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Interim Beau Falgout Clear Favorite as Palm Coast Council Draws Up Manager Shortlist

| January 22, 2019

beau falgout

He may have to get used to the seat: Beau Falgout emerged as the clear favorite in the city council’s search for a new manager. (© FlaglerLive)

On a day when the Volusia County Council voted to turn interim manager and long-time employee George Recktenwald into its permanent manager, similar winds appeared to be blowing over Palm Coast City Hall as Beau Falgout, a long-time employee and the interim manager since summer, emerged as the clear favorite to be the city’s third manager.


Falgout was the only candidate out of 54 applicants to get top scores from all four city council members drawing up a shortlist of candidates to be interviewed in March. (Council member Jack Howell, who is ill, was absent today.) He is one of 16 short-listed candidates, with several steps yet to go.

Two other candidates came close, garnering three top scores each: Jeffrey Oris of Coconut Creek, Fla., previously an economic development director in Miami, and before that the owner and operator of a planning consultancy. Last week he was interviewed for the city manager’s position in Dade City. Oris got top scores from council members Eddie Branquinho, Bob Cuff and Nick Klufas. Mayor Milissa Holland short-listed him too, but with a 2 instead of a 1. (lowest scores on a scale of 1 to 3 meant highest preference. See the four council members’ scoresheets here.)

Miami’s Ricardo Mendez also got three top scores, but Cuff scored him a 3. He was the chief financial officer in Harrisburg, Pa., in 2012 and 2013 (he does not list more recent employment in government), and previously briefly worked for the Seminole Tribe as chief administrative officer and for the Palm Beach County school district as director of program management.

The council chose about a dozen other candidates for its shortlist over the course of a three-hour special meeting today (not including breaks).

The council is searching for a manager to replace Jim Landon, whom it fired last summer after an 11-year tenure. Falgout was the deputy manager at the time. The council hired Texas-based Strategic Government Resources to conduct the search, with Doug Thomas, a former city manager in Lakeland, leading the search. The position was advertised over the holidays, which may have limited the response of initially 60-odd applicants. Several dropped out after sending in their applications. Thomas weeded out a few more.

He then presented their applications in brief sketches, one by one, occasionally eliciting reactions from council members, as two local applicants did. One is Douglas Bentley, a Hammock resident and former deputy district engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as a career Army officer. Council members liked his resume. They did not like his condition: he does not plan to move out of the Hammock. The Palm Coast charter requires a city manager to live in the city limits.

“The residency thing was very clear to me. I don’t know how we overcome that,” Holland said. “That to me is a non-starter.” Bentley is also applying to be the interim county administrator, where his residency in the Hammock would not be an issue.

(Holland herself has been the subject of social-media chatter alleging she’s not been living in the city, but in the Hammock. In fact, she’d been living at her Grand Haven residence until she moved to Tidelands–where she is a neighbor of Rep. Paul Renner’s–but had spent time at the home of Sara and Tim Hale, owners of Coastal Cloud, where Holland works, when the Hales were helping to care for Holland’s daughter, who’s been contending with serious health challenges. Holland referred to social media chatter implying otherwise as “disgusting.”)

A second candidate who elicited some discussion was Jim Manfre, the former Flagler County Sheriff. Holland said Manfre would not likely be a good fit. “We all are very aware of the fact that he does not have a very good working relationship with our current sheriff,” Holland said. “So when you made the decision to short-list them, it was based on?” Holland asked Thomas, referring to both Manfre and Bentley.

“What I’m looking at is skill set solely, about whether or not he has the skill to potentially be in this role, and based on running a sheriff’s department and that background, I think he does,” Thomas said. “Nothing in his background that I’m aware of, anything that I’ve seen in my search effort to date, that prevents him from being a qualified candidate. Ultimately it’s the commission’s decision whether you think he’s the best candidate relative to the other candidates.”

Bentley was eliminated. Only Branquinho gave Manfre a 2. The others gave him a disqualifying 3.

Once the council members individually ranked the candidates, 14 received rankings that short-listed them: Beau Falgout, Brent Moran, Claire Collins, David Strahl, Greg Young, Jim Drumm, Jeff Eder, Jeff Oris, Ken Kelly, Matt Morton, Mike McNees, Ricardo Mendez, Robin Hayes, and Sean Ratican. Charles Brown and Donald Kewley got a score of 1 from just Klufas, but on his and other council members’ request, they were short-listed as well.

