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Welcome Home, Bunnell: City Celebrates
Its New Digs After Five Years’ Squatting

| October 22, 2014

The four-building, $600,000 Bunnell City Hall complex has more space than the city knows what to do with, but acquired at a tenth the price it might have had to pay had it moved into the old county courthouse.

Bunnell Eliminates 40% Of Police Department as Part of Wider Cost-Cuts and Lay-Offs

| July 29, 2014

Seeking to cut an $800,000 deficit that represents a fifth of the city’s budget, the Bunnell City Commission Monday cut its commission salaries by 10 percent, eliminated its grants department and laid off staff that have been mainstays of the Bunnell administration and police department over the years.

Divided and in Crisis, Bunnell Begins Deep Cuts to Close $844,000 Gap But Police Department Survives, For Now

| July 8, 2014

The Bunnell City Commission in a tension-filled, four=-hour meeting Monday voted 3-2 to eliminate code enforcement and the humane society, among a list of cuts, but delay eliminating the police and grants department for two weeks, giving department heads time to make their case for survival.

For $600,000, Bunnell Buys Former Heritage Charter School Campus For Its New City Hall

| June 3, 2014

The decision was the result of ma 3-1 vote at a special meeting. Bunnell projects spending an additional $300,000 to prepare the three-building campus for its permanent offices, including the police department, all of which have been spread through three locations around Bunnell for the past five years.

Now Leery of Old Courthouse, Bunnell Fears Money Pit and Talks of Giving It Back

| March 25, 2014

With two commissioners ready to give back the old courthouse to the county, Bunnell opted Monday to get more solid bids on what it would cost the city to turn the problematic building into its city hall, but the city administration drew a bleak picture of finances that cannot bear new burdens regardless.

A Divided Bunnell Accepts Old Courthouse Despite Mounting Questions About Mold and Other Issues

| November 26, 2013

The 3-2 vote of the Bunnell City Commission was fraught with questions about the conditions of the 49,700 square foot building, which is in serious disrepair, shows evidence of leaks and possibly mold, and may cost upward of $5 million to be functional again, though Bunnell says nit would only refurbish a portion of it at a lower cost.

Bunnell’s Burden: A Photo Gallery of the Old Flagler County Courthouse and Annex

| November 26, 2013

A 50-image photo gallery provides the first comprehensive inside look at the conditions of the old Flagler County Courthouse and annex, which Bunnell acquired at no cost on Nov. 26. But the city is now responsible for all repair and maintenance costs of both attached structures. The costs will be heavy.

Bunnell Mayor Robinson Refuses to Sign New Manager’s Contract as Divisions Persist

| October 16, 2013

Bunnell’s new city manager, Lawrence Williams, will be paid $44,000 less than Armando Martinez, his predecessor, but Williams’s first meeting as manager Monday was heavy on rancor and sniping and light on olive branches as commissioners continued to parry over Williams’s contract and other matters, signaling no thaw in their cold war any time soon.

Strife-Ridden Bunnell Cancels $75-a-Plate Centennial Gala to Hold a Barbecue Instead

| October 15, 2013

Only 17 people had RSVP’s with payment for the Nob. 8 black-tie gala in a city more riven by conflict than buoyed by centennial celebration. The Bunnell City Commission voted to hold a barbecue at a later date, with cost and caterers yet to be determined, though two commissioners may volunteer for duty.

Bunnell Commission Votes 3-2 to Hire Lawrence Williams as Its Next Manager

| September 23, 2013

The City Commission late Monday evening voted 3-2 to hire Lawrence J. Williams as its next city manager. It was the culmination of six months of change and turmoil in Bunnell government, ending the tenure of Armando Martinez.

Sticker Shock Part Deux: Bunnell Commission Hit With $35,000 Legal Bill for August

| September 23, 2013

The attorney, Lonnie Groot, has resigned effective Oct. 1, in part because of the criticism leveled at him after he issued the first bill, for $24,000. The city had budgeted $60,000 for the entire year, and will have to find the balance of the money in its reserves.

Saturday Theater: Four Candidates Make Their Case for City Manager Before Bunnell City Commission

| September 21, 2013

The Bunnell City Commission was interviewing four candidates for city manager Saturday afternoon and into early evening, devoting an hour to each. An analytical summary of each interview is included.

Bunnell Commission Narrows Manager “Crapshoot” to 5; Tucker Will Interview Secretly

| September 17, 2013

Elbert Tucker’s decision to interview candidates individually aside, the Bunnell City Commission will interview the five candidates Saturday afternoon, by which time it will likely be clear who will be the city’s next manager, replacing Armando Martinez.

Bunnell City Manager’s Job Draws 83 Applicants, Including Two of Its Own Directors

| September 6, 2013

The 75,000 to $80,000 position to replace Armando Martinez was advertised barely two weeks, but it’s drawn 36 applicants from 26 states and the District of Columbia, with the balance—47 applicants—from Florida, a dozen of them from Flagler County.

Bunnell City Attorney Lonnie Groot Resigns Three Days After Commissioner’s Sideswipe

| September 2, 2013

Bunnell City Attorney Lonnie Groot resigned barely two months into his tenure, hinting at a lack of “professional principles and conduct” after Commissioner Jenny Crain-Brady said she didn;t want him “running” the city. The resignation is the latest in a series of blights on the city’s and commission’s conduct.

