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A Frustrated Shipley Will Not Run Again For Palm Coast Council, But Ex-Mayor Netts Eyeing Her Seat

| October 12, 2017

Foroemr council member and mayor Jon Netts, right, may want to be in the picture again alongside Steven Nobile and current mayor Milissa Holland, but Heidi Shipley, fourth from left, is calling it quits at the end of her one term. (© FlaglerLive)

Foroemr council member and mayor Jon Netts, right, may want to be in the picture again alongside Steven Nobile and current mayor Milissa Holland, but Heidi Shipley, fourth from right, is calling it quits at the end of her one term. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 4:45 p.m.

Frustrated by a split council and dissatisfied with what she sees at City Hall, Palm Coast City Council member Heidi Shipley said today she will not run for a second term next year.


And Jon Netts, the former mayor who served on the council for 15 years, said he was mulling a run for Shipley’s seat—or for that of Greg Hansen, the Flagler County commissioner. Netts spoke of his interest in running again in an interview on Wednesday, before Shipley told a reporter today that she would not be running again.

There was also word that George Hanns, who served on the Flagler County Commission for 24 years, was interested in Shipley’s seat. But Hanns is not in Shipley’s district, and if he were to run for a council seat—a possibility Hanns is entertaining—it would likely be only for mayor, he said, and only if current Mayor Milissa Holland were to not run again.

Shipley’s decision is not a surprise. She has been at the losing end of a growing number of 3-2 votes, alongside Steven Nobile. She has sought to fire City Manager Jim Landon, unsuccessfully, and has spoken critically of his managerial style, and more recently was unhappy with the council’s raising taxes and approving a foot path through the F Section opposed by residents along the path. Shipley’s District 2 includes the F Section.

“If Netts gets in we don’t even have a city council at that point,” Shipley said. “We might as well let them do whatever they want. But I am not going to run again. I’ve seen too much that—things right now aren’t making me happy in the city. I just don’t want to be a part of it anymore.”

Asked to give examples, she said: “I don’t want to say. Right now things that are happening in city hall are just wrong. It’s not about the people anymore. I can’t say without other people getting hurt, you know, so I don’t want to say anything.”

In the past, Shipley has attempted to advocate on behalf of certain employees by bringing certain matters to the manager’s attention only to be shut down and told it was not her place. When asked if current dissatisfaction had to do with internal or external matters, Shipley said: “The people who work in the city pretty much have to do what they’re told and there’s no recourse for them at all, and the people in the city, I just don’t see that it’s about them anymore.”

The body language says it all: relations between City Manager Jim Landon and Council member Heidi Shipley have not been smooth. (© FlaglerLive)

The body language says it all: relations between City Manager Jim Landon and Council member Heidi Shipley have not been smooth. (© FlaglerLive)

Shipley was opposed to the city’s tax increase in the budget just passed, and specifically to the city going ahead with the addition of a costly “splash park” at the just-renovated Holland Park. (The city’s capital improvement plan includes $3.4 million in additional spending at the park in 2019). She had joined Nobile in opposing a footpath under Florida Power and Light high-power electric lines in the F-Section, pushing instead for a temporary sidewalk along Old Kings Road, but Landon and the council pushed back, going ahead with the footpath. She was at the losing end of a 3-2 vote to fire Landon in mid-September, and last week was at the losing end of a 3-2 vote to hire Southern Strategy Group, the lobbying firm that had employed Holland several years ago.

More than anything, Shipley has felt defeated by Landon and the other council members circling wagons around him. “Landon he just needs to go,” Shipley said. “At this point, it’s more like he makes the rules. If you’re not going to fire him and he knows that it gave him more power than before the vote, so at this point he’s going to do whatever he wants.”

Landon would not be altering his style so much as intensifying it, however: he’s always run the council, as opposed to being run by it. The council’s decision to accede to his wish to remain until 2019, even though all five council members agree that it’s time to end his tenure, has further encrusted his hold on both his job and the council and clearly played a role in Shipley’s decision not to run again.

Netts was part of the council that hired Landon and ratified his contract 10 years ago, with its near-quarter-million-dollar pay package and colossal golden parachute—the parachute that has given existing council members pause regarding firing Landon, as they are hesitant to incur what would amount to close to a $200,000 severance. Netts’s return to the council would be like supplemental insurance for Landon, though Netts’s interest in returning, he said, is to put his experience to use again and bring back a sense of “vision,” which he says the current council lacks.

