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School Board Members Blister “Subleasing” of FPC Campus to Out-of-Town Car Dealer, Exposing Problems

| September 8, 2016

car sale fpc

Picture cars and boats for sale everywhere on FPC’s campus: that’ll be the scene this weekend in a boat and car sale some school board members are not happy with. (© FlaglerLive)

The Flagler County School Board is now in the boat and car sale business, and the campus of Flagler Palm Coast High School is its dealership, competing directly with Palm Coast’s dealerships along State Road 100.


At least that’s what it will look like Saturday and Sunday, when Ritchey Auto, the big car dealer from Volusia County, will invade FPC’s campus with over 250 boats and car models in what it unapologetically calls a “Wheels and Keels Car and Boat Sale!” in radio and print advertising, broadcast locally especially on WNZF’s radio stations, as WNZF is promoting the sale.

The school board did not approve that kind of use of FPC’s campus. With the exception of one school board member—Andy Dance—the board was not aware that the campus was being turned over to an out-of-county mega car dealer for the weekend. Nor, it appears, would the board have approved that arrangement had it known, though because of the vagueness of a policy addressing the use of school properties, there was nothing illegal or improper about the way the FPC was turned over to the event, even though at least two school board members consider it improper.

Neither FPC nor the school board will be getting a dime’s rent or a fee for the dealership’s use of the grounds, even though by school board policy the use of school facilities by outside organizations requires a “Use of Facilities” agreement, and such uses typically entail the payment of fees. In this case, FPC’s campus will be used for 18 hours on Saturday and Sunday. The normal rate of $205 an hour, for a total of $3,800. But there will be no such payment.

Instead, 20 percent of the advertising price Daytona Beach’s Ritchey Auto is paying WNZF to promote the event will be donated to the school district’s Future Problem Solvers program, a donation that amounts to at least $5,000, WNZF and Flagler Broadcasting General Manager David Ayres said.

That’s the other problem of this weekend’s car sale, as two school board members see it: the arrangement favors one school district organization above all others, unfairly in their view, and again, not only without garnering school board approval, but with one school board member—Dance—working on the arrangements unilaterally with the school administration and WNZF, without bringing that arrangement to the school board’s attention.

Championing the Problem Solvers

Dance has been a tireless champion of the Future Problem Solvers program, devising various fund-raising operations such as his lawn-raids of pink flamingos and more direct fund-raising with local businesses. He’s been looking for a more solid, yearly recurring fund-raising system or permanent endowment to underwrite the program, which involves a handful of students at several schools but has been successful enough in recent years to send dozens of students to state and international competitions, each time netting the students mounds of prizes and recognition.


No one disputes the validity of the district’s problem solvers program, but a fund-raiser on their behalf exposes many policy flaws.
 


Until now, however, most steps involving money and the problem solvers, including needed fund-raising totals, have included an appearance on the school board’s agenda for discussion and approval, while less formal developments and successes of the programs have been eagerly discussed by Dance.

The arrangement between WNZF, Ritchey Auto, FPC Principal Dusty Sims, Superintendent Jacob Oliva and Dance has been in the works for months, according to Ayers, and the agreement itself was signed on Aug. 19. But Board Chairman Colleen Conklin and fellow-board member Janet McDonald learned of it only in the last week of August, when local car dealer Bob Gibbs of Tom Gibbs Chevrolet wrote Conklin an email that spoke of his concern that an out-of-county car dealer was taking over a local school campus, and that the school itself would “allow an out of town business to set up shop without the infrastructure commitment that we also participate in.”

Gibbs continued, summing up the issue that caught the attention of school board members and the Chamber of Commerce: “I believe in free enterprise and would encourage one of these businesses to set up permanent shop in our community, but with the current policy they really don’t need to invest the millions needed, only the cost of hiring one maintenance person for a day. Let’s make the playing field the same for all. Let’s make our community and schools even better!”

(Local businesses are typically troubled by traveling businesses that set up temporary shop, allowing them to bypass the local cost of doing business, such as property taxes, utilities and other overhead expenses. In this case, the school is paying for the utilities, and there are no property taxes to speak of, though people buying cars at the show will have to pay the local sales tax, including Flagler’s 1 percent sales surtax.)

WNZF’s Involvement

david ayers

David Ayers. (© FlaglerLive)

The idea for the car and boat sale tied into a fund-raiser for the problem solvers emerged out of Ayers’s radio studio after he interviewed problem solvers ahead of one of their competitions. They were fund-raising, the radio station helped—it managed to get a car donated to the program, which then sold it to raise money–but Ayers thought something “bigger than these onsey -twosey things” was needed.

