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In Flagler Beach, a Clash of Authority Entangles The Manager, Fire Chief and Commissioners

| July 3, 2012

Flagler Beach Fire Chief Martin Roberts, with Commissioner Marshall Shupe, riding together during last year's July 4 parade. (© FlaglerLive)

Flagler Beach Fire Chief Martin Roberts, with Commissioner Marshall Shupe, riding together during last year’s July 4 parade. (© FlaglerLive)

Flagler Beach City Manager Bruce Campbell was livid. He’d just been publicly blindsided by his city commission and by Martin Roberts, his fire chief, who spoke to the commission about going to New York to look over a fire truck the city could potentially buy for $300,000.

Martin—who reports to Campbell, not to the commission—had had a conversations with commissioners Jane Mealy and Joy McGrew about the truck, circumventing, as Campbell saw it, his responsibility to discuss the matter with the manager first, not the commission. Martin made his proposal to the commission at the very end of a March 22 meeting, when McGrew brought up the matter and summoned him to the podium. Thirty minutes later, the commission voted to let Martin go on the trip and put a deposit of up to $500 on that truck, if it proved feasible.

The next day, Campbell had a meeting with Martin, dressed him down and put him on notice. “Consider this your final warning,” he told Martin, having had issues with him previously.

City Manager Bruce Campbell’s notes on a copy of the email Art Woosley sent him on the firefighters’ trip to South Dakota. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

“The problem was,” Campbell explained in a memo he drafted to Assistant City Manager Libby Kania the day after the fateful commission meeting, “the issue was never discussed with myself as City Manager prior to hearing it for the first time under Commission comments, which brings up 2 further points. First, staff should not approach the Commission without first gaining the City Manager’s thoughts and approval, and, second the subject of a possible purchase of a fire truck, being a huge financial purchase for our City, should be a regular agenda item and not handled as an informal issue as many Commission comment ‘mentions’ are considered to be. As such, I instructed Martin to never revisit this subject with such a ‘backdoor’ approach and to always allow proper vetting of such a large financial purchase as a fire truck.”

Campbell continued: “I ended the discussion reminding Martin that this type of behavior is unacceptable and that further demonstration of a ‘backdoor’ approach or not completely ‘above-the-table’ behavior would not be acceptable. I in fact told Martin that any further behavior such as this would result in more formal discipline in the future. ‘Consider this your
final warning,’ is how I ended my instructional comments with Martin.”

Martin, according to the Campbell memo, “did also say that he knows this was not the correct way to handle such a large purchase.”

Martin never went after the $300,000 truck, which sold to another department. But he went on other trips for other trucks.

On May 30, Martin requested vacation for the week of June 4 in an email to Campbell. “You got it!,” Campbell wrote back.

Martin never told Campbell what he was taking vacation for. He wasn’t required to. Except that it had to do with city business: he was going to South Dakota and Wisconsin, with Bissonette and Shane Wood (who later had to cancel), to look at another potential truck buy.

Campbell didn’t find out about the trip until June 24, when he heard from “a resident” that the trip, and possibly more than one trip, had taken place. Art Woosley, a retired firefighter in town, had emailed Campbell on June 24, telling him about the trip to South Dakota. Woosley also emailed Commissioner Steve Settle about the trips, raising questions.

Bruce Campbell (© FlaglerLive)

Martin’s job may now be on the line for what Campbell may see as another affront to his authority. Campbell has been investigating the trips, and may have prepared to discipline Roberts, and possibly fire him: the documents he’d gathered included all supporting city documents for disciplining an employee, up to dismissal. Meanwhile, Steve Settle, the city commissioner, placed a public record request for all documents related to the issue, and called a special meeting, originally for June 2, to explore the commission’s role in over sight involving such matters. The meeting was rescheduled to July 10 because it hadn’t been sufficiently advertised.

But Campbell’s job, too, may be on the line if he fires Roberts or disciplines him harshly, because city commissioners—who routinely muddy the administrative waters in Flagler Beach—are lining up on one side and the other of the controversy, with their role in that March 22 meeting playing a key part.

The commission had unanimously granted Martins’s request to go on a fact-finding trip and even put down a deposit (although, curiously, at no point did commissioners, Campbell or Martin raise the question of who would be footing the bill for the trip itself, and whether Martin would be traveling solo).

