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Palm Coast Council Will Decide Manager’s Future in Extraordinary Workshop on Aug. 3

| July 20, 2017

Palm Coast Manager Jim Landon will not be at the table when the council considers his fate at an Aug. 3 special workshop at City Hall. (© FlaglerLive)

Palm Coast Manager Jim Landon will not be at the table when the council considers his fate at an Aug. 3 special workshop at City Hall. (© FlaglerLive)

Assuming Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon hasn’t resigned by then, the City Council will hold a workshop at 9 a.m. Aug. 3 to discuss his fate, namely, how to end Landon’s 10-year tenure. That workshop is expected to be followed with a special meeting in a matter of days to ratify whatever decision council members reach on the 3rd.

It’s an extraordinary workshop in at least two regards: the council has not held a workshop outside its normal bi-monthly schedule in recent memory. And Landon will not be at the table. Council members, including Mayor Milissa Holland, Nick Klufas and Steven Nobile, want the session to be an opportunity for the members themselves to discuss the matter without interference from Landon, who can be among audience members if he so chooses. The meeting, at the council’s usual workshop venue at City Hall in Town Center, is open to the public.

Four council members want Landon gone, and agreed to set a special workshop at last Tuesday’s meeting. Landon himself, put on notice by Nobile, held individual meetings with all five council members earlier this month, trying to convince them to accept a deal that would have him stay two years longer, until 2019, in exchange for him retiring then, and not costing the city the price of his golden parachute, which would equate to roughly a quarter million dollars. A majority of council members are not interested in what Landon termed his “succession plan,” nor are they interested in letting Landon have a say in choosing his successor. One of Landon’s proposals was to install Beau Falgout, one of his directors, as his successor after his retirement.

Landon is unlikely to resign before the workshop. If he does, he would lose his severance. He has told some of the council members outright during his closed-door meetings with them that, in his words, “it doesn’t matter to me either way.” Staying on his terms would benefit him for those additional two years, he told council members, getting fired would result in his taking his severance.

The council will not make a decision at the Aug. 3 meeting, and absent a special meeting that would have to be scheduled in the interim, it would vote on a decision–if there is a decision to make–no sooner than the regularly scheduled Aug. 16 meeting, almost a month from now.

Nobile said he would want a special meeting scheduled within days of the special workshop. “My plan is not to take action at a regular meeting, either,” he said, but rather following the workshop “having another special meeting for the action.” He said that for a decision of that sort, “we can’t sit around and wait two, three, four weeks, it should be within the next few days.”

Landon’s administration was responsible for scheduling the special workshop, in line with the availability of council members, some of whom were vacationing this week and working out of town the next. Virginia Smith, the city clerk, worked with Mayor Milissa Holland’s calendar and what Smith knew about other council members’ schedules before sending out an email proposing Aug. 3 or 4.

Holland had been under the impression that next week Klufas was either on vacation or out of town. He’s not. “I’m not going anywhere until the end of August,” he said. He was not contacted about earlier dates. “It’s weird that the 3rd or 4th were the first options they gave everybody.” Council member Heidi Shipley went on vacation Tuesday, immediately after the last council meeting, but is returning in time for next Tuesday’s workshop, and would have been in town the rest of the week.(On July 26, Shipley emailed that she would not return until July 28). Nobile and Cuff both said today they were in town the next few weeks. Neither got dates other than Aug. 3 or 4. But Holland, contacted this afternoon, said she would be traveling the latter part of next week, following the workshop, making an earlier meeting impossible.

It’s not clear if Landon had a hand in the scheduling (Smith’s email was cc’d to him), though whether he did or not the end result is that the extended time on the clock may give him an opportunity to further try to sway council members back his way, or to devise a strategy of his own.

The latter date also allows Landon to use up more of the vacation time he’s accrued that exceeds the 130 days he can claim as part of his severance package. Those 130 days are owed him, on top of the equivalent of six months’ pay he’d get in his severance, at his normal rate of pay. He makes a base salary of $175,600, but the golden parachute would reflect the full pay package, which, with deferred compensation and other benefits, would be closer to the annual $226,700. Earlier this month he had 137 accrued personal days days (down from 160 in February), seven of which he would lose if he does not use them before his last day with the city, should he be fired and he becomes eligible for the severance package.

On Tuesday, Landon said the special meeting “sounds great” and that he was “looking forward” to it in order to get what he called “the true story instead of some of the fiction and some of the rumors and misinformation out there.” The Observer asked him if he was referring to the FlaglerLive story, where council members spoke of their displeasure of him. Landon, who has made false claims about local media in the past, claimed he’d not read the FlaglerLive story that first detailed his council members’ intentions.

Though scheduled earlier this week, the Aug. 3 workshop was not posted on the city’s website as of Thursday evening, as is the norm with all other council meetings and workshops, and as is the case with an Aug. 1 meeting. (Notice of the meeting was added on July 21, in capital letters.)