So he devised the car show as something like the annual home show in January (which benefits the school district’s Adult Education program), sent invitations to car dealers, including all three major local car dealers—Tom Gibbs, Palm Coast Ford and Flagler Chrysler. The Ford dealership initially was going to be part of the sale but pulled out, Ayers said.

“We sent emails to them all, we do business with everybody anyway,” Ayers said. “We don’t hear back, they’re not interested, it kind of came down to the wire here.”

Gibbs, as noted in a comment below, said, “to the best of my knowledge, we were never contacted or invited to be part of a sale at the school.”

Ritchey agreed to take all the space at the high school exclusively. The Volusia dealer is not paying FPC to rent out the space: FPC did not deal with Ritchey, but with WNZF, which is also not getting “rent” payments per se, but it is getting paid to advertise the event, with a significant cut of that going to the problem solvers: in that sense, WNZF is the mega donor (and is getting little recognition for that so far).  The arrangement, Ayers said, did not require a use of facilities agreement with the district because, he said, “it’s the school’s event, not mine, so they don’t need to use a facilities use.”

An Agreement’s Fine Print

It’s not quite the school’s event, however, at least not according to FPC Principal Dusty Sims: “This sale is not presented by FPC or Flagler Schools,” Sims wrote Conklin explicitly. “This is presented by WNZF and had been agreed to by the Flagler school board attorney as well as the attorney for WNZF,” meaning Sid Nowell. “I have spoken with Import Auto and the Chamber of Commerce by phone as well as personally stopping by Tom Gibbs to speak to their general manager. Each person understand the event is presented by WNZF.”

It’s not the school’s event according to the contract, either, that WNZF and the district signed on Aug. 19. The contract is titled: “Flagler County School District and Flagler Broadcasting LLC Fund Raising Event Agreement.”

Andy Dance

Andy Dance. (© FlaglerLive)

The two-page agreement clearly states that it’s between Flagler Broadcasting (WNZF’s parent) and “Flagler County Public Schools.” FPC is not mentioned in that clause. The agreement establishes a “partnership” between the broadcaster and the district to give students “mentoring relationships” (some students will be able to shadow radio station staffers, for example) and to give Future Problem Solvers a fund-raising opportunity, with the program receiving 20 percent of gross advertising sales generated by the event.

“The vendors participating in this event will be displaying boats, cars and RVs. No other vendors will be permitted at this event without the prior written approval of the parties,” the agreement states. “Vendors are not permitted to sublease to other vendors.”

Subleasing is forbidden by school board policy. Subleasing, however, is precisely what took place, in two school board members’ view, which is what allowed the car dealership to set up shop. Ayers doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t understand why they’re in such a tizzy because it’s really a win-win-win,” Ayers said. “The taxpayers come out ahead, the kids come out ahead, the publicity from the event for the future problem solvers is good. People have to understand these are mental athletes.  It’s not at the expense of other programs. This is designed specifically to help them who, in my opinion, have been neglected.”

Dance’s Role

Dance, Ayers said, was involved but “not too much, I told him we’d take care of it.” Dance, who will be Ayers’s guest on Free For All Friday on Sept. 9, and will be promoting the event at FPC, defended his role and the event at FPC in a 50-minute interview today.

“It’s been properly done through the avenues that we currently have available to network with businesses and promote activities and raise funds with the schools, it’s on a larger scale than maybe what’s been done in the past,” Dance said. “Everybody had the opportunity, it was promoted, the more people the better to be able to raise the most funds, it wasn’t exclusive by any means, it may have ended up that way, but it was promoted to everyone.” Even today, Dance was unaware that the grounds would be held exclusively by Ritchey’s dealership.

He said the matter never came up at a school board meeting because it coincided with the busy-ness of the beginning of school. Later, after checking dates, he said the last board meeting before this week’s had been on Aug. 16, three days before the agreement was signed, and he did not want to bring up an event that may or may not have happened.

But it was definitely brought up Tuesday (Sept. 6) at the school board’s workshop, at the urging of McDonald, who wants a review of the use of facilities policy.

janet mcdonald

Flagler County School Board Janet McDonald. (© FlaglerLive)

McDonald was blunt in her criticism—among other criticisms—of Dance’s involvement to the exclusion of the board. The board has been very supportive of the problem solvers, and its criticism last Tuesday, when it delved into the FPC car show issue, was not directed at the problem solvers, but at the process that led to the car show, and at the problem solvers program being exclusively tagged as the beneficiary of the first car sale of its kind on school property.