There is no question that the motion and the vote had to do with the trip to New York, to look at one particular truck. But it is far less clear to what extent Martin had the authority to go on trips the commission had not explicitly approved. Martin had, on three occasions, made it very clear that he wanted permission to go on just such trips, in case the trip to New York didn’t work out.


“If it’s not available to us, at least give us the chance to be looking for something that, if it does come along, we can come back and say, OK, we find this to be a good deal,” Martin said to commissioners at that March 22 meeting. “What I would like to do is look at this truck. If it comes back to us, we can buy it, we need to act on it pretty quick. If there’s something else out there, I would like to be able to just come back and say, look, we need to buy this truck, here it is. I’m not going to try to steer you wrong. I have a vested interest in this truck. If I buy it, it’s going to carry my name even long after I’m gone, so I want it to be a good deal for the city in every way. That’s where I stand tonight. I can’t buy the truck tonight. It’s not an agendaed item, but if we can get it and possibly come back and say, can we throw a $500 deposit on it or something like this, can I go look at it and tell whether it’s really that good a truck, that’s what I’m asking for tonight.”  Moments later, for a third time, Martin made clear that he wanted permission also to at least go looking for another truck,” because, Roberts said, “this is not going to be something we can do overnight. But I would like to at least take a look at it.”

Clearly, Martin was seeking authority to keep looking. But as often happens with the Flagler Beach commission, the discussion meandered, commissioners bickered at each other, brought up separate issues, and never quite filled all the gaps in their directives. They were already doing something the commission is not, by its own rules, allowed to do: give direct, non-policy orders to a department head, rather than channel those directives through the city manager.

Joy mcgrew flagler beach city commission

Joy McGrew. (© FlaglerLive)

That brings up the other dynamic in play, which also has nothing to do with the truck or with Martin, but with commissioners’ relationship with Campbell. His appointment was contentious. Mealy never endorsed it except nominally. McGrew resisted it until she gave in by means of compromise. Both commissioners stated clearly that they had conducted their own discussions with Roberts about the truck before that March 22 meeting, and were looking for movement on the matter. Marshall Shupe, another commissioner, is a volunteer in Martins’s department. The two rode together during last year’s July 4 parade. He would likely not take kindly to a harsh disciplining of Martin. (Shupe did not return a call.)

Campbell, for his part, sat stone silent for the 30 minutes of the truck discussion the moment McGrew brought it up, asking only at one point if commissioners wanted to place the discussion on an agenda for a future meeting. He never got a clear response.

“I know the chief had an opportunity about an engine that was out there on the circuit, so to speak. I don’t know if we have that opportunity still,” McGrew had said at the beginning of that discussion, revealing her talks with the chief and summoning him to the podium. Mealy said: “Chief are you done investigating that truck? The last I spoke with you, you still had some reservations about it.”

Settle objected to McGrew using her portion of the meeting to bring up the issue, outside of budget or agenda discussions. “It needs to be done in the context of larger scale rather than helter-skelter,” Settle said.


Audio: The Commission’s Complete March 22 Discussion With Chief Roberts on the Fire Truck (30 mn)
Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

“I don’t agree this is helter-skelter,” Mealy said. “We did agree at the last budget meeting that this truck was necessary.” She later noted, in a slight against Campbell, that not all department heads were present at the budget meetings, or given the chance to speak. “Martin came to the meeting, never had a chance to say anything, or was waiting out there thinking he would have the chance to talk to us.”

The city set aside $50,000 last year for an eventual new truck, on the understanding that it would add another $50,000 this year, and so on, until it had the means to buy a truck. But Martin says the truck in question, built in 1996, is on its last leg, needs $27,500 in repairs, and must be replaced. And both mealy and McGrew are ready to use reserves to buy a new truck if necessary. The city has two engines and a ladder truck in its fire department.

“What he’s asked us is to go look at a truck if it becomes available, period,” McGrew said, using words that Martin could easily interpret as authority to do precisely what he did: look around for the best deal.

Still, those were not the words in McGrew’s motion: “That we authorize the chief to be able to, upon receiving the information as to whether we’re in the running for that truck, to be able to, if we are, for him to go to the site, look at the truck, upon his judgment, either put down a deposit not to exceed $500, and then to come back to us with that at the next scheduled meeting.” McGrew was referring to the New York truck, and making it just as clear that she (and the commission) wanted Martin to report back his findings after the trip, “and basically present to us what he has found, and what his suggestions are.”

Martin took a trip in early June but did not appear before the commission subsequently.

