What Is There To Do In Palm Coast Today

Council member Eddie Branquinho, never at a loss for blunt words, put it this way: “You have some people that are very decent, very good. And you have some people that should never ever, ever, ever apply for a job like this. That’s how bad it was.”

Alfin is raising the possibility of starting over.

“I’m just wondering to myself if the best of the best have been reached or have been romanced to apply. I don’t know that,” Alfin said in an interview. “So is it possible that through deliberation at city council that we may or may not actually come to a decision on a shortlist or then after that to a single candidate? I’m not willing to assume that we will, just because we have a process.”

Council meetings had not been going well. Alfin has managed to corral some of the hostilities between Council members Ed Danko, Victor Barbosa and Eddie Branquinho, and has kept what had become Danko’s routine insults of Councilman Nick Klufas to a minimum. But tensions still mottle every meeting. The council had dispensed with hiring a search firm for its next city manager, agreeing to let the city’s human resources department handle the initial steps.

Alfin had wanted a search firm to “put corners on a box that city council can’t easily manipulate or change,” he said, a reflection of his weariness at the unexpected that one or another council member could spring at any moment. “So you work through a rigorous process which is policed by a third party, which helps you get to a conclusion. Number two, the third party search firm has the ability–because they already have a list, if you’re somebody that focuses or specializes in municipalities–they know who’s out there and who might be available. They can go speak to those people directly, and give them a reason to want to apply. Things have changed. The future looks bright. There’s great opportunity in the city of Palm Coast. You won’t see that as a headline on their own internet search probably. But the search firm people I think carry a little more leverage because they kind may know each other in those circles, or they know how to present that properly. So my question is, do we settle?”

The question appears to answer itself.

“If you have 91 applicants and let’s assume that a relatively small percentage of the 91 are truly qualified for the job,” and here Alfin cited the applicant who submitted a poem, lovely in itself but not a qualification for the job, “does that in fact mean–and this is a future story and it’s okay–that we have harvested the best fruit out there?” Alfin said the city has a PR issue.

It’s no mystery why: In his early months Barbosa was on a tear against then-Manager Matt Morton, slandering him on baseless allegations at a public meeting, when he called for his firing, and acting like a code enforcement vigilante around town, publicly humiliating some property owners. His grasp of council issues seemed tenuous, his commitment to the council even more so: he’s already declared a sun for the county commission next year. His sniping with fellow-Councilman Eddie Branquinho has flared from time to time, but in recent weeks Barbosa has calmed down considerably, and his questions or comments have been somewhat more thought out.

Danko started abrasively and has gotten progressively more abrasive, displaying rudeness to other council members’ faces, including the mayor, overtly and repeatedly challenging him on political grounds–politicking is usually off limits on government boards–while showing little respect for either the interim city manager or the city attorney, both of whom he said he wanted to fire if he had a third vote.

Those dynamics have carried into the manager-selection process, now poised for its first selection round at a special meeting next Wednesday. The council members have been tasked with each bringing a shortlist of five candidates. Absent overlaps, which are likely, that could potentially result in a list of 25 names. None of the council members want to interview 25 candidates. But there is no consensus between council members, either.

Danko had sought to circumvent the application process by bringing in an applicant of his own who would not necessarily have been vetted through HR (he had at one point been interested in bringing on Jerry Cameron, the former interim county manager, now in retirement, though Cameron doesn’t meet the minimum qualifications for the city manager’s job, having no college degree). Alfin, Branquinho and Klufas each separately said the application window has closed, and no such outside candidate would be considered.

“There was no vote, no consensus, no further discussion on that topic at that time,” Alfin said. “It’s my opinion, that the application process for all applicants is closed. And I think I’m safe saying that and here’s why. I don’t believe that there is a ghost candidate out there that somebody would bring forward at the 11th hour. I don’t believe that. So I don’t think it’s an issue.”

If that were to happen, Klufas said, his hope was that the council “would disallow that applicant.”

That doesn’t mean the whole process couldn’t be started over. Alfin wants the best of the best. The current batch may not be producing that. “I would have liked for the number, a larger number of well qualified candidates,” he said. He is not convinced that the city should be in a hurry to hire the next manager, and is convinced that simply because it has gone through the process of trying to hire one doesn’t mean he or she should be drawn from the current pool. Bevan is “doing a terrific job,” and has restored trust and security within the administration. She has not applied to be the next manager, but Alfin said she is not pressuring the council for an immediate decision. He is comfortable continuing with Bevan, if the council needs more time, and if it’ll avoid settling for an uncertain choice.