“Experience does count for something,” Netts said. “You find that out as you listen to the inexperienced council members, past and present. They don’t understand some of the issues.”

Netts has been attending council meetings and workshops and addressing the council along the way as one of the front-row few who attend almost every meeting, and speak on most issues. He’s clearly missing being involved. He was just re-appointed to the Palm Coast Code Enforcement Board, a seat he held just before being elected to the council in 2001. He’s still a  member of the Florida Inland Navigation District. His analytical grasp of issues is still difficult to rival. But Netts will turn 76 as the campaign heats up next spring, has served a decade and a half, and would represent a sort of counter-reformation to how Holland and fellow-council member Nick Klufas have been presenting themselves—as the next generation of council members ready to take the city beyond its founders’ well-trimmed but static dynamics.

princess place covered bridge george hanns

George Hanns has been enjoying retirement, getting bridges and reefs named after him and still getting named to several boards, but he says he would consider a run for Palm Coast mayor under certain circumstances.

Netts was asked directly about whether it could be argued that he’d had his time, and that he should cede the way to the next generation. “That’s a very cogent, very strong, very meaningful argument,” he said. “The reality is, does he have anything new to bring? I think I do.”

Holland had been Netts’s protegée as a county commissioner and during her run for mayor. But she’s been seeking to carve her own path. While it may appear that she’d be welcoming an old ally, her push during last year’s campaign was for Klufas, the youngest member of the council ever to win a seat on a body until then more inclined to look like a bridge club than a government body (Klufas is not yet 30), and her push in next year’s campaign is in favor of more like him.

Netts is also interested in Hansen’s county commission seat—a seat he applied for in the wake of Commissioner Frank Meeker’s death last year. Gov. Rick Scott made the appointment, eventually choosing Hansen, who had no elected office experience but counts Texas Sen. John Cronyn, a powerful Republican, as a family member with pull at the governor’s office.

Shipley’s decision not to run again ensures that turnover will continue at the council, which got three new members last November, and may get two more next year, depending on whether Steve Nobile runs, or is re-elected. His seat in District 4 is also up.

“I haven’t decided yet,” Nobile said of running again, when reached in late afternoon. “There’s really only one hitch right now, and it’s the possibility I may be moving to a different area in Palm Coast and I wouldn’t be able to.” He said he wouldn’t want to run then resign because of residency issues.

He had not heard of Shipley’s decision, but was not surprised. “I can see where she’s disheartened,” Nobile said. “She didn’t seem like this was her forte, so I would have guessed that but I would have hoped she maybe held it out a little longer because she’s good for the people, she really listens. I just wish she had a stronger voice because she really has that compassionate component when she deals with the public.” As for how Shipley’s decision might influence his own, he said: “That motivates me to stay in more than it does to get out, because I’d hate the vote to go to 4-1 or 5-0. There’s got to be a voice in there for opposition.” He added: “I just don’t like a council that just sits around and says yeah to whatever is proposed to them.”

Netts, Nobile said, is “a great politician, I think he’s done some wonderful things for the city, but I think it’s time to let go and let new people make those decisions for the city.” He can still have a voice, Nobile said–on the code enforcement board.

Shipley’s decision, creating an open seat, is almost certain to lead to a slew of candidates attempting to fill it, assuming they’re not intimidated by a Netts candidacy.

As for Hanns, the former county commissioner, a return to the county commission seems improbable, and he had not given thought to Shipley’s seat—he’d have to move a few blocks from his Belle Air Drive home in Palm Coast to qualify for it anyway—but he has been thinking about the mayor’s seat.

“I must say that I miss being involved in what we’re doing and people call on me quite often for opinions on things, many of them are elected officials, so I really appreciate that,” Hanns said, enumerating the many boards he now serves on—Humane Society, the library, the Flagler Auditorium.