That March 22 meeting disbanded angrily when Settle again raised the issue of when commissioners may discuss certain things. The July 10 meeting is not likely to be smoother. It’s “not so much to see if anyone was doing unethical or illegal activities,” Settle said in an interview, “it’s to identify what in our process is failing, how can they think they can go around the city manager and think it’s OK.”

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46 Responses for “In Flagler Beach, a Clash of Authority Entangles The Manager, Fire Chief and Commissioners”

  1. Sad Times says:

    My goodness, folks….. this is not kindergarden!!! Why on earth cannot our “figures of authority” act like adults…. with some common sense!!

    It is action like this… that causes citizens to say “to heck with voting” ….”to heck with getting involved”…if I have to put up with childish behavior!!

    • Straightshooter says:

      Someone recently referred to Flagler Beach as a little cow-town. So, how come there are so many problems that surface in such a little place that should be peaceful and tranquil where folks can enjoy their vacations, or retirement etc?

      On occasion I have the opportunity to visit a city of 160,000 population and while they have some problems, the problems do not have the intensity nor the frequency of what we experience in Flagler Beach. There is an old saying that we apply to the Washington Administration that could easily suite this micro City of Flagler Beach which is, that inexperience and disorganization flows downhill and has the potential to contaminate anything in its path.

      It is noteworthy that a sitting Commissioner has not returned a phone call to a local newspaper. It is also of concern that this Commissioner is an active member of the Flagler Beach Fire Dep’t., which could have immense effect on certain decisions and it doesn’t matter if the person would recuse themselves as the need arises. Also, how is it that the Mayor is a factor in a retail business? What kind of a cockamamie town do we live in that seems to be as loose as goose where politics and legislation is concerned? We frequently see this type of action where Leftist and Liberalism shows through.

      As to the Fire Truck that may be purchased, you can be certain of one thing which is that anyone or any company that would accept a $500 deposit on a major purchase really can’t wait to get rid of the product.

  2. Flagler Citizen says:

    I’m sorry…who does Bruce Campbell answer to? Is it the City Commissioners or Art Woosley?

  3. NortonSmitty says:

    …and still the weaver Ply’s his Loom
    Who’s warp and woof is wretched Man
    and weaves his mysterious Dark Design
    so Dark we doubt it owns a plan…

    • Straightshooter says:

      Wonder how many folks know what warp and woof yarns are and how they are used to make the fabric?

      Herman Melville knows.

  4. FB Insider says:

    Why is the city manager using personal email for city business? What else is he hiding? Funny how Steve Settles documents aren’t fully able to be read, their cut off and again with personal email. One would also question how much has actually been made public since Mr. Settle has a list from Art of “10 questions” but only the first 6 are listed, leaving out the end and whatever else Art was instructing him to do. Nice tactic Mr. Settle and Mr. Campbell, use your personal email to avoid public information request. Why cant you use your city email for the public to see?! I smell deception!!!

  5. DILLIGAF says:

    NOW WE SEE WHO IS PULLING THE STRINGS!!!!!

  6. jespo says:

    I say we let them duke it out on the beach yelling ‘fire truck’ as loud and fast as they can….whatta bunch of whiners.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Yea, it’s just silly. Know what would be even sillier? Making us all pay $300,000.00 for a pretty red fire truck able to extinguish fires in a ten story building in a town we all take pride in only allowing one building taller than two stories. That’s just hilarious! As long as we just laugh at it and never have to pay a dime for the grins.

  7. Anonymous says:

    After reviewing all of the documents fully, it is apparent to me that the actions that need to be looked into are those of Bruce Campbell and Steve Settles, not Martin Roberts and to flagler citizen too, Marshall Shupe and Jane Mealy answer to the voters of Flagler Beach,

  8. flagler citizen too says:

    it is sad. don’t you poor boys at the fire dept get it??? no one (of authority) is trying to eliminate you. the city mgr. is really doing a great job for the CITY.

  9. flagler citizen too says:

    let me continue. … do you need a fire truck right this very minute? $50,000 allocated last year, another $50,000 this year. does that sound like a guy trying to eliminate a whole dept when he has a whole city to run???? times are still pretty tough out there and a budget is also part of his job. please look at the whole picture! everyone is blowing this out of proportion. this isn’t about the fire dept. this isn’t even about the fire truck…… THIS is about respect for the position. the city mgr has done nothing wrong. yet so many want to throw him under the bus for doing his job. did chief martin do anything wrong? maybe not directly or even blatantly. he is entitled to a very much earned vacation. however, he could have….should have informed the city mgr. of his intentions……and i believe the chief probably wishes now that he had.

