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Caryn Miller Appointed Flagler Beach’s Acting Manager As Commission Flirts With Stalemate

| September 30, 2010

Caryn Miller, left, was appointed acting manager as Commissioner Joy McGrew again blocked an attempt to appoint Bruce Campbell instead. (FlaglerLive)

In a vote reflecting the conflicts rending the Flagler Beach City Commission’s search for a new manager, commissioners appointed Caryn Miller, their own redevelopment director, acting city manager Thursday night. The 4-1 vote featured Commissioner Ron Vath piped in by phone from an undisclosed location, and followed a discussion that rehearsed commissioners’ arguments as they move uncertainly toward an attempt at a more permanent appointment.

An attempt by Commissioner Steve Settle to appoint Bruce Campbell in the acting manager’s spot failed. Campbell works in the city’s building maintenance department and is one of three remaining candidates for the permanent job.  “It’s a win-win for Campbell, he gets a chance to train, he gets a chance to do what he needs to do,” Settle said. But he had no support.

Libby Kania, the deputy city manager (or assistant manager) was also nominated–by Jane Mealy. That nomination didn’t take.

Miller was one of the 140 candidates who applied for the job after City Manager Bernie Murphy announced his resignation in April. Murphy’s last day was Thursday. Miller was among the final eight who were  interviewed earlier this month. But she did not make the original final cut when commissioners picked their top two choices. One of those top choices—Scott Janke—dropped out after his wife’s porn background became too much of a liability. The commission decided to re-interview three candidates. Miller was not among them. Campbell was.

Thursday’s meeting, like the second round of interviews, was characterized by a growing rift between commissioners—and between members of the commission and a vocal faction in town. The rift is over Campbell, whose supporters have literally campaigned for his appointment and gathered some 450 petitions (some of the names are doubled and some are not from Flagler Beach) on his behalf. Three commissioners have recoiled at the tactic: Joy McGrew, Jane Mealy and John Feind. Campbell says he has neither encouraged nor discouraged his followers.

Vath and Settle appeared willing to give Campbell a go. But the commission needs four votes to appoint its next manager, not three, and the mayor—a Campbell supporter—doesn’t get to vote. So unless two commissioners change their mind, the commission is heading for a stalemate. They say they want to settle the issue in October. That may not be possible if they fail to agree on any of the three remaining candidates (who also include two out of towners: Edward Sealover of Nassau County and Gary Word of Surfside.) Thursday’s appointment of Miller may not be as short-term as commissioners hope if they re-open the application process.

“I said it before and I will say it again,” McGrew said, “it’s still one of my only reservations about Mr Campbell as a candidate: I am not comfortable with the following.” McGrew didn’t want the vote to to turn into a dry run for the permanent manager’s appointment, which she feared a Campbell appointment–as an acting executive–would be.

24 Responses for “Caryn Miller Appointed Flagler Beach’s Acting Manager As Commission Flirts With Stalemate”

  1. John Smith says:

    I support there choice for another interm manager. At least its not Campbell. Thanks City Commissioners Caryn will do a fair job as it needs to be done.

  2. Charlie says:

    Good interim choice, but eventually the Council will need to make a real decision. It was apparent, that during the Wednesday interviews, that Council member Settle , was Campbell’s cheer leader..He was asking questions that “clarified” Mr. Campbell’s position..Almost as it it was planned in advance, and maybe it was.

  3. John Smith says:

    Well Charlie glad to see someone has finally waken up. I totally agree. This a movement for the group to retain the power they lost. thanks for seeing that.

  4. Adrian says:

    Well, there goes the city… down the tube with a 0 experience person who puts on city events. Wow truely amazing. Another example of failed government and a good ole boy (and girl) network. Glad I dont live there anymore.

  5. John Smith says:

    Adrian we are pretty much glad you are gone too. It is government working, they did not let a bunch of people who have their own agenda stick their person in the city. It looks more and more like Settles is showing his colors along with Vath after all of his denying this special interest group. I missed who voted for Miller. Fiend, Mealy, and McGrew knows whats going on and will do their best to stop it from happening.
    Keep up the good work.

