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Flagler Firefighters’ Union Members Vote For Firing Their Boss, Administrator Craig Coffey

| December 31, 2018

Stephen Palmer, second from left, authored the letter to County Commission Chairman Don O'Brien regarding the firefighters' union's no-confidence vote in County Administrator Craig Coffey, right. Palmer and Coffey are seen here at a 2017 meeting, with Fire Chief Don Petito, left, and now-retired Bunnel Fire Chief Ron Bolser. (© FlaglerLive)

Stephen Palmer, second from left, authored the letter to County Commission Chairman Don O’Brien regarding the firefighters’ union’s no-confidence vote in County Administrator Craig Coffey, right. Palmer and Coffey are seen here at a 2017 meeting, with Fire Chief Don Petito, left, and now-retired Bunnell Fire Chief Ron Bolser. (© FlaglerLive)

In mid-December, the Flagler County Educators Association’s executive board, representing the county’s largest union, along with the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association, the union representing employees at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, passed no-confidence votes in County Administrator Craig Coffey. This week, the the Flagler County Professional Fire Fighters Association did likewise. All three unions are seeking Coffey’s firing as the county administrator’s position has become increasingly isolated from other constitutional officers and the unions.


The firefighters’ union’s vote was expected but significant in that its membership’s contract is dependent on negotiations with Coffey’s management team, and vulnerable to retaliation: some members of the firefighters’ union were hesitant to take a no-confidence stance for that reason. There is a January 14 meeting of the County Commission, when commissioners are planning to discuss Coffey’s fate. The following letter was written today (Dec. 31) by Stephen Palmer to County Commission Chairman Don O’Brien. It echoes similar letters sent O’Brien by the other two public-sector unions following their votes.

Over a decade ago the Flagler County Board selected Craig Coffey as the leader to move our county forward. Over the last decade, at some point, Mr. Coffey has been in a battle over something with nearly every constitutional officer, municipal organization, union and community in this county. It is due to his most recent battles, specifically with employees of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Staly himself that brings us to the point of this letter.


Audio: O’Brien’s Statement on Craig Coffey at Dec. 13 Meeting

Between December 28, 2018 and December 30, 2018, the Flagler County Professional Fire Fighters Association – IAFF Local 4337, took a vote of no confidence in Mr. Craig Coffey. The primary concern that caused the membership to request a vote is a statement you made on December 3, 2018 in the board meeting. Chairman O’Brien you said, “I can remember very specific conversations between him and I where, what came across to me was, those employees were faking…” [At minute 2:00 in the audio to the right.]

That a County Administrator, a “leader,” would imply that not one employee but nearly 30 employees who have completed workers compensation paperwork (FlaglerLive, December 13, 2013) are lying to benefit themselves and in essence steal and defraud the taxpayers of the county they serve is appalling. The membership of the Flagler County Professional Fire Fighters Association does not appreciate our “leader” speaking of our brothers and sisters at the sheriff’s office in this manner. If he would say that about them he most certainly would say that of the men and women of our fire department as well.

An overwhelming majority of our membership has voted and have expressed they have no confidence in our current County Administrator, Craig Coffey. Based on this result a delegation from The Flagler County Professional Fire Fighters Association will attend the January 14, 2019 meeting and stand shoulder to shoulder with the other unions in local government to demand the firing of County Administrator Craig Coffey.

We will watch, listen and remember how the current County Commissioners vote on this issue. We hope that you will consider our perspective when voting on this important matter.

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8 Responses for “Flagler Firefighters’ Union Members Vote For Firing Their Boss, Administrator Craig Coffey”

  1. Steve Naso says:

    Wake up and smell the coffee….tick…tick…tick…

  2. Jane Gentile-Youd says:

    How I wish more than ever I would have a ‘real’ vote January 14th. … Coffey has no one but himself and his wise ass attitude. He was welcomed with open arms – it’s his doing.
    Happy happy and healthy New Year to the brave county employees for their courage and self respect to care about everyone not just fearing for their jobs. Thank you all for saying enough is,enough is enough.

  3. lnzc says:

    Fire coffees ast.too,outragous pay

  4. john dolan esq. says:

    Thanks for standing up to an anti union pin head who stopped all unionizing of the General Services Dept. back in 07. No raises for county workers for decades while coffeyand friends got big increases.

  5. palmcoaster says:

    These three unions and the people of Flagler County demanding Coffey’s firing, need to stop the FCBOCC and their several attorney’s including Herron of awfully wasting of our hard earned taxes suing our former honest whistle blower SOE Kimberle Weeks and also our watch dogs residents( McDonald, Reichter) as well. They have been using a enormous amount of our taxes to hire Attorney Herron a former Ethics Commission Board Member to try financially and morally destroy them just for speaking up about commissioners fraudulent and conflict of interest activities. They went beyond of what the county insurance pays to defend the FCBOCC and administrators to hire Herron a top of the line fees attorney former Fl Ethics Commission Board Member “what a joke”.. http://www.votersopinion.com/2016/11/27/the-dirtiest-little-county-in-florida-starring-tallahassee-lawyer-mark-herron-part-2/?subscribe=success#blog_subscription-3 . I am so glad that our unions are taking a stand….because Flagler County witch hunting of our elected constitutional officials is nothing new and started back when our elected Sheriff Manfre was sued over the bogus reason that he printed a Sheriff Calendar in an election year. http://www.flaglersheriff.com/sheriff-james-l-manfre “Sheriff Manfre became embroiled in controversy over a calendar with the local newspaper and on-going disputes with the county commission and county administrator”. What a travesty when the FCBOCC prints and spends and also try to manipulate elections even while serving in the elections canvassing board in every election. As taxpayers we should demand that all lawsuits to preserve the code of silence against the mentioned above and former SOE Weeks should stop now and their lawyers fees and good name restored. We do not elect our representatives to use that power to witch hunt us or our elected constitutional officials and violate our rights for exercising our first amendment; https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=6952d39e-4f9e-4062-9eb6-b86af336b7b5

  6. Tax payer says:

    As Trump would say, “YOUR FIRED”!!! In other words you suck. Your ass should have been fired when Holland made that motion years ago! You Craig Coffey is the worse thing that EVER happened to this county. We are in record debt thanks to you and all your grand schemes. Take Al Hadeed, Sally Sherman and Joe Mayer with you!!!!!

  7. Former Employee says:

    Next they need to get rid of the blood sucker Sally Sherman. Don Petito should be gone also. Coming in late everyday and leaving early. Trackers should be on all County vehicles.

  8. Concerned Citizen says:

    A gutsy but needed move to help ensure Coffey’s removal.

    Let’s just hope the Coffey/Sherman team are removed. Otherwise a lot of Fire Fighters and a Chief are going to be looking for jobs elsewhere.

    I would normally be a 100% sure that numerous votes of no confidence and the public back lash towards council would be enough. However I have been in Flagler long enough to know that the fickled finger of fate has a way of turning on you.

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