Nassau County’s ongoing county attorney saga concluded Monday afternoon with the unanimous appointment of Interim County Attorney Denise May as the permanent replacement for former County Attorney Mike Mullin. Mullin resigned last week amid allegations of illegal behavior regarding public records.

“I apologize — I went out of town with my children for spring break, and it was an eventful week,” said Aaron Bell, chairman of the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners. “Didn’t expect that, but, when we hired Ms. May, we hired her with the expectation that she would take the position as county attorney when Mr. Mullin retired. Maybe the timing was not what we expected, but certainly I think the expectation was that Ms. May would move into that role.”

Bell recounted May’s qualifications and the process that brought her to the assistant county attorney job last year.

“We’ve had an extended interview with Ms. May,” Bell said. “She’s had the job now for six, seven, eight months. She was an assistant city attorney for St. Augustine for a number of years. She’s been in private practice, she’s been … an assistant state attorney.

“My suggestion is, and I did watch the meeting on Wednesday where this was discussed, but my suggestion is we have the open and transparent process to fill the assistant county attorney position, and that we promote Ms. May to the county attorney position.”

She’ll serve in an interim capacity until May and county human resources staff work out a contract, which should be accomplished within a month.

“It has been a trying week for all of us, and emotional at times,” May said. “It was always my understanding that I would be able to move in. That said, I did hope to have Mr. Mullin around for a little longer. That said, I am qualified, I am ready to take the next steps to bring this county into efficient, transparent governance, as is your strategic priority.”

Before she accepted the assistant county attorney job in July 2021, May was working on building a new house in a different county.

“She had another offer to go somewhere else, and she was building a house there, in another county … and we poached her,” Commissioner John Martin said. “That’s why this was kind of like a curveball at the other meeting (to possibly seek other candidates), because she got out of that house deal and bought a home here — her and her husband relocated here, she went to work for us.”

As for Bell and his spring break, he showed up to Monday’s special commissioners’ meeting with his right arm in a sling from an incident Sunday.

“Never expected that last week would be such an eventful week,” Bell said. “A huge, huge shout-out to the fire and rescue folks from Station 90. Unexpected need for them yesterday when I managed to flip an ATV on myself. They took awesome care of me, and very professional, so, thank you.”

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook:


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