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Open Field: Ron Vath and Joy McGrew Will Not Run Again for Flagler Beach Commission

| December 22, 2010

ron vath and joy mcgrew of the flagler beach city commission

Ron Vath and Joy McGrew are the Flagler Beach City Commission's most candid members. (© FlaglerLive)

Ron Vath has been in office 10 years, Joy McGrew five. They’re the Flagler Beach City Commission’s most candid and outspoken members. Both have decided against running again when their term is up next year.

“I’m out of it,” Vath said. “I figured I’d give the young guns a chance. New ideas. Everything has a beginning and everything has an end. This is the end for me.”

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McGrew put it this way: “I’ve served my five years and am going to let somebody else have a turn.” Neither intends to withdraw entirely from public engagement. “As long as I live here, I’ll be involved,” McGrew said.

The two commissioners’ departure will have vast ramifications for the dynamics of the commission. McGrew is often the panel’s swing and unpredictable voter, carefully balancing issues and reasoning through them before taking a stand. Vath is its most compulsive financial auditor and, sometimes to the irritation of colleagues, most hands-on commissioner. Together they have vast institutional knowledge of the commission, with McGrew frequently joining Commission Chairman John Feind to moderate more polarizing stances. Depending on their replacements, McGrew’s absence is likely to leave the commission more polarized than not. The pair is leaving after a bruising year that left the commission gridlocked over a new city manager but still financially sound despite two years of collapsing property valuations (and a similar year ahead).

Their decision is also likely to invite a large number of candidates for the March 8 election. Four candidates have already filed, without having to pay a fee, by gathering the required 37 petitions by last Friday’s deadline. Additional candidates may file between Jan. 13 and Jan. 24, but they must pay a filing fee equivalent to 6 percent of a commissioner’s salary, or $439.21.

The four candidates who filed by Friday’s deadline: Kim Carney, Jamie NeJame, Phil Busch and Marshall Shupe. None is a stranger to the commission. Carney was a candidate in March 2009, polling third in a field of three for two open seats. Feind was the top vote-getter, with 38 percent of the vote, Vath was second (35 percent). Carney got 26 percent of the vote. She attends most commission meetings. NeJame was a candidate twice before: in 2009, he lost in a bid to replace Mayor Alice Baker (she won 60 percent of the vote to his 40). Last March he polled fourth behind Commissioner Steve Settle (31 percent), Commissioner Jane Mealy (26 percent) and McGrew (25 percent).

McGrew said she achieved several goals she’d set five years ago. Among those, in her view: Civility on the commission was restored, the short-term rental issue was settled, downtown power lines went underground, the city implemented its stormwater ordinance, and it got its water plant up and running. She would have liked to settle the matter of a new city manager. “I don’t think it turned out the way I really wish it had, but you can’t really waste a lot of time on wishes,” McGrew said. McGrew took withering criticism from a faction in the city that favored hiring Bruce Campbell, a city maintenance employee with a vast background in private-sector executive leadership, as the next manager. McGrew’s swing vote finally ensured that Campbell would be the city’s interim manager come January, replacing current interim Caryn Miller.

McGrew recognizes that her’s and Vath’s departure means the commission will have a majority of rookies (Settle being still a new face there) come March, but between remaining commissioners and the mayor, McGrew said, she was not worried about a lack of stability on the commission.

Vath is a little more worried about the financial stability of the city in coming years–and the commission’s commitment to keep close tabs on spending. “I feel surprised I’m the only one that cares about the financial aspect of the city,” Vath said, though he concedes that he can be “paranoid” about spending. Even after he leaves, he said, “if I see something I’m not crazy about, I will speak up.”

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25 Responses for “Open Field: Ron Vath and Joy McGrew Will Not Run Again for Flagler Beach Commission”

  1. Guardian says:

    It has occurred to me that we all got caught up with responding to negative comments rather than the heart of the article. We should all thank Mr. Ron Vath and Ms.Joy McGrew for the time and energy they have given to Flagler Beach. Before anybody makes a negative comment about ether, remember, it doesn’t matter if you like them or not, they gave years of service to the City. I use the word “gave” because what we pay commissioners is not much. The time they give can be construed as volunteering. So, I think when you see each of them; Thank them for the time they gave to the City and citizens of Flagler Beach.


  2. Pam says:

    The contributer to Flagler live puts that out the most vicious and hateful remarkes is John Smith. HIiding behind the internet, he berates everyone and everything. He puts out only trash talk and insults against other citizens. Nejame, Bush and folks at city hall are frequent targets. He implied that people who speak at commission meetings “make an ass” of themselves. And guess what, I hear he is now running for city commission. Can you imagine having that phoney foul mouthed coward making decisions for our city?


  3. Easy to Find says:

    So, elaygee wrote: “Put Jamie NeJame’s name into your search engine and see what comes up. Not one listing. He’s invisible. Either he had his name wiped from search engines or he’s done absolutley nothing anywhere ever, not even a newspaper column mentioning him. Very Odd.”

    Hmmmm., some info on Nejame is not difficult to find at all, if indeed the following link takes you to the man of topic. If so, then someone is extremely lacking in their search skills however they are very skillful at drawing uninformed conclusions, and around here, that’s not odd at all.

    Go to the following site and scroll down…you’ll find a nice write up on the man.