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17 Responses for “Palm Coast Council Will Decide Manager’s Future in Extraordinary Workshop on Aug. 3”

  1. South Florida says:

    Please, just get rid of Landon. He completely could carelcareless about Palm Coast. Or the people that live here.
    He only cared about himself, his family, his home, the damn golf course and the big deep pockets.

  2. Lonzo brown says:

    South Fl, you said it right

  3. Tired says:

    How kind, all the people Landon fired in the past 10 years didn’t get to take their accrued vacation time with them!

  4. Trailer Park Nation says:

    Send him to the land of Red Light Cameras!

  5. Sw says:

    He has his own agenda He has been in office too long Too many bad decisions

  6. Smarterthanmost says:

    So the city council needs a “workshop” on how to fire someone. Too bad the people of Palm Coast can’t have a workshop on how to fire the city council. Collectively the poorest excuses of management in the state.

  7. Just the truth says:

    We don’t need a City overpaid Manager the Netts gave to Landon. Let the Mayor do the job full time and that is all that is needed. Put Landon’s outrageous salary to good use to the citizens of PC and do what the taxpaying citizens want. Netts and Landon never cared about what the citizens wanted they did their own thing and got away with it way too long.

  8. John Yankovich says:

    Get rid of him!!! At one stage of development of municipal government city managers were public servants now they consider themselves Princes of the Realm!! Nettts shud never have given Landen that severance package, another example of OPM! Fire him for insubordination as he pushed the new city hall against the referendum of the people! If he found $10 million dollars lying around to circumvent the referendum. He shud have given it back to the citizens in a property tax refund! We lost control of government when we stopped tar and feathering politicians!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well, it’s about time! He certainly looks like he could care less. Let’s get someone in there that is worth having.

  10. Vinny Reeves says:

    I would like to know more about the manager’s bad judgment. I know the city sponsored golf course was a horrendous boondoogle; but, did he benefit from that in a political way?
    Did he fire anyone for political purposes, without just cause, for retaliation or regarding personal relationships?

  11. RayD says:

    A former County Commissioner once suggested to myself and 2 city council members that they make sure they have the votes lined up , hold a council session late in the day, wait till Landon left and vote him out. However they do it, just do it. Afterwards, please look into the Palm Harbor GC and Tennis Center debacles. I sort of understand the GC mess, it was good money after bad and an inability to properly manage a contract with Kemper and not knowing when to cut and run. But that tennis center just makes no sense for the city. I mean, who does that besides Palm Coast? It should be a private entity.

  12. John dolan says:

    Remove Landon and all the code enforcement gestapo. Palm Coast has turned into we gotcha squad. My 88 year old mother has been harassed for 2years over BS. Was going to shut down air conditioner installation because Sear rating on paperwork. Then no shut off switch on unit(new code) Then citation posted on garage door for no privacy fence around ac unit.The latest violation Our new sod ,which we replaced to repair the damage the city did to our sod ,when they redug our swale was rejected for not matching. No my 3,500.00 sod does not match the crap you replaced it with. Pissed off in PC

  13. South Florida says:

    Take a hint, Landon, leave. We have approximately 100, people in Palm Coast. At least 1/3 is what u might have on your side.
    Your no to good to Palm Coast. Please, go

  14. r&r says:

    The golf course is the best in the county. The city pays out millions for parks, walking paths. boat landings and upkeep etc. and get nothing in return as far as money. The golf course should be left along unless you charge for the use of the walking paths, parks and boat landings. The biggest whiners are non golfers.

  15. Vinny Reeves says:

    Walkers and path users may also be golfers or not. Point is: maintenance for city subsidized golf course is much more expensive then walking paths. Its not about golfers v. Path users. Nice try though:)

  16. Ben Hogarth says:

    While government can be quite complex and even counter-productive at times – the recipe for success still lies with excellent “customer” service. The tried and true framework has always been and always will be, great service to the taxpayers.

    In my opinion, it is a disservice to residents to keep any status quo that is unfavorable. And any leader, after 8 years or more in the Manager’s seat, will lose their mandate.

    It’s the cliche “Live long enough to become the villain” proverb. I will continue to preach the 8 year maximum for the “executive” – as George Washington once did, irrespective of who is in charge.

    I believe that whoever takes the reigns of the City next, needs to have a clear vision and sound judgement. Frivolous waste of taxpayer dollars in forced investments is not the path to prosperity.

    The way forward is reform – and no Jim Landon or “heir apparent” will bring such change.

  17. RayD says:

    According to Golf Advisor, the only course ranked lower than Palm Harbor in Flagler County is Cypress. Both courses have similar layouts and are prone to congestion as a result. Quality aside, it’s the money that was thrown at a losing proposition at Mr Landon”s direction that is the issue, not the quality of the course that is the problem. Add in his arrogance, pomposity, intransigence and long tenure and it’s time for a change. Landon has forgotten about the importance of equity in government and ignored some groups and areas.

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