That doesn’t mean they’ll survive the shortlist past a background check and other steps–“assignments,” Thomas called them–the candidates themselves have to go through: that includes a 20 to 25-question questionnaire, with questions particular about Palm Coast, pre-recorded taped interviews of the candidates, and media background searches through five years of articles about the candidates. That will be turned into a candidate briefing book for the council members, who’ll have a week to 10 days to go through the material.

If candidates themselves don’t self-select out of the process, the council members will narrow the field to those who will be invited for extensive in-person interviews. A proposed introduction breakfast was eliminated out of fear that it would compromise transparency.

The council again discussed whether to have one-on-one interviews with the candidates as part of the process, or to interview them all only in the open. Thomas proposed enabling one-on-one interviews on the first of two days of interviews.

“I am an advocate of transparency and having one-on-one council sessions,” Holland said. “If they’re not open to the public, or that type of setting, I’m not a fan of, because I want to hear as much input on how the questions are coming out of our council to these candidates.”

Cuff said that realistically, one-on-one interaction “is the nature of the job” to see how the candidates react in that setting. “They’ve got to be able to deal with us one-on-one,” he said. ‘That’s a huge part of their job and it’s a huge part of our job.” He was looking for 15 to 30-minute one-on-one interviews in addition to the more open process.

Holland conceded the point and agreed to go along with one-on-one interviews. But she said she would do what she had done in previous such situations: she’d keep her door open and welcome media looking to attend her segments of the interviews. Cuff, not wanting to look like he was hiding something if he did not invite the media, said an open door would defeat the purpose of one-on-one.

Holland said she wants to set the tone with the next city manager to understand that “this is a very public process, this is what they’re signing up for, it may be uncomfortable at times,” she said, without objecting to the sessions as long as they’re conducted the way each council member wants to conduct them.

There will also be a public meet-and-greet with the candidates. Those steps will take place likely in March, possibly in late February: dates are still being worked on.

Palm Coast City Manager Applicants and Council Members' Ratings

Milissa Holland
Eddie Branquinho
Bob Cuff
Nick Klufas
Angela Carulli
3
3
3
Beau Falgout
1
1
1
1
Bobby Parker
3
3
3
3
Brent Moran
2
1
3
1
Brian Wilson
3
2
1
3
Calvin Anderson
3
3
3
Charles Brown
3
3
3
1
Charles Jackson
3
2
2
3
Christopher Edwards
2
2
3
Chynequa King
2
3
3
Claire Collins
1
3
3
1
David Milliron
3
3
3
David Strahl
3
1
3
3
Dennis Sparks
3
3
3
Donald Kewley
2
2
2
1
Douglas Bentley
3
3
3
3
George Ducas
3
3
3
Glenn Irby
3
2
3
3
Greg Young
1
2
1
3
Isom Cameron
3
3
3
James Drumm
1
1
2
3
Jim Manfre
3
2
3
3
James Seaton III
1
2
3
3
Jason Rego
3
3
3
Jeffrey Eder
1
2
1
2
Jeffrey Oris
2
1
1
1
Jonathan Lynn
3
2
2
3
Joseph Griffin
3
Joseph Napoli
2
2
2
1
Kelley Boree
3
2
3
3
Ken Kelly
1
3
1
3
Laura Wesolowski
3
3
3
Louie Chapman Jr.
2
3
2
3
Marc Woolley
3
2
3
3
Matthew Morton
1
2
1
3
Megan Yachini
2
3
3
Michael Ciaravino
2
3
3
3
Michael McDonald
3
3
3
Michael McNees
2
2
1
1
Mouath Al-Smadi
3
3
3
Randall Dowing
2
1
2
3
Ricardo Mendez
1
1
3
1
Robin Hayes
2
1
1
2
Ryan Bader
3
3
3
Scott McClure
3
2
2
3
Sean Ratican
2
1
3
1
Seth Squicciarino
3
3
3
Shawn Myers
3
3
3
Stepohen Skidd
2
3
3
Steve Neratko
3
2
1
3
Steven Davis
2
2
3
3
Sungman Kim
2
3
2
3
Veronica Williams
3
3
3
Vincent Jemison
2
3
3
Warren Brown
3
3
3
3
William Lawrence
2
1
3
Explanatory notes: The lowest score means the highest preference. Mayor Milissa Holland chose not to rate the candidates who were not introduced by Doug Thomas, the SGR consultant--that is, the candidates whom Thomas recommended against short-listing. See the council members' scoresheets here.

