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City Manager Landon’s Fate Teetering, Council Agrees to Special Meeting To Set New Course

| July 18, 2017

City Manager Jim Landon's attempt to maneuver his way to a two-year 'succession' plan has failed as the Palm Coast City Council now will decide how, not whether, to end his tenure. (© FlaglerLive)

City Manager Jim Landon’s attempt to maneuver his way to a two-year ‘succession’ plan has failed as the Palm Coast City Council now will decide how, not whether, to end his tenure. (© FlaglerLive)

The Palm Coast City Council will hold a special workshop soon to plan the fate of City Manager Jim Landon, the council decided this morning. The workshop will determine how, not whether, to end Landon’s 10-year tenure. The workshop is to be scheduled “sooner rather than later,” Mayor Milissa Holland said, though it may have to wait until next week as at least one council member is going on vacation the rest of this week.

Landon will not be at the table for that meeting nor will he be allowed to participate, though he can attend as an audience member.

Landon’s future in Palm Coast appears to be drawing to an end as four of five council members—the exception is Bob Cuff, as he revealed today—are no longer supporting Landon and want a change. They spoke of their dissatisfaction with Landon at length in interviews with FlaglerLive following one-on-one conversations they’d had with Landon, who had summoned each of them to closed-door sessions to speak about his future.

Council member Steven Nobile two months ago had told Landon that his time was up. Landon told him he’d think about his future and discuss it with his wife during a two-week vacation, ending shortly after July 4. He then met with each council member and proposed a deal most of them found strange and unacceptable: Landon said he wanted to stay another two years, until 2019 (when his granddaughter graduates), when he would retire, in exchange for sparing the city the cost of paying him severance. That cost equates roughly to a year’s salary and benefits, or close to a quarter million dollars. Landon also presented the council members with what he called a “succession plan,” with Beau Falgout, one of his directors, as the next city manager. He also wanted to control the announcement of his “plan,” making it at a meeting of his own choosing.

In interviews, most council members ridiculed the succession plan and Landon’s presumption that he would still control the nomination of his successor, and most were not in favor of extending his stay two more years, even at the price of severance: several council members consider the severance package the reckless work of a previous council, not their own, and the price to pay to be done with Landon.

“I don’t think we should be making decisions based on a severance package that was adopted previous to us,” Holland said in an interview after the meeting. “I do believe we need to base it on the confidence we have in our city manager.”

That confidence is at a 10-year low.

“Full disclosure, about two months ago I went into Mr. Landon’s office and I said, Mr. Landon, I think it’s time for a change,” Nobile said at the end of the meeting today. “We need to have a special workshop to discuss this as soon as possible just so we can speak to each other and come up with some decision, some consensus, and then follow up with another meeting as to the action that we propose. I just think we need to have that done as soon as possible. My opinion is that it is time for a refresh in that position.” He stressed that his approach “does not reflect on a single thing that occurred. This is based on my two years-plus experience. I came in with the idea that it was time to refresh this position.” He said it was time for the council and the city “to have someone that they can call their own. This is the guy we pick, or man or woman that we chose and that we need to have and that we’d like to have.”

Landon tellingly sidelined as the council opts to discuss his fate without him at the table.

Council member Nick Klufas concurred, saying “we can’t hyper-react to just one news story.” Holland recommended an “independent workshop just with this council to discuss these matters,” which prompted Landon to ask what she meant by “independent.” Holland said it would be a workshop in addition to the normally scheduled workshop. She also meant, as she clarified later in an interview, that Landon would not be at the table.

 “As far as our council,” Klufas asked, “do we have a consensus of who we want in attendance? I’m not necessarily sure whether we would all feel comfortable with our city manager being present.”

“That’s a public meeting, so anybody can attend, but it will just be us discussing it,” Holland said, echoing the wishes at least of Klufas and Nobile, who don’t want Landon at the table during the council’s discussion. He can be in attendance, though in matters of hirings and firings, elected boards routinely ask that individuals involved regarding a particular position not be in the room when the subject is being discussed. Sitting executives often choose on their own not to attend out of courtesy to the elected board. Landon has not been wont to such courtesies.

Nor was courtesy part of his plan today. “First of all I totally concur, I’m looking forward to getting the true story instead of some of the fiction and some of the rumors and misinformation out there, so I look forward to that,” Landon said. He impulsively over the years has called “misinformation” anything he disagrees with, rarely presenting evidence disproving the “misinformation.”

