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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.

Bunnell Cop Arrested Over Computer Porn Conducted Unauthorized Background Searches on City Commissioners

| May 23, 2014

the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is still investigating the case, uncovered evidence that Michael Stavris conducted unauthorized background checks on three sitting city commissioners: Bill Baxley, John Rogers and Elbert Tucker. Stavris may face no penalty for doing so, for lack of a policy in Bunnell.

Angry But Cornered, County Takes Old Courthouse Back from Bunnell, Handing Its Fate to a Committee

| May 19, 2014

Commissioners Barbara Revels and George Hanns bitterly criticized Bunnell’s decision to reverse course and reject the old courthouse, blaming the city for accelerating the building’s deterioration and leaving the county little choice. In the meantime, the county will again pick up the $60,000 to $80,000-a-year tab of maintaining the building to keep it from deteriorating more than it already has.

No Thanks: Bunnell Votes 4-1 to Return Old Courthouse to the County, Citing Costs and Liabilities

| April 15, 2014

The stunning reversal culminates months of doubt and disappointment about the building on city officials’ part as they discovered a structure in more serious disrepair than the county had let on and tallied far more expensive bills ahead than the city could afford, if it were to keep the building.

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.

Commissioner’s Latest Move to Replace Bunnell Police With Sheriff May Be Stillborn

| January 8, 2014

For the third time in five years, Bunnell City Commissioner Elbert Tucker wants the city to consider letting the Flagler County Sheriff’s office provide policing services to Bunnell, but this latest effort is facing stiff resistance even before being officially floated before commissioners.

An Attempt to Discredit a Commissioner Over Her Temporary Digs in Palm Coast Backfires

| December 4, 2013

Bunnell City Commissioner Jenny Crain-Brady sold her house in Bunnell and temporarily moved to a friend’s house in Palm Coast, though she was rebuilding another house in Bunnell. The move triggered a complaint about her right to serve on the commission–or to run for re-election in March–and a fellow-commissioner brought the question to the full board.

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.

In Vose Law Firm, Bunnell Picks Mother-Son Team as Its New Attorneys, for $7,000 a Month

| October 25, 2013

Burned this summer by monthly legal bills of $24,000 and $35,000, and by its attorney’s resignation, the Bunnell City Commission on Thursday voted unanimously to hire Winter Park-based Vose Law Firm to represent it, for what appears to be a cut rate, relatively speaking.

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.

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 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.

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.

Its Value $26 Million in the Hole, Bunnell Rethinks Downtown Redevelopment Zone

| May 13, 2013

Bunnell established its 800-acre downtown redevelopment zone in 2007, assuming that most tax revenue generated there could then be reinvested in the area to reinvigorate it. Instead, property values fell $26 million in the zone, forcing the city to rethink the CRA’s viability.

Sid Nowell Resigning as Bunnell City Attorney After 8 Years as Realignments Continue

| May 3, 2013

Sid Nowell, citing health and other matters, will formalize his resignation at the Bunnell City Commission meeting Monday evening, giving Commissioner Eklbert Tucker a new opening to hire Lonnie Groot as his replacement–a move Tucker said he intends to make.

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.

“So Happy You Guys Have Come Along,” Plantation Bay Residents Tell County and Bunnell

| March 22, 2013

If questions lingered over Flagler County’s and Bunnell’s expensive and controversial acquisition of the Plantation bay utility, Plantation Bay residents dispelled them Thursday by enthusiastically giving their endorsement to the deal, though county and city commissioners are still facing questions from constituents beyond the development.

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.

Sea Change on Bunnell Commission as Tucker and Baxley Are Elected and Henry Loses

| March 5, 2013

Bunnell’s three-way election for the city commission was expected to be close as incumbent Daisy Henry drove in many of her voters herself, while incumbent Elbert Tucker and challenger Bill Baxley looked on from across the road.

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