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How Palm Coast Manager Landon Used a Director’s Departure To Save His Own Job

| September 28, 2017

Palm Coast Finance Director Chris Quinn, in the foreground, with Beau Falgout, a senior member of the city administration, at a July 11 meeting. Two days later, Quinn  applied for a job in Gainesville. The rest of the city's directors are in the background. City Manager Jim Landon, referring to himself as 'their leader,' claimed last week that the council's discussions of his future was unsettling them, and that some of them might leave. (© FlaglerLive)

Palm Coast Finance Director Chris Quinn, in the foreground, with Beau Falgout, a senior member of the city administration, at a July 11 meeting. Two days later, Quinn applied for a job in Gainesville. The rest of the city’s directors are in the background. City Manager Jim Landon, referring to himself as ‘their leader,’ claimed last week that the council’s discussions of his future was unsettling them, and that some of them might leave. (© FlaglerLive)

When Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon went on a nine-minute tirade last week about how the city council would be making a terrible mistake firing him and not taking its time–well, two years, so he’d have time to retire–to find a replacement, he shielded himself behind his directors to make a point: “This whole idea of actually cutting loose the leader of these individuals, I will tell you, they take it hard,” he told the council, “and I’m very fearful, in fact I’m sure very likely we’re going to lose some of them as a result of this process.”

What enabled Landon to claim to be sure that “very likely” some would leave is that he already knew then–but did not tell the council–that one of them, Finance Director Chris Quinn, was leaving.

But as the documented timeline of Quinn’s decision to apply in Gainesville indicates, Quinn’s departure had nothing to do with Landon’s job situation and whether the council would retain him or fire him.

Quinn, the finance director since 2011, applied to be the finance director for Gainesville government on July 13, according to Christopher Beatty, a human resources official in Gainesville government. Quinn applied while Landon himself was still having closed-door meetings he set up with council members to lay out his demands that he be retained and allowed to retire in two years, so it coincided with his granddaughter’s graduation. If there is any linkage at all between Quinn’s decision and Landon’s situation, it would have been precipitated by Landon’s closed-door meetings, word of which was circulating at and beyond City Hall before FlaglerLive reported on them. (That report published on July 14.)

Quinn, a straight-forward, humble counterpoint to Landon’s imperious personality, said he was “looking to grow in my field by working for a larger city with new challenges,” as he put it when he applied to Gainesville. The city has a population of 131,000 and is home to the University of Florida, which swells its population significantly more when school is in session. He had applied there after learning of the opening through the Florida League of Cities, according to his application.

There was another reason Quinn was likely interested in the job: it provides for a $17,000 raise over his current salary of $117,000. (Quinn did not respond to a request for an interview.)

Quinn listed Ray Britt, the former Palm Coast finance director (now retired), and two other professional colleagues from Daytona Beach and Connecticut as his references. Asked if Gainesville could contact Palm Coast, he said “No.”

Quinn was offered the job on Sept. 7. He accepted on Sept. 9, with a starting date of Oct. 9. He then informed Landon, as he had to, in order to provide sufficient notice–and word of his taking the job was already scouring the halls before last week’s evening meeting, when Landon claimed that some of his directors would “likely” leave because of the uncertainty surrounding him. As he has frequently done before, he was making a fact unrelated to his case fit the narrative he was crafting to better serve him.

After Landon’s tirade, the council voted 3-2 to retain him.

The next day, he emailed council members to tell them of Quinn taking the Gainesville job. He made no allusion to his tirade the evening before, but the timing of the email, and its delay, was almost certainly not coincidental, though council member Steven Nobile made clear that Landon’s linkage between his situation and that of his director was untenable.

“The statement that people are going to leave because he’s leaving is ridiculous,” Nobile said.

Quinn’s official last day in Palm Coast government is Oct. 6.

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27 Responses for “How Palm Coast Manager Landon Used a Director’s Departure To Save His Own Job”

  1. Resident says:

    And so the inconsistencies with Jim Landon continue. Come on Palm Coast Council – get rid of rubbish and move on. His talk and his walk is not healthy for the City. Why keep garbage as it will only stink more the longer it stays around.

  2. Politics as usual, small town style…

  3. Why did city council want to fire him?

  4. Jim Landon has three puppets that will keep working the strings until they can be voted out of office. Appears they can’t wipe their own butts without Landon telling them how many squares of paper to use.

