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Bruce Campbell to Remain Flagler Beach’s Manager Until At Least Early Summer

| January 27, 2011

He's still the man: Bruce Campbell, in the middle, during a break of the Flagler Beach City Commission Thursday. Commissioner Joy McGrew, the swing vote that finally elevated Campbell, is to the left, Commission Chairman John Feind, not a Campbell supporter, to the right. (FlaglerLive)

Bruce Campbell will be Flagler Beach’s acting manager at least through the middle of the year. The city commission Thursday evening, with the kind of decisive inaction it’s famous for, turned back an attempt by Commissioner Jane Mealy to stick by the commission’s pledge late last year to bring the manager matter back to the fore in January.

Two commission members, Ron Vath and Joy McGrew, are not running again in the March election. The commission, including Mealy, agrees that it should wait until the new commission is seated before picking a permanent manager. Mealy was merely suggesting that this commission save the next one time and start the application process, so that by March the next commission has something to work with—and at least two months of time-wasting saved.

But it’s less a question of timing than politics. Two members of the commission—Vath and Steve Settle—want to stick with Campbell regardless. They’re hoping that the March election will give them the four-vote majority to hire him. That may prove difficult. Mealy isn’t likely to change her vote in opposition to Campbell, and Commission Chairman has voted previously against Campbell. It would take both new members of the commission and Feind to throw their support to Campbell to seal a vote in his favor.

After Mealy made her proposal Thursday evening, commissioners and the mayor were left to retreading old ground. Every statement in Campbell’s favor drew applause from what by then was a sparse crowd.

“We have six weeks to see two new commissioners,” Feind said. “I would prefer to wait until they come aboard and then discuss this item and see where they want to go. It’s a little unfair to people to make a decision like this at this time, and they’re not going to have any input and they’re going to have to live with it. I know we’re famous for letting a lot of time pass without reaching decisions but six weeks isn’t a lot of time to wait.”

Jane Mealy (FlaglerLive)

Baker, reading from a prepared text (as she often does), reminded commissioners that they’d been in no hurry to replace their last interim manager—Bernie Murphy—who was on the job four years. Manager-hunting would cost money and jar the immediate managerial agenda: budget season is ahead, Baker said. More uncertainty at the top, the mayor said, “puts turmoil on the city and the staff and makes us look unstable. Frankly I’m embarrassed to take a look at our history of hiring city managers, and I have. The city of Flagler beach deserves better.”

Vath also came prepared—not with a statement, but with a copy of the petition bearing 485 signatures in support of keeping Campbell. It’s the petition that circulated last year and proved convincing enough for McGrew to switch her vote and give Campbell the job, at least temporarily, even though his lack of managerial experience in government (as opposed to the private sector, where he’s mostly worked) made her uneasy.   “He’s doing a wonderful job,” Vath says. “We should continue on as is.”

The city is sending Campbell to Washington, D.C., next month to meet with U.S. Rep. John Mica, who represents Flagler in the House of Representatives, and possibly the state’s two senators, along with the city’s lobbyist.

Throughout the 10-minute discussion, Campbell sat at his now-usual spot, next to the city attorney, looking more uncomfortable than he had all evening. He didn’t speak or take notes, but eagerly resumed doing both when the commission moved on to its remaining issues.

Campbell had no reason to be uncomfortable when he was again the matter of discussion later in the meeting, when the commission agreed to raise his pay in February. He is currently making $11.13 an hour. That’s his salary as a building maintenance worker, his previous job with the city. He’ll be paid $43.27 an hour come February, based on a $90,000 a year salary. That’s the amount budgeted by the city for its manager this year. “I just want to make sure nobody questions Mr. Campbell’s paycheck when he gets paid the new amount,” Drew Smith, the attorney, said.

The non-decision on Thursday effectively means that should the new commission take on the manager’s matter even in March, it’s not likely to have a batch of resumes to whittle until two months later. Judging from the commission’s previous exercise, it would be another two months before the interview are through. By then the commission will be thick into budget season. Making a change then is not likely. Campbell may well ride out the summer until at least September. A likelier outcome is an immediate decision by the commission in march to put an end to the uncertainty, with Feind providing the swing vote then, for the sake of what Feind prizes greatly–consensus.

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8 Responses for “Bruce Campbell to Remain Flagler Beach’s Manager Until At Least Early Summer”

  1. John Smith says:

    Well here is the group again upset because they did not get to the podium and talk the commission into a comma after Fiend said NO action will be taken. Art did his usual cat calls in the back as is his expertise in being in the back ground and being innocent on looker. So they still get their way but are not happy about it since they could not intimidate the commission one more time.

  2. Rob Smith says:

    Bruce, by all accounts is doing a good job. Why start an expensive and unneeded search all over again? This is a very small town with a small town government. Stop acting like Plam Coast. Do what the people want. We as a whole are tired of the spending of tens of thousands of our tax money on “searches and studies and other useless and non-productive activities. Lets all get along.

  3. lawabidingcitizen says:

    This commission is hopelessly amateurish and apparently that follows to the city attorney as well. Campbell has been appointed acting city manager, a professional executive position, and should be paid as such. Suggesting that he’s paid an hourly wage is not only demeaning to him, it’s an insult to our town.

    I don’t hold out too much hope that any of the four running for office will bring the qualities our little city desperately needs to the job. We need independent fiscally knowledgeable people to get hold of city hall, get rid of the hangers on and restore dignity and competence to Flagler Beach currently the laughingstock of the county.

  4. What? says:

    How did the salary go from $70K a year for the new City Manager that was advertised last year to $90K for Campbell? This is nothing against Mr. Campbell, but did Cindy get paid the $43 and hour? How did this position get a raise of $20K extra? We are supposed to be having an economic hardship right now. At least the citizens of flagler beach are anyway!! Am I the only one that noticed the increase?

  5. What? says:

    Hey John, I think you’re missing something here, they are sliding Bruce in the back door and giving him a 20K raise.

  6. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Who’s Cindy?

  7. John Smith says:

    I am not missing anything. I know how it happened and that is thanks to the Art Woosley and his merry group of bullies that like to intimidate the commission into decisions that will soot them. Last night was evidence enough when it was decided not to do anything towards Bruce and they could not speak about it at the infamous PODEUM so they whooooted and whined about it ( go figure). Like the 465 names on their petition they are as phoney as Vath.

    It is public information on what his pay is, all you have to do is go to city hall and they have to show you. The job was offered at 70 to 90 depending on experience. With NO experience he should be around the 70 mark unless Art got him a pay raise.

  8. What? says:

    Correction instead of Cindy the name is Caryn Miller sorry about stating the wrong name.

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