“Let’s put it this way, if I do decide to do it, I’ll give you a call, and not just for that, for any position. Who knows, Milissa may not run again,” Hanns said, stressing that he was not interested in what he considers a lesser position as a council member, but would run for mayor. “I might consider that, yes, because how can I say it? I guess my traits throughout my lifetime I’ve been more in leadership positions than a follower and that might be something of interest.” But, he said, “I would never run against my friend’s daughter, and that’s Milissa Holland.”

Netts and Hanns both reacted to the possibility the other would run the same way: Netts criticized Hanns for being eternally critical of the city, and Hanns criticized Netts for being eternally critical of the county. 

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58 Responses for “A Frustrated Shipley Will Not Run Again For Palm Coast Council, But Ex-Mayor Netts Eyeing Her Seat”

  1. Yeah we need more left wing people trying to tell us how to live. We got rid of him only because his term was up. Keep voting in people who cater to themselves instead of to us. The taxpayers have voted against stuff and they go ahead and find a way to do it all the time. No City Hall, but lo and behold we have a city hall that only works for them. Spends our money like a bunch of drunks.

  2. I have had more than enough of Netts

  3. Just the truth says:

    Please let us taxpayers vote on whether we want Netts again. It would be refreshing to have new blood run this city. Out with the old including Landon and in with the New.

  4. Jim Landon is the one that needs to go.

  5. Linzey Chaffin says:

    Don’t give up Shipley
    We don’t need netts again to plant more trees to suck up our water

  6. starryidgirl says:

    NOOOO, please Jon Netts – STAY retired!!!

  7. Al Bohr says:

    They all need to go! New Blood!

  8. blondee says:

    Oh please no.

  9. Ray Douglass says:

    I don’t blame her. Low pay for a lot of work.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hey I like that spiked hair on the center top of Steve’s head. Now we all need to put our heads between our legs and kiss our butts goodbye. Steve cannot bring common sense to this council alone. Shipley is the only one that apparently realizes that Landon works from the council and not the other way around. The same problem exists on the Board of County Commissioners. Most don’t want to make waves and risk getting bumped from their throne….how sad.

  11. Terminus says:

    This is a shame. Really. I hope she reconsiders and doesn’t give into the bullying tactics of those that try silencing her. She was elected. She has every right to bring to light issues that affected her district, town, community, etc. By giving up he wins. Don’t let him win by thinking he can silence a dissenting voice. We need more people like Shipley and less people like Landon and Netts.

  12. From the article: “I’ve seen too much that—things right now aren’t making me happy in the city. I just don’t want to be a part of it anymore.” Asked to give examples, she said: “I don’t want to say. Right now things that are happening in city hall are just wrong.”

    As a sitting city councilor it’s Ms Shipley’s duty to let us, the residents, know what is “just wrong” in city hall. No one asked her to run for office, but as long as she holds the position, she should represent, and speak for, the residents.

    • Heidi will do the right thing. Why do you think she doesn’t want to continue. It’s a bunch of toxic people on the counsel who don’t care about citizens but Heidi does. All dam politics are corrupt and if you don’t turn into one of them, then there’s no place for you. To much stress trying to do the right thing and having no one back you when your trying to do right by the people.

  13. USA Lover says:

    No more Netts please.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Holland said after Hutson whipped her butt that she would not hold public office again……Heidi, please don’t let us down. Landon is on the way out and in a couple of years maybe Cuff, Holland and Dufas will will replaced.

  15. James Roach says:

    For God’s sake keep Netts out!! No more old blood.

  16. Need a youth movement!

  17. Chip says:

    All this drama and we get are getting a14% tax increase. Fed govt says there is no inflation, so no ss increase so how am the retired going to pay for this????

  18. tulip says:

    I think that if Landon was gone, Netts might be a good idea for council man. He wouldn’t be under the Landon influence, knows Palm Coast inside and out, might be able to teach Klufas a few lessons in gonvernment and be able to explain a lot of things to the public that no one on that council can do, because they don’t know the history and background of a lot of issues past and present. Klufas seems to rely on Holland way too much and seems to vote as she wants him to. Each council member must have his or her own opinions and be able to express them and vote as they feel is right, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

    People may disagree with a councilperson’s opinion now and again, but if that person thinks his own way and is consistent, he or she will win voters respect. What voters don’t want is the impression that some join forces with each other or cast a vote depending on whether it will get votes or not.

