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Bunnell’s Manager Candidate Wants $10,000 More Than City Is Offering, Plus Extra Benefits

| July 2, 2018

Martin Murphy, right, reflected in a commission chamber window during his interview with Bunnell's commissioners last month. His contractual demands are not resonating with commissioners. (© FlaglerLive)

Martin Murphy, right, reflected in a commission chamber window during his interview with Bunnell’s commissioners last month. His contractual demands are not resonating with commissioners. (© FlaglerLive)

For a job candidate who barely squeaked through with a 3-2 vote, Martin Murphy is making quite the demands in his counter-offer: The prospective Bunnell city manager is asking for $90,000 a year, almost seven weeks’ paid vacation, and an immediate start to his health benefits, as opposed to waiting three months as do other employees in the organization.


Murphy has been in contract negotiations with the commission’s attorney since last week, when divided commissioners voted to offer him the job. But he’s making demands at variance with the offer, prompting a special meeting this evening when commissioners will decide whether to meet his demands, reject them, or move on to different candidates.

John Sowell, the swing vote who gave Murphy the majority he needed to get the offer last week, is making it clear that he’s not willing to meet Murphy’s demands. “I’m there tonight to negotiate. If he doesn’t want to negotiate, then we’ll find somebody else,” Sowell said.

The job was advertised for $75,000 to $80,000. Murphy was making $77,000 at his last job, according to the figure he provided in his job application. That job ended last October.

“My unique qualifications as an ICMA-Credentialed Manager as well as my designation by the American Institute of Certified Planners bring significant expertise and added value to the position at a time when the City’s recent western annexations have created an ideal opportunity for the City to define its own destiny,” Murphy wrote the commission on June 28 (by way of the city attorney), even though he was negotiating with the attorney. “For these reasons, I believe my contribution on this job would be worth between $86,000 – $90,000 in compensation.”

The job provides for the standard 28 days of paid vacation or personal time off. Murphy wants 33 days. On termination, the proposed contract calls for paying Murphy accrued leave time of up to 40 days. He wants 50 days. He’s asking for $1,200 in relocation costs.

For comparison’s sake, County Administrator Craig Coffey started at 20 days of “leave” time a year, and now–after 11 years on the job–gets 26 days. Palm Coast’s Jim Landon gets 30 days.

“We’ll have an interesting discussion at workshop,” Commissioner John Rogers said, referring to tonight’s special meeting. He and Mayor Catherine Robinson had voted against hiring Murphy. “It’s clear that he doesn’t know Florida law like he should, so I don’t know, I’m going to wait for this meeting tonight and listen to what my colleagues have to say and we’ll go from there.” Rogers had concerns about Murphy’s understanding of Florida-specific laws such as the open-,meetings law, while others had wondered about his lack of a Florida driver’s license even though he worked in New Port Richey as an assistant city manager for almost a year. “I need more information at this point and the workshop is going to handle that tonight,” Rogers said.

Murphy does not consider himself a permanent resident of Florida, but of New York, where he still has a driver’s license and a house. He only rents in Florida “and currently returns to New York on a very regular basis,” City Attorney Wade Vose told commissioners in an email last week. But at least one commissioner’s concern over the lack of a driver’s license–“I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t have a Florida drivers license,” Robinson said–prompted Murphy to acquire a Florida license last week.

Commissioner Elbert Tucker also found it odfd that Murphy had spent as much time as he did in Florida without getting a license, but was more concerned about the disparity between what the city offered and the number Murphy counter-offered.  “Perhaps he could prove himself before he goes above and beyond what we’ve offered,” Tucker said.

That’s what Flagler Beach City Manager Larry Newsom did: he was hired at $92,500, and after shepherding the city through a hurricane, commissioners offered a 30 percent raise.

“I don’t know how we can go beyond what we’ve already offered, we voted on that,” Tucker said. He is for negotiating further.

“I’m not going to support 90,” Sowell said. “We can’t start him there. I’d rather start a new search before we offer 90.” Sowell said Tom Foster, the police chief currently serving as the interim manager, is capably managing the city and could continue to do so until the commission found a manager it can agree on. But Murphy also has all the qualifications Bunnell asked for, Sowell said. “He has a decent track record,” Sowell said. “Virtually everybody that applied has been fired from somewhere. You’ve got to expect that from a city or county manager, it’s an inherently political position.”