  10. John Smith says:

    Bruce Campbell knew of the used truck being looked at when first being discussed for 2weeks before it was brought before the commission and refused to proceed with it now he says he didn,t know anything how interesting. At the meeting during several breaks he talked to the chief and was overheard saying that Joy Mcgrew was going to bring it up on her final speaking time which would leave him out of it and innocent how interesting. Joy did bring it up and stuck her neck out there for the safety of the city residents of which all Settles was concerned with was the money not the residents safety of living a life in Flagler Beach. Campbell had the file in front of him all night that chief had made up for him oh wait a minute he does not know about it but it was there.
    If anything needs to be done it is that Settles and Campbell realize they are NOT Art Woosley,s whipping boys just do there jobs and stop letting Woosley upset everyone in the city to have them against the employees that are dedicated one and all to the city. Ron Vath did everything in is ability to get rid of the Fire Chief 2 yrs ago but I know talking to Bernie Murphy personally that info and Bernie stuck by the Chief which upset Vath and his followers Art, Steve, Campbell etc. This is a personal vendetta against the Chief by these individuals and I am tired of it. If I need to call a spade a spade I will and if it has to be in a court room I will also these people DO NOT INTIMIDATE ME IN THE SLIGHTEST.
    REMEMBER FIRE DEPT SUPPORTERS LETS BE AT THE MEETING SHOWING OUR SUPPORT FOR OUR CHIEF AND THE FIRE DEPT. JULY 10 AT 5:30 Please be there they need your help.

  11. Captain Steve Wood says:

    As a 20 yr member of the Flagler Beach Fire Dept. I have seen a lot of drama and every year it when it comes to the budget which has not changed much except when a new truck is introduced to it there is drama. There is always hard feelings about it but in the end it gets worked out and we go on with our life at the fire house. Nothing was done by the Chief that deserves being terminated, and if he needs a scolding then so be it and let us move on with our chief and just let us take care of Flagler Beach we do not need the drama until next budget time. All the name calling is not warranted in this but tensions are high and everyone has just about reached there limit. We have a long day on the 4th and that will be stress enough.Thank you .

  12. willy says:

    While the chief should have known the correct way to go about the purchase of a Fire Apparatus, I feel they need to leave the Chief alone.

    The guy went out of town on his own time on behalf of the City. It was also at NO cost to taxpayers.

    He should have been paid for the research work performed because it is on the City’s behalf.

    I can tell you in larger Department’s any and all work performed for the Department is on the clock. period.

  13. question says:

    May be just confused…but didn’t we just try to make this mole hill a mountain here:
    23 Responses for “Flagler Beach Fire Department Embroiled in Controversy Over Unauthorized Trips”
    Emergency response is hard enough, dangerous enough…like Sísyphos trying to roll an immense boulder up a hill… without all this?

    If we really would like to help the fire dept…make sure – t o d a y- that all your smoke detectors have working batteries.

    Have a Happy & Safe 4th :)

  14. elaygee says:

    Fire Roberts now for insubordination before he does something even more egregious and ends up costing them a lot of money in law suits and attorneys

  15. retiredatthebeach45 says:

    This entire story line is a travesty. If what we are reading in an accurate account of events, then there are some serious points that need to be called into question. It’s not about the possible wrongdoing of one man or one department; it’s something much greater than that.

    First, if the city manager was having an investigation conducted, why is an open investigation being publicized? Or if the investigation has been completed, what was the result? If any wrongdoing was determined, he should take the appropriate action – discipline, sanction, termination, whatever. Particularly if as the city manager has stated a last chance warning to this employee had been previously issued.

    But who really conducted this investigation? The FDLE? The Commission on Ethics? The Sheriff’s Office or Police Department? Or the Clown Court of Campbell, Settle, and Woosley?

    Secondly, is the city manager so out of touch that a department head can be out of the office for three days and he’s “blindsided” by that? Really? While I don’t advocate micromanaging, it would seem to me a department head as visible as a fire chief driving around in a clearly marked vehicle would be noticeable – or not!

    Third, any disciplinary action of an employee should be immediately dealt with and not played out in the press, before an elected body who by code “shall not interfere”, and certainly not in a public meeting. When a previous finance director, police chief and even water department employee were terminated, did the court of public opinion have the chance to weigh in prior to that action or did the city manager simply take care of his business as he deemed appropriate?