Sticker Shock: How Bunnell Rang Up a $24,000 Legal Bill Its First Month With a New Attorney

| August 19, 2013

The $24,000 July bill from City Attorney Lonnie Groot and his firm amounts to almost half the city’s entire annual budget for legal services. Groot and commissioners said the fee is the result of several high-profile cases, but commissioners and staff alone rang up $7,363 in billable hours.

“Podunk,” “Bad Faith” and Bigotry as Bunnell Votes 3-1 to Advertise for a New City Manager

| August 13, 2013

Three Bunnell city commissioners would not give Manager Armando Martinez more than $80,000 a year. He would not accept less than $97,500. The difference was only one of the cleavers that produced another ugly, late-night wrangle on the commission, featuring offensive language and a commissioner walking out.

Bunnell’s Martinez Won’t Be Fired After All: Baxley Shifts Again, Agreeing to Contract Talks

| July 22, 2013

On a 3-2 vote, the commission agreed to negotiate a new contract for the manager it fired six weeks ago as Baxley’s move to appoint an interim fell flat and Mayor Robinson took advantage of an opening that Baxley himself had given here.

Bunnell’s Finance Director Resigns, Taking a Swipe at New Commission Majority

| July 16, 2013

Bunnell Finance Director Cynthia Bertha–Cissy to friends and colleagues–blamed the new majority of the Bunnell City Commission for undoing City Manager Armando Martinez’s “hard work” as she explained her resignation. She is the third high-ranking administrator to either resign or be fired since that new majority took hold.

Downton Abbey Makes Room for Bunnell as City Celebrates Centennial in Lavish Style

| July 8, 2013

Bunnell city commissioners dressed in period costumes, the commission reenacted the very first meeting of the Bunnell Town Council in 2013, and a time capsule was buried, not to be opened until 2063, as Bunnell marked its one hundredth anniversary under a sun borrowed from the days of Genesis.

Bunnell Manager Armando Martinez Loses His Job, But Not Severance, in 3-2 Midnight Vote

| June 11, 2013

Bunnell City Manager Armando Martinez ran out of lives late Monday night as the City Commission voted 3-2 not to renew his contract–essentially firing him–despite impassioned appeals by the mayor to retain him.

Bunnell Manager Martinez’s Fate Again Hangs By a Thread as Vote May End Tenure Tonight

| June 10, 2013

Bunnell Commissioner Elbert Tucker will trigger another discussion against renewing Armando Martinez’s contract, with Commissioner Bill Baxley having already pledged during his campaign not to renew it as written, and Commissioner John Rogers long opposed to the manager, which suggests that tonight’s vote may end Martinez’s five-year tenure.

Church-State Separation Be Damned: Bunnell Sponsors 3rd Prayer Day, Invoking “God’s City”

| May 2, 2013

Bunnell marked the national Day of Prayer for the third year with its own sponsored religious event, a distinctly Christian, evangelical-like service that features commissioners and the mayor offering prayers and pastors invoking Jesus’s name and god’s law above all others.

Power Shifts on Bunnell Commission as Tucker, Baxley and Robinson Are Sworn In

| April 8, 2013

As Bill Baxley took his seat on the Bunnell City Commission Monday, he represented a swing vote that shifts power away from Mayor Catherine Robinson, who unsuccessfully tried to keep Jenny Crain-Brady as the vice mayor. That honor went to John Rogers.

Bunnell’s Armando Martinez a Finalist For City Manager’s Job in Satellite Beach

| March 21, 2013

Bunnell City Manager Armando Martinez had tried in 2011 to move closer to home in Brevard County, and now is more compelled to do so as his political backing has severely weakened on the Bunnell City Commission.

Bunnell Mayor Robinson Coasting to Re-Election Unopposed; 3 Vie for 2 Other Seats

| January 16, 2013

As in 2010, Mayor Catherine Robinson is facing no opposition, with Friday’s qualifying deadline fast approaching. Commission incumbents Elbert Tucker and Daisy Henry have qualified, with just one additional candidate, Bill Baxley, in the mix.

In Prenup Haggling, County and Bunnell Agree to Split Old Courthouse, With Sheriff in Annex

| January 2, 2013

In an at-times tense joint meeting between the Flagler County Commission and Bunnell’s commission, the two sides agreed to cede the old courthouse to Bunnell for a city hall, but the courthouse annex would remain in county ownership, and be turned over to the sheriff as a new headquarters.

Feed Flagler Multiplies the Loaves–and the Turkeys, Hams, Pies, Chops and Volunteers

| November 21, 2012

Some 3,500 free meals were served across the county Wednesday, with 500 more to be served Thursday in Bunnell, as the fourth annual Feed Flagler marked Thanksgiving with what has become the single-largest philanthropic community-wide project in Flagler.

Bunnell Manager Martinez’s Pay Raise Blocked As a Commissioner Calls Him “Overpaid”

| November 9, 2012

Bunnell Manager Armando Martinez had already received a 5 percent “cost of living” raise, but was eligible for a merit raise, bringing his salary to $104,470. A split commission blocked the increase.

In Bunnell, A Succession of Disagreements Over Who’s in Charge When Head Cheese Isn’t

| September 26, 2012

Bunnell City Manager Armando Martinez names either his finance director or his grants director as the acting manager when he’s away. Commissioner Elbert Tucker says it’s a violation of the city charter, which spells out who’s in charge when the manager isn’t: the city clerk, the chief of police then the mayor, in that order.

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