    This will be interesting to see what happens,

  19. Jack Howell says:

    This is a fascinating bit of news that you have posted. While I like Jon Netts, his time has come and gone. Maybe he needs to look at other opportunities. The most prominent issue that I see with the current council is that three of them are loyal to Jim Landon. This means that, for the most part, Landon has been the star of the show and got his way. I am a little disappointed in Ms. Holland as I thought she would be putting Landon in “checkmate”. Apparently, Landon is the stronger personality in their relationship. Mr. Klufas, or as I prefer to call him Clueless, is still in diapers and has little experience with dealing with a bully like Landon. The bottom line is that few on the council understand the concept of how a city manager/city council is supposed to work. Politics 101 makes it pretty clear. The city manager works for the council—period! Anybody who has taken a course in American National Politics knows this except those serving on our council.

    Our city needs new blood to serve on our council. Heidi did her best as did Steve but the constant 3-2 votes polarised the council. The only positive thing is that Landon is on his way out. Just how many more financial horrors and mismanagement will happen in his waning days God only knows.

    I have a sense of civic duty; I am mulling over a thought to run for this seat on the council. I would not accept a salary but instead, donate it to charity. I have a strong personality, am a team player. I am Tacful yet blunt at times. And, I pride myself on my integrity. No doubt, I would do everything possible to neutralize the influence and span of control of Landon. My problem is simple. Do I want the stress?

  20. KMedley says:

    Yet another reason for a Charter Review by citizens. This could and should be stopped.

  21. Sw says:

    Vote them ALL out

  22. Clean house and start over. Get the good ole boys out of power.

  23. Realist says:

    All these politicians need to be retired. The last thing we need is Netts back.

  24. LadyHavoc says:

    Oh man, don’t do this to us Shipley, you too Nobile. We need you as the voice of the people and to try and keep these other idiots in check. I once saw our former mayor Netts in Lowes looking around like he was lost and confused and didn’t know where the heck he was, and this was years and years ago, don’t need him in any position of power. I definitely think there should be an age limit to these kind of positions. NO NETTS, NO HOLLAND, NO KLUFAS, NO LANDON. They all need to go!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    He’ll no! Netts are you serious? What happen did he run out of self importance? Go back under your rock. WE DON’T WANT YOU!!!

  26. Jim Sheehan says:

    Christ almighty, didn’t we get our fill of Netts when he was mayor??? And then we wonder why things never change around here.

  27. Joy Cook says:

    Hell no. Get rid for these old folks out of the good old government here

  28. Tom Jones says:

    Until such time as the Charter form of government in Palm Coast is changed from Council-Manager to Mayor-Council we will continue to be controlled by BUREAUCRATS like Jim Landon. Change the Charter – divvy Landon’s salary between the Council seats and let’s elect vibrant PROFESSIONAL “representatives” rather than OLD retirees with NOTHING better to do like John Netts.

  29. Sad we can’t keep the ” new blood”… we need it !!!

  30. Andy says:

    Ha! I love all the name calling at Mr Klufas. Twenty bucks says he could talk charter, code and infrastructure circles around those mudslingers :)
    Wait, let me join in…Doodoo head! Did I win?

  31. Born and Raised Here says:

    There should be a term limit on politicians. Ex Mayor Netts has been there, done that.

  32. Cyd Weeks says:

    I don’t see him winning..but whatever.

  33. Don’t give up Heidi. You matter and are appreciated by many citizens. I understand your frustration but it will be a lot worse without you. Run for Mayor We need a smart woman who can run this town

  34. Flatsflyer says:

    John has done nothing on the Code Enforcement Board, he drives past three or four major violations daily, a Ford Explorer without license plates sitting for 3 months on Cimmiron Drive, a vacant house that has deteriorate for 5 years on Cochise Court, a boat own by a Deputy Sherrif on Cimmiron that’s parked in the sale overnight every weekend. I could list 10 more violations but guess I should be happy with the Cities mean spirited ways of dealing with garage sale and open house signs. Either he his blind to these violations or special interests and frienships allows these violations to continue. Net’s had his time and needs to get out of politics and learn to enjoy his remaining years. Heidi, please reconsider your decision, you have been a breath of fresh air in the swamp (Cesspool) we call City Hall.

  35. Layla says:

    We need to term limit Nets. Heidi, don’t give up!