McDonald, Conklin, School Board Attorney Kristy Gavin and other school officials were involved in flurries of emails in the days before the Sept. 6 workshop, when the matter was brought into the open, as the two school board members were trying to understand how the car sale had been permitted.

In a long email from Gavin, the board attorney explained that all dealership s were invited to participate, and that “should a local dealership still be interested in participating we will work to make that happen.” Ayers said that’s not possible: “It’s too late now, there’s no last call here, it’s already done,” he said of Gavin’s promise, though he added: “I’d love to have our local car dealers support something like this.”

Policy Problems

Superintendent Jacob Oliva brought up the issue at the workshop because of “a question on subleasing, or using that space with another party or another vendor or something along those organizations.” He then suggested that the policy be reviewed, as “there are some areas that probably should be clarified a little bit because we start getting into very gray areas, and that’s one thing that I can tell you that when reviewing use of facility requests or trying to make as many accommodations with the public as we can, there’s no standard use of facility, they all kind of have special nuances and different things that come along with them.”

McDonald unleashed sustained and withering criticism over the agreement that led to this weekend’s car sale: “The first violation of that arrangement is that this was pushed by one group and directed by one board member,” McDonald said, “and I think that violates the community’s expectations, and certainly eliminates comfortable dealings on the part of our district administrators who have been charged with following through on the policy as the school board as a whole directed. I think Ms. Gavin and Mr. Oliva have been violated in their ability to operate at the direction of the board as opposed to a specific member. And in that, lots of other relationships were violated in this.”

colleen conklin

Colleen Conklin chairs the school board. (© FlaglerLive)

Dance did not address McDonald’s criticism during the meeting. In today’s interview, he addressed the references to violations: “That’s her opinion but it’s not true,” Dance said. “There’s checks and balances in this. As one board member, staff, they don’t follow the lead of one board member on issues like this. There’s checks and balances.” He said his involvement did not lead to “undue influence,” and that he was merely a conduit for the problem solvers program. “So I was called about the opportunity and made sure we properly discussed it with FPC and district staff. There’s nothing in the procedures for board approval, but there was mentioned in the discussion for events of this size or something of this magnitude that it come back before the board. So those are the discussions that I think will be forthcoming.”

He was referring to the rest of McDonald’s comment on Tuesday: “I think certainly that this school board policy needs to be looked at, lots of refinements, and yet I think this will continue to leave a bad taste in the community if this event goes forward as it is scheduled,” McDonald continued, “because there isn’t one organization in this district that doesn’t benefit from additional funds, and to have the school district involved in a compromise for our administrators, our community partners and every organization in this district that are doing wonderful things at the elementary, at the middle and the high school levels, to provide extra-curricular activities, which obviously need funds—we need to make sure that we don’t marginalize anyone. This is a public school organization, it needs to serve the community in balance and along with guidelines that are agreed to.”

Conklin largely agreed with McDonald, and with re-considering the policy to define what’s meant by “subleasing” and other details.

“The policy we have right now says, you cannot sublease. Am I wrong?” Conklin had asked Tuesday.

“That’s what it currently states,” Gavin said.

“And the agreement was rewritten to kind of make it work,” McDonald said, “which is another issue I have, direction that did not come from this board.”

There had even been some consideration of cancelling the event, but that was not possible. “My understanding is that there was no opportunity and we did not have the authority, given the current school board policy, to cancel the event, Conklin said. “It’s disappointing because there’s no reason why this couldn’t have been brought forward to us in an August meeting where this could have been publicly discussed.”

Dance during Tuesday’s discussion only raised the possibility of rewriting the sublease clause. He was more expansive, and unapologetic, in today’s interview, and was concerned that “two years of hard work” on behalf of the problem solvers would be tarnished by the car sale controversy.

“Everybody had a chance to come and show their wares and be part of a home-show atmosphere, even though it sounds disturbing that one dealership is coming, it very well could have turned out that more could have participated,” Dance said. “It just didn’t turn out that way, and that may be a flaw in the promoting. But there’s nothing sinister. This is an attempt to help a school program. For the parents of these students that don’t want to miss these opportunities for the students that get invited, the goal is to have 100 percent of the students that are invited to get to experience international competition. Again it’s worth repeating, if there’s a fine line for a board member in this, it’s as a parent-board member, and I’ll defend a parent board member to the death. I think it’s critical.”