  6. Concerned says:

    I think the City Commissioners did the right thing and put Caryn Miller in as an acting manager until they can decide on a final City Manager. This has nothing to do with Caryn, I hope they don’t get complacent in finding a permanent City Manager. However, I have a BIG concern now about Settle’s and Vath vying for Mr. Campbell. I did get to attend the interviews, but I almost feel Mr. Campbell has made a political backing for himself. He stated that he was encouraged to talk to a group in the beginning. Who was the group? I don’t like it because it is not a political seat. What is wrong with starting over and looking again?
    I can’t help but feel someone with no political connections or agendas would be a best choice. I am great at research. I would be willing to get grants for the city for free. This is opportunities that shouldn’t be pasted up.

    A blogger said previously they don’t want events in town. May I ask why? We have young people that have only one event put on a year. Tommy Tant surf competition that’s it. I think we need to bring more events into our town. We do have families here. Put on events for families too. You would bring in revenue for the businesses here that pay taxes. It is not just the elderly peoples town you know. I am not asking for events that help just the bars here in town either. We need to start thinking outside the box? The police in town have very little opportunities to make extra money by working “off duty jobs”. This is how many police officers in other counties make extra money. This is just a few of my concerns. What I am mainly concerned about we have nothing here to keep our children here after college or high school for that matter. We have a wonderful resource, but we are not using it to its potential. We need to start thinking younger. Oh, and a previous blogger said, “the young and middle aged people aren’t concerned about what is going on in our city”. Well you just heard from a middle aged person. So, what will you do with it? Will I even get a response?

  7. Jolin says:

    Caryn is a good choice for interim manager.
    We need someone who has GOVERNMENT management experience.

  8. John Smith says:

    The GROUP that I see mainly pushing him Is the members of the former CONCERNED CITIZENS OF FLAGLER BEACH. CCFB. These are the same people that were supporting Settles, and Settles denies it but I have been seeing different and they have been talking the last few years with Vath, I personally have seen Art Woosley at Vaths house which tells me alot. I am glad that concerned also sees the same thing I see. I am not just trying to strir touble I do just not want to see these people have any kind of power, they can sour this city as they have done a few years ago and thats the truth wether anyone else agrees or not.

  9. Susie Smith says:

    A final message for “John Smith” (“JS”)–Quite apparent is that you, “JS”, have forgotten or perhaps not yet realized that all of us are equal in death. Your use of immature, inappropriate and totally unnecessary sarcastic ridicule indicates to this psychologist that your thought process stops at the amygdala (oldest primative brain, registers emotions “fight, flight or freeze) preventing or continuing synapses to the pre-frontal lobe (cognitive/reasoning), which is the youngest part of the brain (the reason good teachers never use sarcasm or “put-downs” in the classroom.
    I know nothing about a CCFB but deduced that FB stands for Flagler Beach. Are you such a narcissist that you believe you are always right? Perhaps you think that anyone who dares to disagree with you has either been lied to or is so without intelligence (s)he deserves your bullying. Again, perhaps, you might benefit more if you sought help from your spouse or buddy to improve you understanding of professional credentials and capabilities. Just think! You might even be helped to question your unending need to belittle others.

  10. Carolyn says:

    I am not a member of the concerned citizens group, never have. I’d like to think I can make an intelligent decision on my own. I simply went to the “INTERVIEW” to make my decision.
    I personally am sick of City Managers coming to Flagler Beach as their “last” job, for the great income and retirements package.
    What is it that bothers all of you about Mr. Campbell? He has more credentials for running this City than Obama has for running this Country!!!!!
    People are behind Mr. Campbell, because he’s Intelligent, with a varied background necessary to run a city. He LIVES here, He WORKS here. He has the vitality and energy to give us more than 3-4 yrs. before
    retiring….or are some of the Commissioners worried he may make some staff actually PERFORM and meet the goals set forth by the Manager?????
    I have no real problem with the current Manager leaving but I do have a problem with a City Manager hired that NEVER took up residency in Flagler Beach. Isn’t that going against the Charter? Isn’t it a requirement of the City Mgr. position? Just asking~~~~~
    I don’t want to hear he couldn’t afford it…..that is a great paying job, that’s why there were so many applications people!
    I listened to the final applicants….and I don’t know Mr. Campbell at all….I felt he answered every question and concern … with professionalism. He’s much more than an Engineer.
    I feel he would be an asset to Flagler Beach, and New Fresh Face with great ideas, goals. Is that what you’re afraid of? That he will be the “face” of Flagler. He will make us look GREAT.
    Come on, you could do a lot worse, and we have in the past.
    By the way, why do you go out of your way to get people from Outside our community? We have smart, qualified candidates right in front of your face. Stop the attacks, blaming groups, or individual commissioners, and vote on the qualifications of a person right here in your town, who has shown he cares about his town enough to throw his hat in the ring and put up with numerous attacks.
    I don’t know you Mr. Campbell, but I hope you hang in there. This City Needs You! Good Luck!
    From A city resident for over 24 years.