  4. John Smith says:

    Well Pam sorry to disappoint you but I am not running for a seat. I have to work for a living. As for Nejame I have not disrespected him, he just is not right for the job. AS FOR BUSCH yes he is Randy Busches husband and being supported by ART WOOSLEY which is bad news for the city. Evidently ART is spreading RUMORS that Marshall Shupe is me, and it is not me. Art Woosley is spreding all kinds odf rumors to get Busch in there and that is the last thing we need in this city. AND AS a SURPRISE to everyone other people DO KNOW whats going on in the city not just the people that speak at the meetings, AS FOR VATH AND SETTLES I GUESS THATS WHO YOU ARE WHINNING ABOUT AND YES THEY ARE ALSO ARTS PAWN. TELL ART WOOSLEY IF HE WANTS ME TO SHUT UP HE NEEDS TO LEAVE THE CITY ALONE, BUT AS LONG AS ART CONTINUES TO SPREAD LIES I WILL BE IN HIS BACK POCKET. I HAVE NO AFFILIATIONS WITH ANY OF THE RUNNING CANDIDATES AND I WILL JUST VOTE FOR MARSHALL AND KIM WHO ARE THE BEST FOR THE JOB. THATS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT. I DONT SEE YOUR LAST NAME ON HERE OR EVEN IF THAT IS YOUR NAME. BYE FOR NOW I AM WATCHING THE ART WOOSLEY BUNCH AND THEY ARE THE ONES THAT ARE UPSET WITH ME BECAUSE I AM PUTTING OUT THERE WHAT THEY ARE DOING. BYE BYE>


  5. F Jones says:

    Any one that was here years back with the Busch, Bates and Misch commission know what a turmoil they had this city in. Art Woosley was associated with this group and was behind the CCFB. This city does not deserve to go through that again with Settles, and Phil Busch in there, because Randy and Art would be pulling the strings. Any one person that has moved into this city since then has no clue the capabilities of Art Woosley and his way of spreading LIES to make that group look good. John Smith is not out of line when he says what he is saying, it is the truth. Any one new to town needs to check out what happened back then and obviously their agenda has not change as with their move on the city manager is a start.


  6. NortonSmitty says:

    Good call Pierre on the Arab red herring, and the fact that nothing comes up on the internet. The sad thin is, if this Arab guy gets elected, the slurs he’s getting now will be fondly remembered, ’cause all of us will say he’s just another fuckin’ politician.


  7. Roger says:

    YA’LL ARE A BUNCH OF PATHETIC LOSERS! bitch bitch bitch complain complain complain! get over it all ready and work for the good of the city! TOGETHER~~~~~haha, never happen…….Y? because YA’LL ARE A BUNCH OF PATHETIC LOSERS!!!!! i’m right you’re wrong blah blah blah! art woosley this, john smith that, nejame this marshall that (oops, i meant carney)(oops i meant busch) commissioners, city manager, fire, police. it’s 2011, HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! and it’s gonna be a good one!!!! yadayadayada………


  8. Rosemary Bates says:

    As a member of the Bates, Busch and Mish team it’s amazing to see that five years later the anger and hostility are alive and well in FB politics. Name calling, character slandering all aside has anyone addressed the issues facing the city? Mr. Woosley apparently has a hidden agenda, why not inform the readers at to what that agenda entails? What are the fiscal policies that the candidates represent? What are their proposals to balance the city budget? With Ron Vath leaving this will require a new guardian. Do the city residents realize that the majority of the budget comes from the residential tax base and only about 20% from the businesses? I am certain that one of the candidates could address these statistics more accurately. The never ending concerns of the business community versus the residents apparently continues to fuel the angry outbursts and hostile personal attacks. I agree with Mr. Tristam’s assessment of one’s moral character of those who hide behind screen names. Much to the dismay of many of the opinions represented here I was willing to take the time and energy, despite having a full time job, to personally face the hostile crowds to promote the residents of FB. As I drive across the bridge I can still enjoy the views of the Atlantic Ocean having been able to help preserve the 35 foot building height restrictions. The “horrific” team of Bates, Busch and Mish kept a balanced budget and preserved the integrity of FB. Perhaps since some readers are such adversaries regarding the leadership during that time frame he or she would be willing to discourse on what those “horrors” actually constituted? Personally it is offensive that persons who have never had the guts to run an election, serve the public, bear the disdain have the audacity to throw stones. There appears to be several weeks before the application deadlines why not put your money where your mouth is? Get out there yourselves and do the job before complaining about those who have tried?


  9. F Jones says:

    I also have a full time job. Art Woosley and his group of supporters such as yourself have that agenda,1. Get rid of the fire dept let the county have all the stuff that we have paid for, NO VOLUNTEERS will be at that station when they are over in the county taking care of the county as there is now and they do not have Volunteers other than out in the west part of the county where they will not put a paid dept. 2. Stop the growth of this little city. When there could be some growth over on the other side of the bridge to help with the tax base. There is only a few businesses in town sure, but this is a residential town so we are not going toget the great factories and big business. The city is currently picking up garbage and servicing an area that should be FB instead with your NO growth policy its Palm Coast that was smart enough to annex it and getting it serviced for FREE. So DO NOT tell me about The BUSCH BATES AND MISCH. I lived it with the turmoil and the hatefullness of your group.


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