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74 Responses for “School Board Members Blister “Subleasing” of FPC Campus to Out-of-Town Car Dealer, Exposing Problems”

  1. I knew that was coming!! Andy really is a great guy who supports many High School events. Give it up!

  2. woodchuck says:

    Pimpin ain”t easy.

  3. Flatsflyer says:

    So who is liable if someone gets hurt on school grounds? Cannot understand how one group gets free use while others have to pay. Hope people will be looking to see if any of the names mentioned in the article are driving new cars next week.

  4. To give such preference for a small group of students it is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE. The Future Problem Solvers already enjoy a very generous amount from most of the school’s budget. BES: $7000+ $1500(Registration), FPC: $17,700 etc. It is evident, Mr. Dance no longer serves ALL Flagler Schools Students or parents but rather businesses. And all this takes place on September 10 and September 11th?

  5. steve miller says:

    When will the school board and admin realize that they area business and need to run it like one.?
    their not getting paid for the use of the land. ?..what were they thinking and who let this entire event go on with out BOE approval …there is always an excuse AFTER the fact and plenty of finger pointing…when will this ever stop and when will they start acting like adults and spend and care for our tax dollars like it was coming out of their pockets?

  6. DaveT says:

    And people question why we need responsible people on the school board.

  7. Simon Katz says:

    Sounds like McDonald is butt-hurt that she didn’t get to wield her power in something. There was no law broken, no policy violated, and no one getting hurt. SO WHAT’S THE DAMN PROBLEM???

    THIS is why people don’t get involved anymore. Try to do something nice and there will ALWAYS be someone trying to make a monster out of you.

    • “Something nice” would’ve been renting out our public school for a fee and the money going towards Flagler Schools, not a specific group in which the school board member has a personal interest in.

    • Simon Katz says:

      In addition to your job this week, I want you to work extra to help your family. Then I’m going to piss and moan how you decided to only help who you chose and not the whole neighborhood.

      He has supported FPSA for a while now with his extra time, and if he managed to work out a fundraiser for a group he supports, good for him! There is NO policy or law that says he must raise funds for everyone or no one at all. So quit crying about it.

    • Simon Katz says:

      And he’s not renting the school. They are using an otherwise empty parking lot.

  8. Woodchuck2 says:

    If 20% equals $5000 (that the school gets), then 80% equals $20,000.00 (who gets that)?

  9. YankeeExPat says:

    Something’s not Kosher with this!

    How can a school board act autonomously outside the constraints the county and city government that fund them?

    woodchuck nailed it…………..Pimpin ain”t easy.

    What’s next?….Gun Shows?…..Flagler Porn Expo?…… Trump convention?

  10. Old Guy says:

    I can see how the school board and superintendent need to work on this situation for future events. As long as the local car dealerships were invited and declined to participate, I don’t have an issue with a Volusia County dealership being involved. For now at least the kids win and I think that’s great.

  11. Tim Stanford says:

    So Katz you want people to roll over and be quiet? You got the wrong people, if it stinks it stinks. What’s your dog in the fight?

    • Simon Katz says:

      I want people to stop trying to pick apart the efforts of others in trying to help children. And there is no need to “roll over” here. He is within the legal bounds and he’s doing something good for our kids. If people are pissed their group didn’t get money from his efforts that he volunteers on his own time, then maybe THEY should plan fundraisers.

      Do I have a problem with someone using the empty parking lot over a weekend? As long as they clean up, NO. Do I have a problem that they are from Daytona and no local dealers are involved? NO. They were invited and they declined.

      So, what is YOUR dog in the fight?

    • Tim Stanford says:

      Simon Katz it sure isn’t the money that’s being passed around and not shared with all the children. I expect more from a board member I don’t from you

    • Simon Katz says:

      This man does provide for ALL of the children during the scope of his work on the board. If he chose to spend EVEN MORE of his personal time to raise funds for a group he supports, he has that right.

      What do YOU do for all the children in Flagler schools?

    • Tim Stanford says:

      Simon Katz , I have sacrificed more for every child and adult in the entire US than you or your sacred cow have combined.

    • Simon Katz says:

      So because you served, you now sit on an ivory tower and get to judge others based on your personal feelings?