    It seems to me this city manager is after two things. The very public embarrassment of an employee who was told by the Commission authorization for a trip of that kind was not required; and the blessing of the elected officials to do the job he was hired to do. The city manager’s comments seem to be an attempt to bolster his standing and flex his political muscle when in fact; a city manager should be totally, completely and wholly non-political. Apparently he cannot make the tough decisions on his own. Or would admitting to his cronies and to himself that the entire incident was much ado about nothing make him appear even weaker than he’s already revealed himself to be?

    As I see it the only action required of the Commission at this point is a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in Mr. Campbell. Come on people, wake up and grow a set!

  16. From the Outside says:

    Armchair quarterbacks: Let the City Manager do his job! Enough speculation.

  17. Silly Me says:

    I disagree with all of you that think it is okay for a employee to go straight to the City Commissioners. Why then would you even hire a City Manager. The City’s charter clearly states that the City Commission cannot give direction to members of the staff except through the Manager. The City Commission is to act as a body not individually. The City Commission also has no right to interfere with disciplinary actions. This is what the CIty of Flagler Beach citizens voted for when the City Charter was passed. The City is a City Manger form of government. Those of you that think this type of interference from the Commission is okay, need to vote to change the City Charter. Until then, your elected officials have an obligation to uphold it. I say the City Manager had every right to be upset and I also thinks this whole action stinks. The City has to purchase their vehicles in the sunshine. That is another thing that upsets me, how do you bring this action up at a meeting when it clearly was not on the agenda. Totally against the sunshine. Wake up.

  18. THE VOICE OF REASON says:

    I moved back here three years ago to retire because I love this little town. I love the atmosphere; I love the people and I love the fireworks out over the ocean that are due to go off in a few hours.

    But I’m getting tired of the City Commission being such an embarrassment and legislating away (or threatening to) the very things we enjoy as residents of Flagler Beach.

    I’ve found a beachfront condo in Fort Walton for a little less than I pay here a month, and a place in the foothills outside Reno for a LOT less. Keep this kind of thing up and I’ll have to pull the trigger.

    I’ll be sad to leave, but it’s becoming less and less what I came here for.

  19. FlaglerLive says:

    We received the following email from Art Woosley this afternoon:

    I am very disappointed in the fact that your article addresses me as a “retired firefighter in town”, while I do not expect my entire 35 year career serving with both police and fire /rescue to be in your article.

    It would have been a courtesy to mention that the majority of that time was with the Miami Dade Fire Rescue, and that I achieved the rank of Chief Fire Officer.

    Several of my long time friends in Flagler Beach suggested I ask Flaglerlive to print a correction , as it states “No Bull, No Fluff, No Smudges “one even stated that he, meaning you wrote firefighter intentionally so as to diminish my credibility, I sincerely hope this was not the case.

    In the future, I will be less likely to talk with you , feeling that the readers may be somewhat mislead , as in this case intentional or not.

    I can however assure you that in the vast majority of cases any chief fire officer worth his salt that came up through the ranks, one that served in a large metropolitan area for so many years. Does in fact have much more knowledge and experience regarding both firefighting and APPARATUS on the fire scene, than the average firefighter.

    Thank you, and a happy fourth to both you and your family.

    Arthur Woosley

    ( Retired Fire Chief – Miami Dade Fire Rescue )

    Art,

    There never was any intention to diminish you or your rank, and having known me as long as you have, and knowing the extent we’ve gone to ensure that you weren’t misrepresented here (as some people have attempted to misrepresent you) I would have imagined you’d never have stooped to the sort of ridiculous suggestions your long-time friends are making about presumed motives behind the way you were identified.

    You’re referred to as a retired firefighter for two reasons: first, in a 2,000-word article about the fire chief, the city manager, the city commission and Thor knows how many other issues, your distinguished past through the ranks of Miami-Dade’s fire rescue and policing ranks is not relevant. Brevity and clarity are. I realize that some people love their titles. They’re the only ones who do. (And I’ve found that the more they do, the less worthy of their titles they are.) Second, I used the term “firefighter” with the highest regard for the profession, seeing no qualitative difference between a firefighter or a fire chief. Martin Roberts, Don Petito and Mike Beadle aren’t better men than their rank and file, nor are they necessarily more knowledgeable. They’re merely better paid. It’s great that they might know more about ladder bracket hardware, flex pipes and how to check boxes on an evaluation form. They’re still firefighters (or one would hope that they still consider themselves primarily as firefighters). I never knew that there was a way to diminish an individual’s valor by referring to him as a firefighter. You’re showing me that there is, particularly with that rather demeaning reference to “the average firefighter.” I’m not going down that route, though I’ll gladly comply with your wishes and never refer to you as a firefighter again.

