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Ron Vath Mystery Theater: Flagler Beach Commissioner Takes a Job With FEMA

| September 5, 2010


Presumably doing a heckuva job for FEMA. (© FlaglerLive)

Flagler Beach Commissioner Ron Vath has taken a job with the Federal Emergency Management Administration, FlaglerLive has learned. The Flagler Beach city commissioner disappeared after the last meeting of the commission he attended on Aug. 12, when he didn’t let on that he might be absent in subsequent meetings.

At the following meeting, on Aug. 23, Commission Chairman John Feind said Vath would be absent indefinitely. Feind did not explain why, or how he had learned of Vath’s absence beyond the commissioner’s empty chair on the panel’s dais. Rumors and speculation flew–about Vath’s health or other issues, which proved unfounded.

Vath, a retired safety executive, applied for a job with FEMA in April. Last month he got a call from the agency, summoning him West for at least a two-week stint, possibly longer. The job with FEMA is permanent. The location, however, may not be: Vath would still be returning to Flagler Beach, possibly in late September or early October, from where he may be called to various assignments. In that regard Vath, should he choose to continue serving on the commission, would be in the same situation as Mike Evans, a commissioner elected the same year Vath was, in 2001, who was also a member of the Air Force Reserves, and who ended up missing much of his commission service as a result. Evans, who is one of the candidates for city manager (and still in the Reserves), did not run for reelection after that initial stint. Vath has said in the past that he was uncertain about running again.

Contacted by phone last week, Vath said he would not disclose where he was, what he was doing or for how long he would be absent. Nor would he explain why he was being cagey about his whereabouts or his assignment: FEMA is not a secret agency.

“In my previous life part of what my responsibilities were for regulatory, safety and environmental issues,” Vath said several years ago. “I’ve been very involved in disaster plans.”

Vath’s absence is a matter of public concern, as it bears on critical issues before the commission this month: the interviewing of eight candidates for city manager (Vath missed the first three interviews last week), and two budget public hearings where the commission is scheduled to approve what stands as a $9.8 million budget and a tax rate of $4.23 per $1,000 in taxable value, a 22 percent increase over the current tax rate.

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25 Responses for “Ron Vath Mystery Theater: Flagler Beach Commissioner Takes a Job With FEMA”

  1. John Smith says:

    YAAAAAHHHHHHOOOOOOO the city is saved.

  2. Imagine says:

    Lets add more secrecy to Flagler County. He took a job, big deal. The problem is If you cannot do both jobs, pick one. Do the job you were elected to do or step aside.

  3. over it says:

    Leave a job in Flagler County for something better somewhere else??!?!?? Sounds about right………

  4. JR says:

    Like Pierre said in his report: FEMA is not a secret agency. For not completely disclosing his relationship with a federal agency (responsible for distributing billions of dollars). I am reversing my previous position and I think that the City Commission should ask Mr. Vath to step down.

  5. NortonSmitty says:

    Did’nt know much about him. But he sure showed where his priorities are, with him to the point of not even letting his town know he couldn’t do the job he promised with a phone call? Not even just to say he’s OK?

    I’m pretty sure he won’t be missed here, and FEMA might even have itself a new Brownie!

  6. John Smith says:

    Yes can you imagine how critical Vath was with the city budget, He will be saving us all tax dollars scewing some poor person who just lost everything in a storm by refusing to pay him for it. We all need to pray that the Beach does not get hit and have him get to refuse us, since he will be saving the country money. Vath needs to quit his position so the city can carry on. Thanks FEMA he is your headache now.

  7. Charlie says:

    This is one of the differences in Government work and Industry. Why can’t we not just fire this character for ,the same reasons, we can get let go? Wait for his resignation? Vote him out. Heck ,NO, show him the door, right now. Actually, he should get a better haircut first!!

  8. art woosley says:

    Here we go again, comments like he should ( step aside, step down, quit, & fire him ) obviously coming from well meaning residents, residents however, that may not have an true understanding about our commission, or what is required to make it function.

    First of all the job pays very little, hardly more than transportation costs, to and from the many meetings they are required to attend.

    Secondly, in order to do a good job for our city and it’s residents, a considerable amount of any commissioners home time must be spent reading over, and studying the agenda items which can often crowd the average commission agenda.

    Those hours do not even include the fact, that just an average commission meeting can last well over four hours, in addition to this, include time spent on budget hearings,county meetings etc.etc.

    Then of course as with any elected official they must also answer to the people via e-mail, phone calls etc. regarding their individual concerns or problems which may or may not be valid.

    Yes, to perform ones job as commissioner in an acceptable manner, takes considerable time, effort commitment, and dedication, on the part of any individual commissioner.

    One must also expect attacks like those above, which often come with the territory, all because for whatever reason an individual is not happy with your decision making.

    Some of these same attacks can even become presonal in nature, which of course are also unacceptable, as mentioned in the “Comment Policy”.

    People quick to criticize, should first understand why so few candidates step forward to become commissioners in the first place, and why many have run unopposed over the years, this is simply because most know the job is not easy.

    So before calling for the head of one of our BETTER commissioners, before all facts are known.

    I would strongly suggest that some of you consider becoming part of the process, why not place your name in the pool of candidates who will run in our next election, that is of course if you think you can do better.

    However before doing so don’t forget , “it is always much easier to throw the rocks, than to get hit by them”.

  9. Imagine says:

    Art, you have made the case of why he should step down. He just does not have the time to fulfill the duties required. It does not matter how good a person did their job. If they are not here, they cannot perform it.