      Tell me what he did wrong! No one seems to be able to answer that! And remember…just because you don’t like something or agree with it, doesn’t make it wrong. So tell me what he did that was worth being ripped apart.

  12. Kirk Keller says:

    looks like the problem solvers — solved a problem!!!! KUDOS!

  13. Diane Tomko says:

    Andy Dance, an advocate and champion for our students, started a parent booster club to support the Future Problem Solving Program. His interests are in providing financial support for a progressive, productive, academic program that is not funded at the international level. Our students have earned global recognition for Community Problem Solving since 1993. Our wonderful school system is world class since this is the only academic arena that permits this type of recognition for our students’ authentic work in our community and as global issue problem solvers. As a teacher and coach in this program, I am grateful for Mr. Dance’s commitment.

  14. Oldseadog says:

    Lots of food for thought here!

    (Some “dancing” around it seems)

  15. Think of it this way…who benefits from the concessions at football games? Are all FPS in Flagler benefiting or only FPC?

    • The teams have to buy their own food for the concession stands and the plans are not made out of the sunshine.

    • Simon Katz says:

      Well Kendall, the school board isn’t paying for the cars or boats for sale. So what is the difference here? FPSA has put in the work, so why do they have to share the money raised?

    • Kendall C Acques I for one donate as much as I can for the concession stand during softball season, either hamburgers, hotdogs, buns, candy whatever they need. People who can’t donate items donate their time! We’re all in this together as a community/family. We should all support others efforts!

  16. Cait Lin says:

    FPC has over 130 students enrolled this year and the program is now at every school. Handful isn’t a fair assumption.

  17. Brad West says:

    Great job Andy! Way to think out of box. I like this idea.

  18. DRedder says:

    Wait, No Rules Were Violated, should anyone wish to rent the grounds ( like the County Home Show) Normal rent would be X amountsho. This event will offer an amount that exceeds such amount of the standard rental cost. plus stimulating the local business that encompasses the grounds. And still there are folks upset, WTF People, Really? Who’s butts are hurt? Gibbs Chevy? Why cause they didn’t think of it? And out of country business, really do they turn away out of county customers or even offer a special discount to Palm Coast residents. Get real stop crying.

  19. Linda Brown says:

    They bring an out of town dealership next to a local dealership, and the only monetary gain is a donation to one school club in which both the superintendent and school board member have their own kids involved. Now, we know why Andy Dance is so eager to extend the Superintendent’s contract. They abuse their power together.

    • Simon Katz says:

      ALL THE LOCAL DEALERS WERE INVITED!

      If they chose not to participate, then that’s on them. I think it looks horrible on them to say “We don’t want to help, and we don’t want anyone else to help either.” In fact, one could argue that the local dealer trying to shut down a fundraiser is an abuse of power.

  20. I think everybody is acting very immature over this. It’s a fundraiser for a certain club at the school. WHO cares! Every club does their own events durning the year! You don’t see other clubs getting mad about it do you? My brother is apart of the future problem solvers and it’s a great program! The more money the better. And maybe If the local car dealerships wanted to be involved in it they could do it more often and raise money for a different club each time! I swear some of you adults have nothing better to do then sit of Facebook and talk bad about each other. Get off your butts and start raising money for the other clubs if your that worried about it!!!! Rant over..

  21. Andy says:

    Whoa, let’s not rush to judgement here… Let’s see if any school board candidates Google some choice phrases and paste their responses, rife with spelling and grammar errors; you know- for the children and all!

  22. Robert Lewis says:

    So Flagler broadcasting paid for everything.
    A program for Flagler schools is getting 2k more than what the district would of charged.
    The parking lot is empty.
    There is no cost to have staff there.
    The kids win on this one.

    Yea I think David Ayers and Andy Dancer done good here.

  23. Rick G says:

    If schools were properly funded this wouldn’t have happened.

  24. palmcoaster says:

    My school taxes are the highest in my home taxes every year … while I do not even have children or grand children in school, isn’t that enough for our kids education? When enough is enough to fulfill Dance and school administrators greed while benefiting a local radio station and undermining the local car dealerships? Who gives Dance and Oliva the right to bypass the entire School Board vote…for an event that will give the use of the school grounds for free, when all others pay a fee? The school board of Flagler has been goofing into the wrong kind of business since they bought and sold Corporate One at whooping tax payers funds loss of millions and millions. Always some of the influential past or present school board members/administrators other than properly spending the high school taxes we pay educating students they instead waste our hard earned taxes in ludicrous real estate deals or like this latest one to benefit some well connected on the inside. Meanwhile also keep asking for more from us too while outsourcing sales away from our local jobs creators businesses.