  11. Concerned says:

    Why would a rich retired executive want this hassle?? By the way $70K is nothing compared to what other cities pay their City Managers. So, if you think that is big money research other cities. A previous blogger mentioned he is an Engineer! I just spoke to a female at an Expo recently and she stated, “Engineer’s make terrible Managers” She said, “I can say this because I am one”! As I said before start the process over. There is a hidden agenda here.

  12. John Smith says:

    Well SUE you said it yourself, you KNOW nothing about CCFB. And more than likely you are new to FB or probably don’t even live here, If you were around at their time of power a few years ago they had this city in such termoil and hate that it was terrible. There agenda was to try and get rid of the FD and what ever other service they could. I am all about saving money but I feel you do NOT give away what you have invested money into which is almost 1 million dollars as services to the city and give it to the county. You talk about me being mean, well thats how much you know. If you knew them as I have said I am nothing compared to the way they treated their non-believers. I have been and will always be .on the other side of their rath so don’t try to defend them or feel sorry for them. It is their agenda to get Campbell in to the seat of power or there would not be such a big deal about this situation with the same people pushing for it. The 3 commissioners that are standing up to them were around at that time and KNOW whats up with Campbells being forced on the city. So go try to figure someone else out, maybe Carolyn or maybe she is your friend as your both sound like you are wonderful people who know all but not quite everything.

  13. Jackie Mulligan says:


    I am probably the last person in Flagler Beach who would be a member of the Concerned Citizens.
    my name is Jackie Mulligan and I too remember the days of the turmoil in the city when they were in power.
    When I speak , I speak for myself, as someone who did her own research.

    I went to listen to all the applicants for manager, every one of them and the finalists for the second time.
    My short list was Janke and Campbell.After the fiasco with Janke, I stayed with Campbell.

    I chose him for his longevity in a job, his professional manner, his credentials and last for being a resident of Flagler Beach.

    The manager works for the commission, he does not take orders from anyone but them, not the residents, so I don’t know what people are afraid of.

    And as for the comments that have been going on on this blog, you people sound paranoid, talking about things that are not happening , ‘concerned”is seeing suspicious activity at meetings between realtors and mortgage brokers( my friend of 25 years and I were the realtors at the meeting discussing the candidates,) no ulterior motives here, just 2 long term friends and residents trying to see what is going on.And we are active realtors.

    I have been a resident for approx 28 years served on 2 charter review committees, served as city commissioner , hired one of the longest termed managers Flagler Beach ever had (Greg Mashank, 8years) so I do know what I’m talking about.

    Its time for people to stop tearing this town apart, let the process happen,and let the commissioners have their vote.
    And when you have something to say, say it at a public meeting give your name and when you blog don’t hide behind anonymity, if an issue is that important to you, don’t you think you should stand up and be counted?
    Well count me as a Bruce Campbell supporter.
    Jackie Mulligan

  14. Concerned says:

    Jackie I didn’t say I thought there were suspicious activity between realtors and mortgage brokers. I said, you all were nudging eachother and brown nosing as usual. I not paranoid and if I see the need to say anything at the commissioners meeting you will know my name I don’t care. I have lived here a long time. That is how I know about you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours in this community. If you are not part of that inner circle you won’t make it.