    –Pierre Tristam (reporter)

  20. Ron Vath says:

    As I have opined in a previous statement, please allow our City manager to unravel the current issue without the needless spin going forward. All the facts are documented in the Commission meeting minutes and on tape. For those of you that still believe I am biased against the F.D., remember, over the years,
    -I was a firefighter (in N.J. ) for 25 years
    -I introduced the resolution to offer pension benefits to volunteers
    -I introduced the resolution to purchase a new brush truck
    - I introduced the motion to purchase new turn out gear for those that were worn out and in tatters.
    -I introduced the resolution to install a mechanically assisted ladder lift for safety purposes.
    - I served as the City Commission safety contact to the F.D. during the 10 years of my service.
    So, don’t believe the spin that I am anti Firefighter.
    I will reiterate, I implore the Commissioners to allow the City manager to unravel this issue. Do not take sides, do not support either argument. Let the record speak for itself in the context of the City Charter.

    • John Smith says:

      Well RON yes you did. Lets see you went for a ride in the old red Chevy brush truck that was a donation from the Forest service and worn out then and on your ride you were able to realize just how in danger your Firefighters were by using it and maybe how LIABLE the city would have been if something would have happened to the public $$$$$$$$$ so yes you did. Turnout gear your cost you were allowing was $250 come on a set of gear is $1500 on up per set so what were you gonna by some Carhart overalls so maybe 25 years ago that may be today is 2012.

      Well Art anyone can write a story to the the paper about what a hero they themselves are. No one cares and this story has nothing to do with your fire service. That IF TRUE was 40years ago and things have change in the fire service Which you yourself may not KNOW of such as training and the biggest change in all of this time is the expense to have a fire truck and any equipment that is on it that is required by NFPA which cost money.

  21. Umm says:

    Art Woosley was the chief of DISPATCH for Miami-Dade. That man was never in the field, on the truck, and never ran into a fire.

    Art, perhaps you should look in the mirror before you start casting stones at the men who protect the city you reside in.

  22. ARTHUR WOOSLEY says:

    Pierre, I felt that you questioned my credentials so I simply wanted to set the record straight.

    Also, if you read my e-mail over, you will clearly see that I never requested any correction. Regarding the F.F. comment, be assured I would never diminish the name firefighter, as I consider myself one, and all others as my brothers and sisters, the people I lived with for thirty years.

    Now let’s get down to the real root of this particular unsavory situation, that root lies in one thing and one thing only, and that is the realization that two of our commissioners, appear to be flagrantly meddling with and or micro-managing at least one city department.

    Please be reasonable and ask yourself, why is it that Commissioner Mealy, and Commissioner Shupe who also works at the Fire Dept. had an opportunity to view the manufacturers videos of prospective fire trucks while none of the other officials apparently did.

    Did they do this at the fire station together or alone, was anyone else present , what else transpired there in regards to these unauthorized out of state trips etc ?

    These are questions that both of these commissioners need to answer at the next meeting, ( what did they know about these trips, and when did they know it ? )

    Keep in mind, somebody else may very well be responsible for this end run taken by the Chief Roberts.
    A run which unfortunately caught both the mayor, city manager and the other city commissioners completely unaware.

    What happened here was grossly unfair to our city, our employees, and most of all the tax paying residents.

    Let’s all hope that calm heads are present, and that the truth prevails for the sake of our beautiful city.

  23. FB Insider says:

    Well said Pierre. Art Woosely has shown the “average firefighter” apparently has limited knowledge of the apparatus on which they work. This is funny to me, since as “Ummm” stated, he hasn’t worked on one.

    Let me also set another record straight for everyone on here: Art Woosley was NEVER the “Fire Chief” of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. If you don’t believe me, call them, they’ll tell you. The big question here now lies: credibility. Art has thrown this title around like it held weight and now it is coming to light it does not. Art . . . if you have suggestions on anything to do with public safety, I would suggest you refer it to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, as they handle DISPATCH issues.