  25. John Birney Jr says:

    As a former Future Problem Solver myself, it gives me a great deal of pride to see the school district I grew up in continue to support a truly incredible program. I’ve been to several International Competitions, and I can attest that they were some of the best experiences of my young life. The way I read this, it seems like the sale will be a win-win, and generate some needed funds for a program that continues to send more and more of our brilliant students to competition every year. I appreciate all of the support Andy Dance, et al. have given our local Problem Solvers, and the support of the Flagler community as a whole!

  26. Ben Hogarth says:

    This is insanity and I absolutely blame to voters and electorate first and foremost. The School Board is not always to blame for the “out of the box” thinking they have to come up with to deal with the fact tax payers refuse to accept tax increases even for essential services. School boards would not have to run their government like a business (nickeling and diming; wheeling and dealing) and could instead focus on their public purpose – educating students.

    Likewise, the School Board also needs to stop expanding its bureaucracy thus increasing the cost of services. Americans had high quality education for decades without this much red tape and although service levels have expanded, so “too” have the amount of people in “comfortable” chairs. This needs to stop immediately.

    Education is not complicated and much of the culture starts at home, where it is apparently the least accountable. In addition, the teaching community needs to rely more on in-class time studies rather than lengthy homework assignments. If you cannot teach a child enough in the instruction time given, the problem is not the child – it’s either your curriculum, staff, or materials (or combination thereof).

    Yes, children need to start reading more, but if your faculty and their parents cannot find a way to get them to read material that is educational and fascinating to THEM – you aren’t listening to the child and you aren’t educating – you are dictating and there is a significant difference. Whereas the fore encourages lifelong learning, the latter shackles the student to lifelong troubles of ignorance and stagnation.

    Education is NOT complicated ladies and gentleman… but it is the parents and the expanding bureaucracy that is out of control. Perhaps a car dealership in the school lot won’t devastate this lifelong learning process – but it is certainly symbolic of that breakdown that continues unabated, particularly with outrageous and unfounded standardized tests.

    But I digress.. if this Democrat knows how outrageous the school board and school systems have become then I can only imagine what my Republican colleagues must think.

  27. Carol mikola says:

    Diane Tomoko, I totally agree with you. This “controversy” is ridiculous.

  28. Ben Hogarth says:

    And Steve Miler, to add to my comments and to retort your claims –

    Government is NOT a business and does not need to operate like one. It really is tiring hearing people make such claims where they are unfounded. I have all too many examples of why a government should never be run like a business, but I would sound too business “insensitive.”

    Government’s first job is to care for your security and in this case – the safety and security of the children who attend school to learn. Business does not care about security, it cares about liability. If we continue down the road where government transforms into a business, not only will more of your tax dollars be frivolously wasted on outrageous “entrepreneurial” ventures… the services that provide security and safety will only operate at levels where liability is not a serious concern to the business.

    Let’s look at Health Departments at the local and state levels in particular – you would think that a Health Departments chief role is to manage health issues. This is not the case. Instead, they concern themselves with financial liability and mitigating FEAR in instances where a serious health risk or endemic / epidemic is going viral (pun intended). These people are not bad managers at all either – but they are beholden to a system that requires them to operate like a business. And thus Americans are not actually getting better treatment, but instead are having to pay higher costs for basic services.

    We could spend hours talking about specifics, but it amazes me how many people use such outlandish “blanket” statements like “Government needs to be run more like a business.”

    In fact, almost every instance where government frustrates its constituency, is because government has transformed itself into a business model. And anyone who would like to debate the issue, I would be happy to throw down the gauntlet

  29. Bob Gibbs says:

    I would like to thank our school system and leaders, teachers, coaches and all the support teams for making a fantastic learning experience for my three children! I would also like to say that Tom Gibbs Chevrolet will continue to support the many programs such as driver education, various sporting activities, several student organizations, the education foundation, scholarship programs, etc. to name just a few.

    I also would like to say that to the best of my knowledge, we were never contacted or invited to be part of a sale at the school.

  30. So big deal if he has kids in that program or not he’s raising money for the students. I’ve seen him at many events and activities where his kids aren’t even involved. He’s a great guy!

  31. michael says:

    So if you buy a car or boat you will need to go to Volusia county to get service when needed. I don’t think so. If your unhappy with this scam stay away.