  10. art woosley says:

    Imagine, I agree with you 100% if this indeed is going to be the case, and if as you say the commissioner will be unable to “fulfill his duties” to our community. I am only attempting to stop them from going after his throat with such vengence, at least until the allotted time for absence has expired.

  11. Buddy's Friend says:

    First of all, how rude of anyone to personally attack another, via a public publication. Why not put yourself in this person shoes. Second of all, as far as I know, most commissioners have jobs and take several vacations every year. Speculation gets us no where. Why not see what happens within a reasonable amount of time. Thirdly, last I know, he was voted in by the majority of voters in Flagler Beach and has served 10 years as a city commissioner, with practically perfect attendance. Lastly, better be careful what you wish for, maybe some of you should think about running to serve your city for practically nothing and of course, be criticized and called names while you are at it!!!!!!!! Sounds like a great “job”!!!!!!!!! Finally, Good Luck Commissioner Vath in all you do, I, as well as many others are grateful for everything you have done for our city!!!!!

  12. Kip Durocher says:

    Poor, poor, Art … the ship is sinking Art … head for the life boat !
    Mr. Vath lost his seat because of his behavior August 15-September 3.
    He was in complete violation of City of Flagler Beach Charter Regulations.
    Don’t believe me – go to city hall and read. It is all there for the public in our public records.
    His lack of attendance – unexcused – duly noted in the minutes.
    The question now is the legality of the actions of the rest of the board from Sept 3 on.
    Where they legal? This will be decided in the future as the State of Florida begins to investigate complaints of citizens.
    ” the allotted time for absence has expired,” has come and gone.
    For anyone who feels the State of Florida should handle this from here on in, this is where you file a complaint.

  13. Kip Durocher says:

    @Buddy’s Friend
    People may take your posts more serioiusly if you posted your name.
    I give no credence to posters who hide beyond silly log on names.

  14. Buddy's Friend says:

    No need to give me any credence Kip. I simply do not feel it is right to rip someone apart personally in a public forum. We are talking about an elected official and I do not a wish to participate in the “personal” boxing ring. If everyone stuck to the facts it would be a different story but this is very personal stuff. Just stating my opinion, which is my right, I am not looking for a fight. I have better things to occupy my time than ripping apart a public “servant”. I was taught to respect others opinions, it is the personal name calling I have a problem with.

  15. Imagine says:

    Like it or not, when you are in a public position you live in a glass house. Your actions reflect who you are and who you serve. It is just the way it is.

  16. John Smith says:

    Well Buddy you put your name out there you are fair game. As for Art he has all this big talk about how things should be done and you do not see him in there as a commissioner. Sure Ron did a job while he was there but it is 6 yrs to long. He has been out of control here lately and it needs to stop. There should be a term limit to settle this kind of problem. Come on Art put your position where your mouth is.

  17. John Smith says:

    Buddy I do not see any name calling out there. All I am seeing out there is the facts that are there. As Art says in his wisdom is use your name if you have something to say. To defend him is to NOT see the facts about his tactics to get things and the way his supporters throw his 10 yrs around being a bully. ITS THE FACTS.

  18. Buddy's Friend says:

    Not understanding why my name is so important. Is it to verbally attack my character as has been done to past posters. What is the difference, this is MY opinion. I am not here to debate, as I have stated before. As far as I am concerned the so called facts are being twisted. Is it so hard for some people to see there is usually at least two sides to every story. Commissioner Vath has been voted in by the majority of voters for 10 years so someone wanted him to continue on as Commissioner. This is the United States of America. The majority of votes wins!! I guess people better start to decide who will be running in March if you feel that strongly about it!!!!!! Good Luck to all.

  19. John Smith says:

    thats right come the march vote we will see.

  20. John Smith says:

    People as you read the story above lets not disrespect Mike Evans and his leave for the Military Service and compare it with this. This in NO WAY is a MILITARY LEAVE FOR DUTY its a choice Ron Vath has made for himself. You might say the other Commissioners have jobs BUT they are available for there service to the city and there jobs are in the county not out of the state. Well you say they might take vacations, well yes they might. Their vacations will not be for months at a time, and miss vital votes to the city. You say they only get paid a small amount for their duty to the city, well they know going in that is the pay for being a city commissioner which they choose to do in AMERICA. We have 4 commissioners doing what we NEED 5 commissioners need to be doing. I respect everyone of them for doing this job for the city but I DO NOT accept this from Vath by walking away at this time, it is a violation of the city and the state laws and a slap in the face to city residents.

  21. Buddy's Friend says:

    John Smith, I totally respect and understand what you are saying and agree that we do need 5 commissioners. I know in my 20 years living in FB that some commissioners were away for 3 to 4 weeks for personal reasons. Is it our business what their personal business are for 3 weeks? Do we really know that Commissioner Vath is going to be away indefinitely and has “walked away from the city”? I suggest we all wait and see how this situation pans out before jumping to conclusions.

  22. Mike Piers says:

    Mr. Ron Vath, thank you for 10 years of your service to our city.
    If you choose to continue to serve, you have my vote.
    Mike Piers

  23. John Smith says:

    Well Mike my vote cancels yours. At this particular time at budget and getting a new Manager yes it does matter that he has left. And for FEMA yes he can be gone for months. Over the 23 years of living in FB I have not seen this done at budget or manager time. Any other time with excused absence is another thing. Yes we will and in March it will not matter whether he is here or not.

  24. Buddy's Friend says:

    You must be a very important person to be able to predict the future and how all of the Flagler Beach citizens will vote. If you run and win, your expertise in predicting the future will be an asset for the city. We won’t even have to ask the citizens what they want, you can just let everyone know in advance.

  25. John Smith says:

    You are probably right buddy, the one thing I will do is treat everyone equal and not listen to art .

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