His statement today in essence called his own council members conjurers of fictions, since the article Landon and they were referring to was based almost entirely on their own statements, none of which any of them has disavowed, including Cuff—Landon’s only supporter–who made a point of saying so despite being the odd man out: “I am not taking any exception to the story,” Cuff said at the meeting. His concern is with the next steps. “Whatever the city council proposes to do on this issue, my comments are that we do it with reasonable dispatch, but that we do it in an orderly and legally proper matter,” he said.

Steven Nobile, left, put Landon on notice two months ago that his time was up. Bob Cuff wants the next steps to be swift and in the open. (© FlaglerLive)

Steven Nobile, left, put Landon on notice two months ago that his time was up. Bob Cuff wants the next steps to be swift and in the open. (© FlaglerLive)

At no point had there been any suggestion to the contrary, though Cuff went on: “We don’t have the luxury of holding closed sessions where we ram bills packed with all kinds of pork and goodies through the Florida Legislature. We don’t have the ability to hold closed-door sessions in Washington and come up with legislation that will affect millions of people and then pop it up like a whack-a-mole to see if it will pas or not. We have to do things in public and in accordance with the sunshine law.”

What Cuff was describing was, in fact, precisely what Landon had attempted through his closed-door sessions with council members—pack his proposal with goodies, speak of extending his tenure, which would affect thousands of people, then pop-up his plan—as he routinely has with innumerable city issues over the years—and see if it will pass or not.

That very method is what several council members have cited as no longer admissible as they look to the future.

This needs to be a discussion compeletly with our city council. Our attorney needs to be present by law… but I don’t forsee a lot fo discussion or inpiut from the attorney other than process or a contractual discussion.

In the interview after today’s meeting, Holland said the process in the days ahead must entail an open discussion among council members—and only council members, with a limited role for the council’s attorney regarding process and contractual questions—so that the council can “discuss a plan moving forward.” Action would then be taken on that plan at the following business meeting. Holland is intent on resolving the question of the city’s leadership swiftly in part to ensure that the city 400-some employees have clear direction as well.

As things stand today, that special workshop would take place toward the middle or the end of next week, with action on the plan to follow at the next scheduled business meeting, which falls two weeks from today. There’s little doubt left in Holland’s mind what the action should be. “Prolonging it does not do a service to the discussion, and I don’t see a positive outcome from kicking the can down the road,”  Holland said.

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27 Responses for “City Manager Landon’s Fate Teetering, Council Agrees to Special Meeting To Set New Course”

  1. Just the truth says:

    It’s about time the PC Counsel Members woke up to reality that Landon needs to GO, sooner then not.

    He is over paid, and PC taxpayers want him gone.

  2. RayD says:

    And there you go. Good job council. Bye Landon. The audacity to try and control his exit and succession is mind boggling. I have to wonder how many decisions he has messed up over the years due self absorption and vanity.

  3. Laurie says:

    There is no need to drag it out–terminate him and give his salary to the 5 extra law enforcement officers Staley is requesting,, much better use of money.

  4. Lonzo brown says:

    Fire him now, bound to be reasons too that he has broke contracts

  5. Shazam! says:

    So many complaints about Landon, but nothing said about all of the positive things he has done for PC. Have you talked to anyone who works for him? Most City employees I know like him and like working for him. Council members have nothing better to do than continue to have meeting to decide if and when to get rid of him? Sit around and “decide” on the day to do it? What have they done? They can’t even get along or work toward a common goal. Their list of accomplishments is less than spectacular.

  6. Buck Troesch says:

    This also a time for city council members to place expensive, major projects on a ballot and let the voters decide if it is truly needed. I refer to the new city hall which was voted against by the electorate and the city manager and staff circumvented voters and spent approximately $12 million dollars. The lastest fiasco is the under construction, Community Center at a mere cost of almost $8 million taxpayer funds. There is probably no way to know how many other projects have been funded without the taxpayers or city council members knowledge. City mangers become powerful because elected officials do not exercise sufficient oversight and establish boundaries for them. Perhaps Palm Coast should consider going to fulltime City Mayor to oversee the city staff.