  32. Diane says:

    This kind of endeavor must have taken a very long time planning . I find it extremely hard to believe that Janet McDonald and Colleen Conklin did not hear about this before August. And your ignorance is No excuse . School board screws up once again …. Why do you keep getting paid ? I hope all future school functions get the same kind of deal ( no charge for the use of the property) that you gave to out of town businesses.

  33. Steven Nobile says:

    This is very discouraging from various perspectives. It seems to paint the picture of the economic condition of Flagler County. As one who tries to follow the economics of Flagler County, especially Palm Coast, I attempt to see the intentions and actions of the public and private sector and what they are accomplishing. So let’s take a look at this, first from the technicals.

    The Automotive Dealer sector of our county has leakage to the tune of 80%. That means that 8 out of every 10 purchases are made outside the county. (The study is actually for a 20 minute drive from Belle Terre and Palm Coast Pkwy in any direction). Now this alone does not indicate much more than there is a potential to increase sales in the county in this sector. But to bring in the very competition that is pulling sales away and make it easier for the sales to go North or South is not responsible.
    What we are talking about in dollars comes from jobs, local spending which involves the multiplier effect of dollars moving through our community and sales tax back to our communities. These dollars are in the tune to approximately $200,000,000.

    The next issue is cohesion. In my opinion, there is very little unity between the public/public and public/private sectors involved in the development of economic strength in the county. Each entity “does its thing” with little involvement from the other entities. The economic or business organizations in the county act more like cheerleaders then leaders. There is no organization taking the lead and making a call to action to build our economic prowess. There is no vision to sell, inspire and motivate the public and the private both inside the county and out.

    I really have a lot more to say on this but I am afraid I will begin to speak way of topic.

  34. Karnack says:

    Check Out :
    Guide to the Sunshine Amendments and the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees :

    1 – Misuse of Public Position – Sec. 112.313 (4) Fla. Stat.

    2 – Disclosure or use of certain information – Sec. 112.313 (8) Fla. Stat.

    3 – Local Government Attorneys – Sec. 112.313 (16) Fla. Stat.

  35. Tom Gibbs says:

    We have an excellent school system comprised of many great students, teachers and administrators, of which we should all be very proud. As a local business owner and a long time supporter of our school I welcome fund raisers that support extra curricular activities. However, I do think that when the private sector is involved, the support needs to come from local businesses. Business that support school activities all year, employ local people, and pay local taxes. Unfortunately, I have no record of being invited to this event. However, recent discussions with school administrators and board members leave me to believe that future events will be handled differently. I think it is in everyone’s best interest to put this in the past and to continue to support our schools in the best interest of the students. Tom Gibbs, Tom Gibbs Chevrolet

    • Simon Katz says:

      Well said! As a patron of your business (twice in the past few years) I look forward to seeing local businesses like yours step up for our youth. And if you need volunteers for activities you’re involved in, please let us know. I’ll be glad to step up like I have in the past.

      And I appreciate you posting like this. It takes a brass set to open yourself to public comment in a setting like this. Kudos!

  36. Born and Raised Here says:

    Great Ideal ! Most of our High Schools have to have fund raisers to purchase and participate in Sports. We’re not like Northern Schools where it’s provided to them. So the school get 20 % for every car or boat sold. This is a good cause.

  37. carol says:

    Oh really, extremely fishy. Dance has to be investigated.
    Unacceptable!! Let see what the Board does now.

  38. A. Clay says:

    I was contacted by the Flagler Volunteer Service today via email requesting volunteers to transport vehicles from the Enterprise at the Flagler Airport to the FPC parking lot. I quickly volunteered prior to researching the validity of the request (my fault). I naturally assumed this was to benefit FPC directly. I then called back and removed my previous offer as this is an independent vendor utilizing our county volunteers for profit. I’m all for volunteering whenever and however I may be able to, but I am not comfortable giving free services to an out of county vendor!

  39. Clarity says:

    Two points I’d like to make:

    1. Why is Flagler Volunteer Services requesting volunteers (“desperately needed”) to help drive cars from the Flagler County Airport to the Ritchey Auto “Wheels and Keels Car and Boat Sale!”? Isn’t that co-mingling private business with a nonprofit organization? I called Flagler Volunteer Services to confirm, and was told this was a fact. However, it wasn’t stated in the e-mail sent out “desperately” seeking drivers for Friday and Saturday 9/9 and 9/10 for the Ritchey event.