As other commissioners noted, Sowell sees Murphy’s demands as a negotiating tactic, one aimed at pushing the commission to the upper end of the job’s salary range. But for now, commissioners appear to have little appetite to go beyond $80,000.

As for immediate health benefits, Wade Vose, the city attorney negotiating with Murphy and researching various contractual issues, told the mayor that the city’s personnel policy would have to be changed to allow for the benefits to kick in immediately for the manager but not for other employees. “Of course,” Wade wrote Robinson today, “this does not mean that the City Commission must do this, but it appears to be within the latitude of the City Commission to do if we document it properly in our personnel policies.”

The special meeting of the commission is at 6 p.m. at Bunnell City Hall, 201 West Moody Boulevard.

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33 Responses for “Bunnell’s Manager Candidate Wants $10,000 More Than City Is Offering, Plus Extra Benefits”

  1. Really says:

    Jim Landon wanna be. Tell him no revoke offer move on…..

  2. Keep Flagler Beautiful says:

    And the gravy train just keeps on chugging its way around Flagler County. Disgusting.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This guy is really pushing his luck. The job was advertised at a certain salary, that’s what you get. Don’t like it, find another place to work. 7 weeks vacation? There are hardworking people who get NO vacation time in their jobs.

  4. Agkistrodon says:

    The way things seem to work in Flagler County, Bunnell will triple his counter offer giving him 30,000 more, and give him more benefits than he is asking. Looks like they decided on the “best” person for the job. Wake up people.

  5. Ready says:

    OK, Mr.Murphy was supposedly making $77,000 at his last employment and is asking for $90,000 before getting the job plus extra vacation leave and health benefits to start immediately. I would inform Mr. Murphy he is receiving a 4% raise to his previous salary I would reject the extra vacation until he has met certain goals to be set within 30 days after employment at the commissioners approval of employment and he most likely has medical coverage from his previous job which can be confirmed so he must wait as all employees are required to do. If this is not acceptable then on too the next prospect!

  6. tulip says:

    Murphy knew what the pay scale and benefits were before actually applying for the job. He also wants immediate benefits to which the commissioners would have to change the policy for this person but exclude other employees? He doesn’t live here? Sounds like a big mistake has been made to hire a NY person who still considers it his home that he frequently returns to and doesn’t have a Fl driver license? Sounds like an arrogant egoist and I think Bunnell’s commissioners better sit back and reflect on this particular choice very very seriously. Too many dumb choices have been made my the leaders of Flagler County in general over the past few years.

  7. JonQPublik says:

    OMG. LOL!
    I’d tell him to walk.

  8. atilla says:

    It sounds like this guy was trained by Coffey.

  9. Anonymous says:

    There’s plenty of other people who can do the job. Save the taxpayers money that can be used for other things and hire somebody who wants to work.

  10. Anonymous says:

    A quarter of the work force gets no vacation time.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/by-the-numbers-the-american-vacation/

    City councils, city managers, etc. meet a few times a month. Millions of people are working full-time in this country who get no vacation time. When you serve the public, you have to make some sacrifices and should not just be in it for the pay and benefits.

  11. GladIMoved says:

    Why did he apply for a job that apparently wasn’ t good enough for him, I can see a little negotiating but come on now! Thanks but no thanks and move on!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I guess he want’s to retire the 3rd day on the job and draw his 10 year retirement {Drop Program} in a lump early, with his monthly retirement checks to come in the same envelope as his pay check does to save the City money on postage. I believe that is how Sally Sherman is getting it done, Right?
    Lose this greedy bum now before he changes his name to Coffey and he’ll be harder to get rid of than one of those new STD’s.

  13. John Dolan esq. says:

    I would think you first prove your able to cut it before making ridiculous demands. If you think these good ol’ boys are going for that crap your crazy. Most managers try to manage people like this guy. You have to lead people not manage them.

  14. Ready says:

    Correct Anonymous!