  7. palmcoaster says:

    There is one very important thing that Jim Landon acquired for the City of Palm Coast and the hundreds of homes values affected by it and was our Palm Harbor Golf Course, that Landon got deeded by Centex to the city, given the revolt and complains in city meetings of the abandonment, tall weeds and closing of the golf course by Centex undermining the prices of our homes while enduring the eyesore. I do not believe any other manager in his place would have achieved that. Thank you Mr. Landon.
    Yes it cost us 5 million of our taxes to repair and reopen but also cost us equal amount of millions the Water Front Park and The Holland Park and Long Creek Preserve and I say “well spent all” . These parks and Golf and Tennis Course and the high schools large Sports Complexes under Landon are worth every penny and is what gives value to our city and our homes. Only Landon being a Texan as I believe he is, could have got us the deed of the Palm Harbor Golf Course from a Texas based Centex..?. For that sure, us all residents around the golf course appreciate him for the value restored to our homes …and now we may be concerned with that gain if he would be gone..? Our Palm Harbor Golf Course is an amenity of our city that like all the other city parks, walk and bike paths sport complexes and 8 millions in a Community Center etc etc. are all sustained by us. Lets do not start chipping out our taxes, for this amenity yes and for the golf course no, depending if the complainer lives east or west of I-95 or plays golf or not. I don’t play golf but love our course makes it for a gorgeous scenery while walking around it. So please lets give credit were credit is due and appreciate to Landon the good things he has done the big one was our Palm Harbor Golf Course!. No one is perfect and sure he has not been very receptive to me either thru the years but his predecessor was much worse and my concern is always what will be stored for us after Landon. Lets be careful what we all wish for…maybe some promise on improvement of Landon’s modus operandi could resolve his permanency in Palm Coast at least for the 2 years left on his contract and by then we could be surprised by a new better Landon. Just my personal feelings as a Palm Coast resident since 1991 and gone thru all the ups and downs after ITT left us and sold out all our amenities.

  8. Knightwatch says:

    I think that Palm Coast runs pretty well. It’s clean, attractive, safe and for me, cost effective. Why all the anti-Landon talK? Surely he gets some credit.

  9. Realist says:

    Landon was never worth the exorbitant salary we paid him. He cannot leave soon enough for me.

  10. Shark says:

    Is Holland still a Republican ?????

  11. Smarterthanmost says:

    Fire him, and don’t even consider paying the next guy $250,000 a year, this isn’t Orlando, Tampa, or Miami. These are our tax dollars, either be more reasonable or realize you will be the next terminated. A voter has spoken.

  12. palmcoaster says:

    I would like to know when this workshop meeting will be held date and time, as I would like to attend. Also will be one of those workshop meetings were the residents are not allowed to speak their 3 minutes or so?
    For one I am concerned about the future of our wonderful Palm Coast amenities if Landon is gone, also about the job security of our city workers as I believe the current city manager was a promoter of doing a lot of the well achieved public works in house employing our own other than contracting out to companies that most the time do not hire our local work force. I wish only that Mr. Landon would have been more open to hear the residents concerns, but in the other hand I have also noticed him attending always the many sports events held around the city and that was also a positive. Lets first evaluate the side effects of any prescriptions to be taken or make sure we have water in the pool before we dive in…

  13. palmcoaster says:

    Also just to be realistically informed, Landon’s salary (even against my own prior words) seems to be in line with other nearby cities of the same population count. This is to be in serious consideration as looks like he is not overpaid as per the data provided a while ago by our Flagler Live:
    Thank you Flaglerlive.

  14. Whatever says:

    Shazam!!! I work for the city! Trust me it’s time or Jim to GO!

  15. Anonymous says:

    We have Landon to thank for our taxes going up and up….apparently there are a few that don’t mind us paying for golf courses that improve their property values that most of us don’t use. If you live on or near the course, pay a special assessment to keep it up!! Landon has been over paid, lied to us and destroyed palm coast and its reputation all while making it miserable to live and work here. If he loved Palm Coast so much he would stay here after his retirement and not have his house up for sale. Wake up Palmcoastet…..what has been good for your property value hasn’t helped my p

  16. palmcoaster says:

    Also the current city manager has won some awards that are not as easy to achieve:

    And how can we understand that In February 2017 the city council gave him a 4 % raise plus 1% automatic yearly increase after 7 years of zero raises and now in July they want to get rid of him..?

  17. Peter A. Cerreta says:

    If l am not mistaken did not the council including the mayor yield to Landon request for a raise in pay and subsequent increases each coming year just a short time ago? What made the council and mayor suddenly wise up?

  18. Palmcoastvoter says:

    Bye Felicia!!!