    2. Being impartial when it comes to politics, I’m disgusted by inferred and blatant put downs as well as written attacks when it comes to Ms. Janet McDonald. (“Simon Katz”). In my experience, and in general, people who rock the boat (political and/or economic) are perceived and portrayed as “extremist” when in actuality, they shine a light on that which is hidden.

  40. Jules Kwiatkowski says:

    I saw that Richey is having a big car sales at Palm Coast High School.What happen to the ordinance that was passed a few years ago.No Tent Sales in Palm Coast.It lookslike a big tent right in the middle.

  41. Andy S. says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Air Force had to hold a bake sale for their $400 toilet seats and schools had billions in funding.

  42. Just wait for it says:

    Bottom line is Andy Dance has three children in problem solving (son did the radio ad) and as a parent can not afford to pay for three to go to States and/or Nationals. So he made a deal that he shouldn’t have to save money. He knew better that he needed to bring it to the board, but knew if he did they would vote it down or Charge a fee for all schools to share. nothing more here

  43. AmericanPride says:

    What happened to the days when a club/group within a school came up with their own fundraising ideas instead of the school board getting involved. Also, why is it the schools problem to fund said group? The kids decided to participate in the groups activities, so they ought to be responsible for holding their own fundraisers, instead of the school board and businesses doing the work for them.

  44. Outsider says:

    As an objective observer, I have some problems with this. The first is the obvious lack of transparency in the process to bring this event to fruition, which in turn breeds mistrust of officials involved. Secondly, whether local car dealers were invited or not, (and it doesn’t sound like they were, or at least were not courted effectively) they should not be forced to move their wares and compete with an outside dealer on it’s terms. This is particularly true being two of the three local dealers are less than a mile away and would in effect be forced to incur unnecessary expenses, whereas the “outsider” ( ahem) would have the benefit of volunteer drivers. The sum of money the FPS is getting is sizable, but I would question whether this is the only way they could earn this sum; I personally observed the owner of a local grocery store write a check for that much to a cause he is fond of, and wonder, if given the opportunity, the local car dealers in question wouldn’t have donated a similar sum, either for altruistic or self preservation reasons. Being that the five thousand dollars is only 20% of advertising revenues, it seems there is a bigger winner here, and for that reason I oppose the use of school grounds for this purpose. A stand alone fund raiser by any organization on school property is fine otherwise. The bottom line is the Future Problem Solvers get an “A,” but the school officials get an “F.”

  45. palmcoaster says:

    And yest stop attacking the honesty and courage of School Board member Janet McDonald for bringing into the open some school officials shady deals!

  46. Christopher says:

    As a former employee of Tom Gibbs Chevrolet, I can understand the frustration that Tom and Bob must be feeling. This organization has put countless hours and vast amounts of money into establishing a very reputable dealership. They have earned the right to ask for your business. Unfortunately, the automobile business has created an atmosphere where price (or the perception of a low price) is the primary driver. Sorry to say, you never get more than you pay for.
    As Palm Coasters, we have every opportunity to move a great local business forward. Vote with your dollars and keep them here! Remember, every dealer pays the same amount for its inventory.
    As a separate concern, I am thinking that the sale at FPS must be in violation of the franchise agreements dealers enter into with GM. Unfortunately, protests by smaller dealers often fall on deaf ears at GM. At the end of the day, GM only wants to move metal, and does not really care how it’s done.
    We all have the option of supporting a local business who has supported us – or not.

  47. blown of out proportion says:

    Cadillac, Buick, GMC and Subaru are no where to be found in palm coast. I think it was a 2 day event. Its a positive thing bringing those dealerships here because we never seen those dealers here in palm coast. its Yeah, they brought used cars too. But honestly, the big deal is that the other dealerships were threatened for 2 days and they used school EMPTY PARKING LOT AND DONATED SOME MONEY?! I’m pretty sure there are bigger issues going on in this world people!!!!!!

  48. IMO says:

    Look Flagler County with the elections coming. We the members of your School Board are right on top of this corrupt practice. Look how transparent we are.

    So Re-Elect us!

  49. IMO says:

    How about a weekend Gun Sales Convention at FPC? Would that be OK also?

  50. IMO says:

    Empty Parking Lot? It is taxpayer funded school property! Not just a parking lot.

  51. Tom says:

    Once again, the School Board is caught napping.
    The Board is a waste of money.

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