  15. palmcoaster says:

    Offer made should stick on firm…and a health benefit kicking from the start when the rest of employees have to wait 3 months? 7 weeks vacation ..wow? I would say “Heat the road Jack” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8Tiz6INF7I

  16. Trailer Bob says:

    He can keep his current health insurance coverage via COBRA. End of conversation. I came here to get away from New Yorkers, come on now. Tell this guy to take a walk…with NO pay.

  17. Concerned Citizen says:

    If he doesn’t like the offer move on to another candidate.

    In regards to the commissioners remarks ” he had all the qualifications we were looking for” I don’t believe he did. he did not have Florida experience.

    If Tom Foster is “capably” managing the city now why not offer him the position permanently. You have someone who knows the city and already is gaining managerial experience.

  18. Linda Johnsen says:

    You people are nuts. Florida is a Right to Work State with a minimum wage of about $8.00 an hour. Tipped workers make a lot less!! This dude wants above $75.00 an hour. Do the math. Absolutely Ludicrous!! Massive perks and benefits as well. No wonder this State is like a crumbling cookie.Disgusted!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    You people are nuts!! Florida is a Right To Work State with a Minimum Wage of about $8.00 an hour, unless you are tipped and than it is much less. You are willing to pay some dude well above $75.00 an hour at a 30 hour work week and all of those perks and bennies as well!!?? No wonder the State is like a crumbling cookie!!
    Disgusting!!

  20. Bob Newyork says:

    Hey look, Mr. Murphy floated around little upstate N.Y. municipalities and did not stay in one long enough to be deemed a loyal government servant. Those little towns are about equivalent to Bunnell. He wants to negotiate with another little town? Go for it boys and girls strap em on and tell him NO.
    i

  21. Anonymous says:

    i am so glad we moved out of flagler county–its reasons like these that i felt we no longer needed to live there-and pay taxes there…..just to watch it all go to waste at the hands of horrible decision makers

  22. I.B. Erudite says:

    @Concerned Citizen, Florida experience was not part of the job advertisement. If Foster wanted the job it would have been his. But I agree with you this guy should move on.

  23. Bunnell boy says:

    Worked a job in Florida for a year and never got a Florida license. That’s breaking the law right there. Makes you wonder what else he would do!

  24. L Karen says:

    You want the job? You take the salary that is offered & the benefits as offered. You want more then that, go looking up in NY or another pussy/ liberal / democrat state.

  25. Frank says:

    How about we pay him $1,200 to stay where he is at?

  26. Rob Jr says:

    I bet the black guy does not look so flashy now.

  27. Bunnell boy says:

    Murphy needs to get on 95 north and carry his butt back where it came from!

  28. woodchuck says:

    Good money for an almost no show job.

  29. FL native says:

    OMG! so many red flags. Why would you hire someone who doesn’t have a permanent address in this state? He knows nothing about Florida! He still has a NY license & residenc? (I’m banging head on my desk) Then he has the gall to ask for more $$ & more paid off… REALLY?! this is insane… no wonder this state is going to crap.

  30. Anonymous says:

    The pay negotiation doesn’t seem out of bounds. The vacation request seems crazy – 28 days plus federal holidays is more than enough. What concerns me is the benefits delay – why are other workers waiting 3 months for health coverage? They should start on day 1 for everyone.

  31. Daphne says:

    Never hurts to ask; any top candidate would. Offer to cover the $1200 moving expenses.
    He knew the hiring range was up to 80k and knew the PTO package. Those items should not be changed. I find it concerning that any new employee has to wait 90 days for insurance coverage. Cobra is extremely expensive. His prior 77k salary would bump to 80k but he’d potentially pay $2400/mo cobra. He should not have applied for the “up to 80k” job. His math skills must be lacking. He didn’t surrender his NY DL because he’s still job hunting in NY. Nothing truly absurd in what he is asking for. Bunnell should say no to his requests except moving expenses.

  32. Bunnell boy says:

    Yes Daphne why didn’t he surrender his ny license when he worked in Florida for a year!

  33. LawAbidingCitizen says:

    So this man wants more money, to work less, and wants the city to pay for him to relocate…. hmmmmm, he already has a home that he rents here, so why would he need to relocate??? ON WITH THE NEXT. If you ask me, this guy feels like he is above others. Would be a mistake to bring him aboard.

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