    I will gladly pay a special tax increase to pay for his departure! Bye bye! The amount of money his arrogance has cost the city of Palm Coast is ridiculous (and probably something we can’t get back). He should be required, as part of his severance package, to write a formal letter of departure to Panera Bread Co., Wal-Mart, and all of the other national brands he had dealings with to apologize and let them know of the new DIRECTION THE CITY IS GOING WITHOUT HIS ANTICS involved! This should be directed by the council and mandated by vote that if he doesn’t write this letter he violates his terms and conditions of employment and no monies will be paid to him because he is in direct violation of his contract!

    Because he is so arrogant, he will not write such a letter, and no money will have to be paid out under his “golden parachute.” The tax payers will be free and clear of him for once and for all! Then he can go vacation with Mr. Moorman and Mr. Nets on a special island of their choice (all of them can get a golf cart to drive them from the handicapped parking spots next to a person in a wheel chair who actually needs the spot, and get to the lounge chairs and steal oxygen from fellow vacationers! They can then share stories of how they wasted money from the city of PC).

    It was always about Landon. He is such a control freak, and everything has to be on his time, but not his dime! He hopefully gets a big ole’ wake up call! Good riddance!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Landon has not been transparent. Because of the council allowing him to run the show our taxes and water costs are sky high! Time for him to go now!!!!!

  20. Telling it like it is says:

    Before Landon leaves a forensic audit needs to be done. Maybe then the successor he is choosing will be going with him….perhaps straight to jail!

  21. John says:

    I think that instead of giving him severance, keep him on until the end of his contract. Put him in a position within the city that will make him work for that money until his time runs out. I have heard and seen a Flagler Live article about dirty bathrooms at city hall. He can stay and keep those nice and clean for the workers there. Or maybe at the waste water plant.

    To give away that kind of money and get nothing from it is ridiculous. Make him work out the remainder and if he doesn’t do as asked, fire him for cause and his eligibility for severance.

  22. palmcoaster says:

    To Anonymous:

    My taxes paid for the cost of additions to the school sports complexes that your kids or grand kids use, also pay for the constructions and maintenance of all our parks on a monthly basis and also for the 8 millions of the new Community Center being built so much requested by our elderly and I do not complain about that use of my taxes…why our amenity Golf Course has to be treated different, just because maybe you do not own a home around it or you do not play golf? I do not use the school costly improved sports complex as do not have children or grand children here, or do not walk much the walkways and parks or probably will not ever use the community center but I am not that little selfish person to denied how important they are to our/ your children and our community and consider that my tax dollars spent on them are well spent! Comments like yours is what concerns me about our Palm Coast quality of life after Landon leaves.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Cuss him if you want, but I have watched Palm Coast grow and be developed and improved on over the years. I don’t know of any municipality in a 100 miles of here that maintains it’s cities infrastructure as well as Palm Coast. I know Mr. Landon is not responsible for everything that happens improvement wise in Palm Coast, but he is tasked with making it all work and come together. You may not like him and improvements cost a lot, but he gets things done and Palm Coast is a beautiful city to look at, and is safer because it is well maintained. I attribute most of this to Jim Landon’s leadership. To be a good leader, your going to piss somebody off, and he has. Everybody wants it “their way” and some people aren’t happy however it is done. When you replace him be careful, he leaves behind some big shoes to fill.

  24. Ramone says:

    So in 2016 he made 168k (totally reasonable for a city of this size) All these people talking about bringing a new manager in for a lot cheaper, you may need to take a look at some of the employees beneath Landon. Would the proposal be to bring the new CM in and have him/her make less than the employees he manages? Or would you also want to cut all the employees pay for no reason? The hard working employees are the backbone of everything that gets accomplished and the city’s most precious resource. Start having some of these employees jump ship and you’ll be sorry.

  25. Flyer1 says:


    That is exactly the point. He is great if you like government focused on itself rather than the community it is supposed to serve. There are many individuals in PC government who are petty and willfully disregard the municipal code in order to see ‘their’ vision of what PC should be. I can only hope that Mr. Landon is the first of many to no longer be employed by the City of Palm Coast/

  26. TreeHugger says:

    By and large I think Jim Landon has done a good job managing this city. He doesn’t have to win a popularity contest to be effective at his job. City councilors come and go, but it’s their job to be a policy board, not do the day to day job of managing the city. If they run him off, we may regret it if the next City Manager lets the city Council try to run the city.

  27. Buck Troesch says:

    I wish to correct my initial comments. People only assume authority and do things unilaterally when those who have a responsibilty to overwatch fail to do so

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