  36. Tom Hodgin says:

    All about POWER….bring in Real CONTRACTORS to clean up your streets and sidewalks so it will be safe to drive and walk on them again….

  37. Just the truth says:

    Heidi please hang in there, as you can see from others comments NO ONE wants Netts back, we had enough of him wasting our taxpaying dollars. We don’t want him or Landon anymore.

  38. Layla says:

    Chin up, Heidi. Nobody said this would be easy. Many people are behind you. Do not lose Hope.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Stay don’t go Heidi. Hanns or Jack would be GOOD for the city.

  40. Sarah Sieling says:

    After the mayor and all of the City Council except for Mr. Noble, voted to allow a Miami developer to build almost 400 cheap, low rent, small apartments on property adjacent to single family homes in the K section, I have no sympathy for Shipley. She doesn’t care about the residents so glad to see her go.

  41. Percy's mother says:

    1. LIFE LESSON: Know when to step away and move on!!!! That goes for Netts, Hillary, John McCain, Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein (who announced she’s running again and will be in her 90s if she wins again). All these people have had their time. Move on, please, the lot of you. Know when it’s time to leave.

    2. We need a NEW mayor. The current mayor is in way over her head, and has/had no real qualifications. Someone needs to run for mayor . . . how about Heidi Shipley??? or Nick Klufas?? The current mayor can go back and work for the lobbying company she just helped hire for the City of Palm Coast. From what I remember, she was also a protege’ of Netts . . . same old, same old.

  42. Just the truth says:

    NO MORE NETTS, NO MORE LANDON, THEY HAVE DONE ENOUGH DAMAGE TO PC.

  43. Edith Campins says:

    She has been ineffective.

  44. tulip says:

    Klufas or Shipley to run for mayor? They aren’t even knowledgeable or effective or involved as council persons. Holland has been a disappointment. I very seldom watch the council meetings anymore because it’s basically Landon running the show and the mayor giggling a lot or just doesn’t seem to be all that involved., and she, Cuff and Klufas appear to vote as a block. I remember Holland on the BOCC and she was competant, knew her issues and spoke her real mind, and was involved. Not anymore

  45. Concerned Citizen says:

    What Palm Coast needs is a major clean out.

    Get rid of Landon and most of your problems are gone. Next to go is the Mayor. She just doesn’t seem to get it or has been so cowed by Landon that she can’t do her job.

    I had high hopes for Klufas but he quickly aligned himself with Mayor Holland. Probably needed the protection from Landon and Nobile. I don’t think having Netts back is going to solve anything.

    We need a City Manager and City leadership with ties to the community that understand the real issues. They need to move Palm Coast forward and address critical issues.

    I understand that Palm Coast was supposed to be a “retirement community” While I certainly respect our retirees that to has changed and we need a new vision for the current times.

    Voters need to start holding our elected leaders accountable. Ask questions write emails. Look at the major impact a recent article had on the city about signage? It squashed it so we can make and force change. It all starts with us.

  46. squirrel says:

    Why not let the republican nominees for city mayor get a chance to run for this Council seat?

  47. squirrel says:

    Having Landon and Nets on the same team would be like having Thelma & Louise and we know that the end result will only be that they’ll take this County down.

  48. woodchuck says:

    Please,nooooooooooooooooo!

  49. Dhezcah says:

    Sometimes the elctorial processes in Flagler County show just how backwards this County is. Whether it’s running for county commissioner or city council there is no listmus test for competency, anyone can run and anyone can win. The elections are nothing more than a popularity contest and sometimes we settle for the lesser of to inferior candidates. It a sad state of affair when council people can not grasp even the basic principles of government.

  50. palmcoaster says:

    Reconsider Heidi….c’mon!

  51. anon says:

    Hey, as long as the person has a R besides their political choice, correct? They can do ANYTHING, including paying contractors $400,000 to ‘try’ and get ATT, Sprint, Verizon, etc. to add more celltowers, they can spend $400,000 on canvas covers at parks (all of these without a bidding process or looking for taxpayer saving contractors). Why not vote for me, then? I don’t have a R besides my name (no such thing as a fiscal conservative republican anyway – they just up the taxes on you to spend more). I won’t do that. lol

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