Alfin is worried that turnover in the city manager’s seat will eventually leach to a loss of institutional knowledge throughout City Hall. He wants a city manager who’ll be in place at least five years, if not 10. “We have so many opportunities out there that we will lose or sacrifice or miss if we don’t make a right decision,” he said. “I just want to make sure that we have the best inventory of candidates to choose from.”

Which brings him back to the idea of a new process with a search firm–an approach that Branquinho would support. But that also means setting in motion another six-to-nine-month timeline, pushing the process well into next year’s election season, when two seats will turn over (with Barbosa’s run for County Commission and Branquinho’s announcement that he would likely not run again, unless extremists run for the seat.)

“City council voted against me to spend the money to hire the search from a lot actually wasn’t a vote, but I lost that discussion,” Alfin said. “And I couldn’t bring it up. There was obviously a consensus on the days that they wanted staff to organize the search. But there’s nothing preventing me from discussing the possibility that based on where we are today, and I’ll have to wait till we get to our first workshop to see how it goes and make a decision, because I may well suggest that we cancel the current search process in favor of another search process.”

Palm Coast City Manager Candidates, 2021

The Candidates

Current PositionLocationCity or County Manager ExperienceLocal Government Managerial Experience

James Abeshaus

Daimler AG Corporate CounselStuttgart, GermanyNoNo

Angelia Adediran

Assistant City ManagerDeerfield BeachYesYes

Vince Akhimie

Not employed. Was assistant city manager in Lake City, Fla., until Aug. 2020.Lakeland, Fla.YesYes

Samuel Askew

Not employed. Previously, casino manager.Sumter, S.C.NoNo

Jan Bagnall

City ManagerFort Meade, Fla.YesYes

Lynda Bell

Property owner, manager, former town manager, Sneads, Fla.TallahasseeYesYes

Raymond Bosseret

Village administratorPort Edwards, Wis.YesYes

Barry Brooks

Assistant to the city manager, Albany, Ga.TallahasseeNoNo

Howard Campbell

Community Services Grant ManagerForrest Park, GeorgiaNoYes

Anthony Carson

Not employed. City manager, Forney, Texas, until 2021Forney, TexasYesYes

Christopher Clemens

Operations directorGainesvilleNoNo

David Connors

Branch Manager, TerminixPalm CoastNoNo

Fernando Cordeiro

Assistant manager, Mercedes Benz, JacksonvillePalm CoastNoNo

Frank Curnow

Mental health counselorDaytona BeachNoNo

Michael Custer

Police chiefMiddletown, Conn.NoYes

Angelo Dipierro

Emmanuel Donaldson

Recreation Coordinator, Polk County governmentBartowNoNo

James Dowdy

Pilot in military supportWilliston, Fla.NoNo

Michael Drake

Sales and marketing VP, Gyrodata Inc.DenverNoNo

Brian Druggan

Police officerSt. AugustineNoNo

Justin Dulgar

City commissioner, tech consultantMount Carmel, Ill.NoNo

Christopher Eck

Executive director, archivist, National Historical Publications and Records CommissionBroad Run, Va.NoNo

Elyse Edwards

Property managerPalm CoastNoNo

Phyllis Edwards

Not employed. Former school superintendent.Palm CoastNoYes

Kate Farmer

Utilities accountantGainesvilleNoNo

Sean Fisher

Military recruiterColumbus, Ga.NoNo

Brian Georghegan

City manager, Howell TownshipHowell Township, N.J.YesYes

Mark Giblin

Park manager, Anastasia State ParkFlagler BeachNoYes

Almut Godette

Online TeacherPalm CoastNoNo

Brad Gotshall

Township managerLower Paxton, Penn.YesYes

Cody Haag

Not employed. Fleet manager until October 15, 2021.Wenatchee, Wash.NoYes

Richard Haffele

Management and budget chief, Miami-Dade County SeaportMiamiNoYes

Fareed Halabi

Head of careers, teacherBrummana, LebanonNoNo

Christopher Hardee

Not employed. Was in travel sales until 2018.Richmond, TexasNoNo

Kenneth Harris

Federal prison supervisory chaplainSt. AugustineNoNo

Leisa Haynes

Not employed. Was city manager of Rio Communities, N.M. until 2020.Choctaw, Okla.YesYes

Shawn Henessee

Not employed. Was county manager, Clark County, Wash., until 2020.Vancouver, Wash.YesYes

Wil Hersh

Property managerOrmond BeachNoNo

Terry Hicks

Not employed. Was Leader of Facilities and Security for a utility until March 2020St. AugustineNoYes

Thomas Hutka

Not employed. Was Broward County director of public works until 2020.Pompano Beach, Fla.YesYes