  15. John Smith says:

    Thank you Jackie, well with your endorsement of how it was back then with the CCFB it shows I am serious about trying to keep them at bay and not in power. You are wrong though about the manager working for the commissioners. He does, BUT if a citizen has a problem and wants something done for them he does not have to goto the commission to do it he just tells Bob Smith to take care of it. or just anything that they might not like and just want something done for them thats where I have a problem with Campbell having the supporters that he has. I know for a fact that you yourself have had things done for your company by just a phone call to the manager. I do agree your commission pick the best manager that this city has seen, but it was also the commission that did not like some of his activities and got rid of him. Yes that is why they need to pick someone other than Campbell to avoid all of problems that will follow his pick. I again want to thank you for your quote about the CCFB because I really do not think people know or believe me how bad it was, they think its fighting now they just do not know. I also will say what I have to say to anyone face to face I want to talk too and if they do not like it then to bad.

  16. dilligaf says:

    good day john smith keep them straight .

  17. Running Bull says:

    Private business experience is of no use at all in running any government operation. The one and only goal of private business is to increase profit. Everything else is secondary. that is how our capitalistic system works and to deny it is to show ones lack of knowledge. That is why they exist. Every decision is made with this in mind.
    Government is there to serve the needs of it’s citizens.
    Private business skimps on service, let’s it product get a little shoddy, all in the name of profit.
    We don’t want half the police laid off to increase the City Of Flagler Beaches bottom line.
    Goverment operation and services are not and never should be run like private business.
    The only way one aquires experience in running government is by running government.
    This is why there exists a Master of Business Administration degree and a Master of Governmental Administration degree at all of our higher education instutions.
    Get a Masters Degree in Governmental Administration and take it to General Motors and see where you fit.
    After this complete cluster **** it is time for everyone to relax. Go to neutral corners for a few months. Then, start the process again and do it right. Spend $35 per canditate on-line and vet them. Everyone now has faces full of egg – time to clean up.

    Mr. Campbell appeared at his second interview as if he was a lock and entitled to the job. Personally, with my PhD in Psychology, I would question the ego strength of an individual who was supposedly a very big wheel in the private sector and then went to work digging holes and taking orders. This seems to be either an agenda or a mental breakdown. Has his written resume been correctly vetted? Anyone can say anything on paper.
    Mr. Settle, sadly, is not the same man that knocked on my front door several months ago. He now carries himself around with a completely different bearing. I think we voters made a mistake on that one.
    We need to start correcting that today. He carried on like he was the PR rep for Campbell, very odd.
    Mr. Vath has made a mockery of the whole process. He lies to the very citizens he is suppose to represent. Gone for 2 months and has the gall to voice his opinion on anything. He is a must go in the next election.
    Maybe Ms. Miller would be a good interim until after the next city election. Let all this dust shake out and start over. No choice at this time would be a wise move for the city.

  18. John Smith says:

    Well said RB, Well Said. Need to say NO MORE. You understand the very problems that I have brought up. I thank you.

  19. LocalBusiness says:

    Caryn Miller should not be the acting City Manager. She uses her city involvement to funnel business into the Golden Lion which is not appropriate for a city official. A City Manager should be interested in the good of the community as well as ALL of the businesses within that community. She seems to think the Golden Lion is the only spot in town to go to. Whether she works there or not, it’s just not appropriate. It just seems to me that her bias is her own pocket and well, we’ve had enough of that to last us a century in Flagler Beach. It’s too bad because besides her flustered, stressed out way of trying to run events downtown, she’s a nice person but a terrible person for the City Manager job.

  20. JoAnne Ricardi says:

    Hopefully, tonight is commission decision night on the city manager for Flagler Beach. Caryn Miller is the acting city manager, not interim. The City Atty made that clear at the last meeting. I hope that the commission will finish their job tonight and give Flagler Beach their own city manager. If they get to three votes for one person maybe one of the other two will make a 4th so they can move on.

  21. John Smith says:


  22. Ima Cheekspreader says:

    Mr. Smith, a member of your own “crew” has ratted you out. Don’t get fired up; throw some water on the fire if you know what we are saying. Of course you have plenty of paper towels to sop up the water. Do not disgrace your colleagues.

  23. John Smith says:

    Guess you need to spred someone else but because you all don’t impress me either. Go try your bull—- on someone else.

  24. Ima Cheekspreader says:

    We now hear you are quietly talking around with your “crew members” as to who has blown the whistle (siren). This is only a “first alarm”. Whatever was done to this person, they are ready to go public. The fire is hot. Your mama taught you not to play with matches. You all should know better. Don’t burn yourself. You don’t wanna get “hosed” if you know what I mean.

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