  5. LadyHavoc says:

    Sounds to me like some pretty shady stuff. This mayor and everyone else except Steven Nobile don’t deserve their positions.

  6. Chris A Pickett says:

    I still have trash from Irma on my “curb” and this town still has “trash” running it……….

  7. enjoy this says:

    Enjoy this satire:

    Landon: “Don’t fire me, why all of these guys will leave, too! Look at this coward who is leaving at the mere thought of my possible departure.. keep my useless weight around, please! You need me! Don’t you see! You need me! I do things, and stuff, here!”

    Board: “So Jim, what would you say a typical day looks like for you?”

    Landon: “I just kinda try to lay low. I hang out by the coffee maker until 9, then try to duck out early on Friday, and I turn my answering machine off.”

    Board: “Really, wow. Why so extreme?”

    Jim: “Well for starters…I have 8 different bosses!!”

    Board: “Really, 8?”

    Jim: “Yea, 8”

    Baord: “Well what would you say you do, here, Jim?”

    Jim: “I have people skills!! I do things so the secretaries, well they so don’t have to… uhh.. I HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS… What the heck is wrong with you people!!!”

    Board: [eyes wide opened, leaning back & loosening ties, drinking sips of water]

    Jim: “And, why is the copier jammed!! WHAT am I going to do with 80 subscriptions to Vibe (magazine)?”

    A mash up of office space the movie, and their office space the real life. (I think the movie is much better)

  8. Veteran says:

    What the hell do all these high paid directors do?

  9. Sherry says:

    Here again. . . we see the tail wagging the dog. No true HR professional would recommend keeping anyone in such a powerful position under these circumstances. Landon needs to go NOW!

  10. MRC says:

    Oh, please kick him to the curb already. His continued presence in the city government is like poison to the whole system. So what if some of his cronies decide to flee like rats fleeing a sinking ship. Good riddance to them also! If our mayor had any leadership ability, now is the time to show it! Muzzle him and cut off every avenue possible for him to spread his venom. I can’t believe the total lack of any type of leadership in this city’s
    government. They need some REAL leadership, not just posturing and trying to look authoritative!

  11. RayD says:

    I had some contact with Chris. He was patient, polite and very careful about what he said. I think at the time there were some misconceptions about what our neighborhood group was tying to do but he was polite. Mr Landon was not patient or polite. Basically, he sent Chris to cover his bases and move us along.

  12. Jack Howell says:

    Sorry folks, Jim Landon is so full of himself and continues to be obnoxious. He is a shining example of righteous indignation as he touts how important he is in running the government of Palm Coast. He reminds me of a character from the TV show Howdy Doody… Mr. Phineas T. Bluster. I am so disappointed that most of our city council can’t see through his BS.

  13. starryidgirl says:

    Time to DRAIN THE SWAMP, Palm Coast City Council!!

  14. Yourstruly says:

    You are disgusting sir!

  15. Stan says:

    Sounds like we have another Swamp in Palm Coast just like Washington D.C.!!! We need to clean house,no one has a back bone to let one person call all the shots!!!

  16. Sw says:

    He should LAND -ON his backside after being thrown out.

  17. Steven says:

    Time to clean out the snowflakes…………

  18. john dolan says:

    Clean house vote them all out.

  19. John Brady says:

    Picture a place where 4 out of 5 members of the board of directors want to fire an employee and convene a public meeting to ratify that decision. At that public meeting the public was not invited to speak and the person to be fired ran the meeting. The person to be fired explained when he planned to leave and the board of director agreed with his plan.

    No you are not in the twilight zone, you are in Palm Coast

  20. Anonymous says:

    Landon Master manipulator….. Holland Klufas and Cuff……. you’ve been duped……Again

  21. LowJack says:

    Its kind of like the Hobo in the parking lot that ask you for money to guard your car so no one damages it.

  22. Just the truth says:

    Mr. Landon you should be ashamed of yourself, but sure your not because you are only thinking of your own wallet and not the taxpayers of PC. For lying as you did, you need to go now, and let us taxpayers vote you out now.
    PC Mayor Holland needs to address this NOW.

  23. Layla says:

    This man is a bully and a snake.

  24. RUKIDDINGME says:

    The kids @ #FPCH #MHS # Problem Solvers & #i3 Academy have better mangement skills than the City Council and that CON Man Landon.

  25. Resident says:

    You are absolutely correct – let the students take over and see how much better the City runs and probably less expensive too!

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