Andrew Hyatt

Surfside town managerPonte Vedra BeachYesYes

Anna Kinsella

Office manager, St. Johns Family DentistryPalm CoastNoNo

Ashley Kirby

Dance instructorPossibly in West VirginiaNoNo

Wayne Klotzbach

National Guard "Force Integrator"Palm CoastNoNo

Mark Kutney

Not employed. Was City Manager of Brooksville, Fla., until June 2021Wellington, Fla.YesYes

Brent Lemond

Adult education director, Nassau County schoolsYulee, Fla.NoYes

Carlos Leyva

Elementary school business managerNorth Versailles, Penn.NoNo

Katherine Lopez

Economic development specialistPomona, N.Y.NoNo

Dominique Mack

Executive director, Family ConnectionsBrunswick, Ga.NoYes

Eric Maldonado

Not employed. Was a Census worker.Palm BayNoNo

Jim Manfre

Lawyer in private practice, former Flagler County SheriffPalm CoastNoYes

John Mangeri

Not employed. Was a police administrator and home inspector, Fishkill, N.Y.Palm CoastNoNo

Patrick Marsh

Consultant; was city administrator, Fitchburg, Wis., until January 2021Rochester, Minn.YesYes

Steve Martelli

Foreign Service Officer, deputy chief of citizen servicesArlington, Va.NoNo

Evalin McClain

Not employed. Was a grant manager, Kansas City Housing AuthorityKansas City, Mo.NoNo

Kevin McCraney

Operations director, Koppel Building & Construction Co.Louisville, Ky.NoNo

Stephanie McDonald

Park manager, Alfred B Maclay Garden State ParkTallahasseeNoNo

Richardo Mendez

Not employed. Was assistant city manager, West Palm Beach, from 2020 to 2021.MiamiNoYes

Brent Moran

Project manager, AccentureTampaNoNo

Scott Moye

County Manager, Ware County, Ga.Waycross, Ga.YesYes

Brandon Nielsen

Deputy supervisor, Blooming Grove Town BoardWashingtonville, N.Y.NoYes

Larry Nochowicz

Sales, Cisco SystemsSt. AugustineNoNo

Jeffrey Oris

Municipal government consultantNorth Palm BeachNoYes

Mark Raley

Security Manager, Pilgrim's PrideRidgeley, W.Va.NoNo

Jennifer Roberts

Not employed. Was a baker at Island Donuts, St. AugustinePalm CoastNoNo

Christian Rodriguez

Manager at Houligans, Palm CoastPalm CoastNoNo

Timothy Rryter

Shopping mall operations managerLindenhurst, Ill.NoNo

Justin Shoemate

FEMA systems intergration and reports chiefFredericksburg, Va.NoNo

Joseph Sinnott

Lawyer in private practice (previously served as elected mayor)Erie, Penn.NoNo

Gregory Smith

Education consultantDaytona BeachNoNo

Leonard Sossamon

Current employment not clear. Former Hernando County administrator and Port Richey interim managerMyrtle Beach, S.C.YesYes

D.W. Stark

Community gardens plots manager, transportation specialistFrederick, Colo.YesYes

Bronce Stephenson

Planning and transportation director, Winter ParkWinter Park, Fla.NoYes

Wesley Stovall

Educational assistant, food service worker Clarksville, TennesseeNoNo

David Strahl

Interim village manager, Schiller Park, Ill.Darien, Ill.YesYes

Ron Succarotte

Construction field supervisor, Waterside Pools, Palm CoastPalm CoastNoNo

John Swan

Consultant, business and technologyNot provided (New York State)NoNo

Rami Sweidan

Building department headLathrup Village, Mich.NoNo

Anthony Trotta

General manager, Best Western, Palm CoastDaytona BeachNoNo

Adriana Trujillo Villa

Operations Manager/Interim Public Works Director, Haines CityDavenport, Fla.NoYes

Jason Weeks

Assistant city managerLa Porte, TexasNoYes

Teresa Weinschenk

City administrator, Preston, IowaBellevue, IowaYesYes

Cody West

Credit analyst, United BankMerritt Island, Fla.NoNo

Paul White

Assistant Superintendent for Operations, Alachua County schoolsGainesvilleNoYes

Adam Wilson

Senior project manager, Plymouth, Mass.Leesburg, Fla.YesYes

Notes: In addition to the 85 candidates in the chart, Mark DeCola, Kimberly Dinh and Christopher Pike appeared as if they were intending to apply but submitted no documents beyond an initial form. Raymond Regaliaq submitted only a poem about veterans.

Candidates submitted their resumes, recommendation letters, salary histories and other supporting documents in the full knowledge of Florida's public record law, which makes all the documents presented here public records. These records will be archived and maintained as presented here.

Source : https://flaglerlive.com/170040/palm-coast-managers-do-over/

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