  24. Janute says:

    Why is it that those that are in an organization that must function on the principle of “Chain of Command” are the ones less apt to follow it when they are at the top? The question here isn’t firetrucks, vacations or trips. The question here is why isn’t anyone following the proper procedures established by the form of your government? Everyone is answerable to someone and all public officials to the taxpayer. If you all don’t respect the person at least respect the position of each other. Clearly the two commissioners should have deferred the matter to the manager rather than overstepping their position and misusing their office. They should be ashamed at placing their manager in such a position to undermine his authority whether they like him or not. He is there to run the day to day operations. Not to be your political pawn. And a Fire Chief who doesn’t follow a chain of command and gets involved with the politicians is going to get burned by them. There is a reason for proper procedure in purchasing capital items such as a firetruck: it is to get the best price for the best equipment possible for the publics welfare without any personal interest. Everyone should be playing as a team for the benefit of the public. Not trying to out maneuver each other. Get it together Flagler Beach. You’re an embarrassment to your residents.

    • Jackie Mulligan says:

      Thank You Janute,

      I think your have said it all, they are all acting like children.

      The commissioners have a total disregard for their position in the community, intentionally undermining the system set forth by our voted Charter.
      If they have something to say put it on as an agenda item, we do have meetings at least twice a month.
      We have rules for purchasing, not just running helter skelter all over the United States looking at trucks and being romanced by vendors.
      They sound like children, who can’t wait for Christmas.
      Is this the same fire chief that came in the back door to get a new “building “because the old one had mold?? When after checking all it had was a leaking roof that no one bothered to tell their manager about??? This situation with the truck sound an awful lot like the roof fiasco.
      We are a manager form of government and we should be working in the sunshine, that means NO BACK DOOR DEALS!
      I’m still waiting for a reasonable justification for the last Aerial purchase. Maybe someone should look at the annual upkeep of that unit. Has anyone ever separated the fire calls from the emergency calls, or do we just keep buying things without justification, based on politics only.
      I often wonder if the commissioners in question take care of their money the same way they handle the taxpayer’s money? I think not!
      Thank you and this will be my :last comment on this situation!
      Jackie Mulligan

  25. FB Insider says:

    Art,

    I still am at a loss for where your coming up with it was “grossly unfair to our city, our employees, and most of all the tax paying residents.” These men took their own time, and NOTIFIED THE CITY MANAGER of this. If you took some time to do some research, it is all there in e-mails. The fire chief notified the city manager and he replied with “You got it!”. Its in black and white. It is no secret. If it was such a secret, why did the fire chief and other members correspond over city email, knowing it would be public record? If I’m not mistaken Mr. Woosley, you “backdoored” the city and the residents by starting what is turning out to be nothing more than a witch hunt, by e-mailing a CITY COMMISSIONER and the CITY MANAGER on their PERSONAL E-MAILS. What else is being hidden and not disclosed? Oh, thats right, because its not a CITY E-MAIL we can’t go see can we? There is no manipulation, deceipt and/or unethical behavior here other than on the part of YOURSELF, MR. CAMPBELL and MR. SETTLES.

  26. Ralph Belcher says:

    Long story short, there seems to be a case of sloppy protocol, perhaps in part due to familiar relationships here. We can right the ship by being a bit more formal in conducting the city’s business.

  27. DILLIGAF says:

    IF YOU USE YOUR PERSONAL COMPUTER FOR GOVERNMENT BUSINESS IT CAN BE SEIZED AND GONE THROUGH IF THEIR WAS EVER A INVESTIGATION OF WRONG DOING .

  28. NortonSmitty says:

    Croatians!

  29. charlene mathis says:

    Kim – I told you so!

  30. ARTHUR WOOSLEY says:

    Suprisingly I was on ENGINE 9 out in the middle of the everglades late at night, arriving as the first unit on the scene with just two other guys, A scene that later turned out to be the single largest domestic air crash at that time carrying 176 passengers and crew, and they later made a movie about it.

