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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.

Citing Growing Deficits, Auditor Warns Bunnell Is On an Unsustainable Course

| June 26, 2014

With recurring deficits of close to $1 million in the general fund, the Bunnell City Commission heard the bleakest audit report it’s heard in recent years, with no new revenue expected to brighten the picture.

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.

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.

Bunnell City Election: John Rogers and Bonita Robinson Win, As Does Status Quo

| March 4, 2014

John Rogers won re-election to the Bunnell City Commission Tuesday, taking the most votes in a four-way race, and Bonita Robinson won the seat formerly held by Jenny Crain-Brady. Rogers and Robinson defeated Daisy Henry, the former commissioner trying to make a come-back, and Randall Morris, who had been a no-show in most ways through the election period.

Ahead of Bunnell’s March 4 Election, Three Commission Candidates Battle With
More Blanks Than Bullets

| February 19, 2014

Few of the candidates’ answers at the only candidate forum before the election grappled with actual issues, ideas or solutions, hewing instead to generally positive statements about wanting to do their best or speaking in generalities that would not distinguish them either from each other or from any well-meaning resident of the city they seek to represent.

Jenny Crain-Brady, Not Paying a Fee, Fails to Qualify for Bunnell Commission Election; 4 Others Do

| January 17, 2014

In an unexpected and significant reversal of fortune for an incumbent candidate for the Bunnell City Commission election set for March 4, Jenny Crain-Brady has not qualified for the seat she had gathered petitions to run for. Brady failed to pay the $96 state assessment fee required of all candidates, whether they have the necessary number of petitions or not.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

In an Explosive Meeting, Bunnell’s Martinez Survives, 3-2, a Rogers Motion to Fire Him

| April 22, 2013

Bunnell City Manager Armando Martinez survived getting fired on a 3-2 vote, with the unexpected support of one of his harshest former critics: Commissioner Bill Baxley, who was sworn in earlier this month on a promise of change.

Flagler 911: Pot-Dumping on Colbert Lane; Commissioner’s Son Presses Charges Against Inmate

| April 16, 2013

Two teens arrested after eluding a cop on Colbert Lane and allegedly dumping pot on the road; Bunnell City Commissioner John Roger’s son, in jail on a minor charge, is allegedly attacked by another inmate, who is charged with battery; the bomb squad is called out on Princess Geraldine Place; and more, including jail bookings.

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.

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