    FRANK FERNANDEZ
    The Daytona Beach News-Journal

    FLAGLER BEACH — It was just after Christmas 36
    years ago when Flagler Beach resident Arthur
    Woosley, then a firefighter in Miami-Dade County,
    got a call to go to the Everglades and look for a missing
    airliner.
    Woosley, now 69, and two other firefighters on
    Engine 9 headed out to search for an Eastern Airlines
    jet with 176 people on board that had vanished from
    radar just before midnight on Dec. 29, 1972. The
    firefighters arrived at Levee 67 overlooking the Everglades,
    and Woosley said in a recent interview that
    all they could see was the distant light of an airboat.
    Then they scanned the area with the firetruck’s
    hand-operated spotlight.
    “We could see something in the distance, almost
    like it was a white sheet out there; later found out it
    was either the cockpit or the tail section, which
    seemed to be separated by about half a mile.”
    Woosley was about to get real busy in the biggest
    airline crash-related call of his nearly 30 years with
    Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue. Ninety-nine people
    died in the crash, according to the National Transportation
    Safety Board. Two died of their injuries
    later. Seventy-five survived.
    Woosley’s firefighting career began after he moved
    to South Florida from New York City, where he had
    been a police officer. He decided to switch and
    become a firefighter.
    “It’s a much more liked profession,” Woosley said.
    “Policemen, and believe me my daughter is a police
    officer in Chicago so I have nothing against police
    officers, but I realize that being a firefighter everybody
    liked you when you came, instead of giving
    them a ticket or locking them up or breaking up
    their family fights.”
    Woosley was a battalion chief by the time he
    retired in 1998 from the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
    He and his wife, Marion, have been living in Flagler Beach
    for 10 years. He said they like the “Old Florida”
    charm of the seaside community.
    Woosley was a founding member and chairman of Concerned
    Citizens of Flagler Beach, a now non-existent community
    group which in 2001 successfully opposed a
    westward annexation of a 2,050-acre planned residential
    community. Most recently, Woosley was
    among residents who unsuccessfully opposed an
    ordinance regulating short-term rentals in the city.
    Woosley and others had argued that short-term
    rentals should not be allowed outside permitted
    rental zones.
    In December 1972, Woosley had been with Miami-
    Dade Fire Rescue only a few years when he found
    himself standing on a levee looking out over the
    darkness and devastation of Flight 401.
    “You have to imagine the conditions out there,”
    Woosley said. “I remember it was a very starlit night,
    clear but not real bright,” he said.

    How could this be ??? Sorry to say to everyone that liked the comment above, but this was just one alarm of thousands, after being on Engines / Ladders / Rescues for at least 20 years ?

  31. FB Insider says:

    How could it be? It is the fact that YOU told a reporter a story and it was published. I think it’s time the public does some soul searching after the heart of this WHOLE THING: ART WOOSELY. Art has been stirrimg this pot since the beginning and directing the city manager AND commissioner Settles on what to do.

  32. Straightshooter says:

    So, again I repeat, how does a miniscule little community like Flagler Beach end up with so many problems? No leadership is a possible answer. What happens at the top flows down – good and bad.

    One thing is obvious, the City is out of control – a ship with a broken rudder. It is time now for someone in City Legislature to take the helm, adjust the sails, and put out the announcement that this juvenile banter has to stop. The Liberals and leftists have the mantra to attack whenever and whoever should happen to disagree with their position. So much for free speech!

    Our Country and the world economy must solve far greater problems while certain individuals in Flagler Beach act like mental midgets. This beachtown is a lovely little community in which to live, and it is a moot question as to whether it can sustain the attacks by those who have a personal vested interest that is at odds with the best interests of the residents. Wake up, before it is too late.

  33. Dudley Doright says:

    Ya gotta love Flagler Beach politics. It is better than reality TV! I’ve been watching this comedy since 1990 and never once have I been disappointed with the display of total stupidy. The names of the players may change but, arguments and mole hill building keep on going. Attend a Commission meeting and you’ll see for yourself. Best free show in the County.

  34. flagler citizen too says:

    way too many of these comments are opinion…..not fact. here’s a fact…..EVERYONE makes mistakes. most people learn from them. i was told once that “it’s” only wrong if you get caught. i have also been told, in so many words, “mess” with me once, shame on you. “mess” with me twice, shame on me. and if there’s a third time……well, suffer the consequences. everyone can lash out calling names, making threats, reliving the past and puffin’ up the chest. guess what, that’s no solution. might make ya feel better but it doesn’t solve the problem at hand. our commission makes policy, our city manager sees that it is enforced. sounds pretty simple if EVERYONE would follow the rules! if not, suffer the consequences. really sad thing is….none of this needed to happen.

  35. curious says:

    Ron Vath, set the facts right. The Fire alarm was purchased with money from the COPS grant at no cost to Flagler Beach citizens. Second, this is what happens when one Commissioner tries to be the good guy and votes an inept person into office. Bruce Campbell is showing his inability to understand how government works and trying to push his way through. I sure hope Joy can live with herself. Get rid of him before he does worse.

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