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15 Responses for “Interim Beau Falgout Clear Favorite as Palm Coast Council Draws Up Manager Shortlist”

  1. KMedley says:

    The puppet master continues to pull strings. Winkin’, Blinkin’, Nod, and Uncle Fester choose the Landon protégé. Do you think Beau got the publisher’s stamp of approval? All of that TAXPAYER money spent for a superficial search.

  2. Palm Coaster says:

    Meet the new boss…same as the old boss

  3. Anonymous says:

    My contacts that I have with some city employees were correct when they told me Beau will be getting the job and that the city will put on this appearance that they are interested in looking outside for a manager. 25,000$ wasted taxes while they knew who they were going to put in there long before the the search and actually when Landon was still working for the city. Now lots of over paid and unneeded city jobs will be safeguarded Because if the new city manager came in and seen the unnecessary jobs and the money they are getting which is way outside the realm of the average residential is making and the benefits they are getting from the city than chances are things will probably change . A job like the city manager it’s best to keep who you know so the pandora box does not get expose to the city residents . With an outsider the palm coast city swamp would be expose for what it is , too many bosses , supervisors , assistant this , assistant that and high salaries

  4. NativeGirl says:

    Anyone who accuses Mr. Falgout of being a Landon protege or any type of puppet has clearly never worked with and/or paid any attention to him as an individual. Just because he worked under Landon doesn’t make him Landon. He is a great asset to this town and we are lucky to have him. Anyone would be lucky to have him. His work ethic, knowledge and abilities are on point!!!

  5. lnzc says:

    I hope his salary won’t be as high as Landon’s was,it was outrageous

  6. lnzc says:

    I hope his salary won’t be as much as Landon’s was,rediculas

  7. robjr says:

    This is bull crap.
    The foundation was laid for this end run long ago.

    Why even waste time and money going through the selection process charade?

  8. TheTruth says:

    Please for the sake of Palm Coast do not pick Beau he is a clon of Landon, he was Landon’s side kick. Please spare us another Landon named Beau. Please allow the PC citizens to make the pick.

  9. Not so fast says:

    More of the same——he picked up where Landon lady off. If this man didn’t come forward after Landon left and put the cards on the table and do a forensic audit to protect his ass, I have no use for him and neither should the council. A forensic audit must be done on this city to uncover all Landons doings.

  10. cruiser33 says:

    HERE WE GO AGAIN, The 3 Stooges strike again. It wasn’t that long ago they were all saying that they did not want anyone that worked for Landon to be the new city manager. They all said they were against Falgout and DID NOT WANT HIM as a permanent replacement. Well guest what ! The Stooges stuck it to us citizens again. They spent another $25,000 of our tax payers money for nothing. People wake-up!!! Remember this for the next elections coming up. Time for HOLLAND, KLUFUSS and CUFF to go once and for all

  11. palmcoaster says:

    If Beau picked we will continue the disconnect with the residents who’s pleas are still somewhat ignored. . Meanwhile Mayor and council spending in consultants to create a better IT portal for citizens-people engagement. Beau is the choice of basically 2 councimen and mayor. I requested in 2018 and 2019 two signs for deer crossing or wildlife crossing in Palm Coast Parkway by the heavy wooded linear park area east and west lanes where even a woman lost her life over hitting a deer in January 2017. https://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20170123/daytona-woman-run-over-by-own-car-killed-in-palm-coast-crash . I spent and showed them a full color copy 11×17″ of the latest carnage deer on the east bound shoulder by the Oaks Nursing Facility. Falgout answer was same as before “will look into it because signs are not a deterrent” and mayor and some in council backed Beau, except our good councilman Jack Howell that stressed the fact that there was already a fatality there. Further more one of the other councilmen not sure if Cuff or Branquinho even brought kind of out of place jokingly about signs for jaywalking and the like. What the heck jaywalking has to do with our linear park being a real trap for wildlife and traffic were drivers lives are at risk, vehicles get damaged and “the wildlife carcases” laying around in Palm Coast Parkway without collection become the welcome wagon to the jewel of central east Florida called Palm Coast. Municipal government number one responsibility is the public safety, Beau, mayor and council! If your are such an experts over signs not being a deterrent how come there is a deer crossing one right out side Hidden Lakes where Landon resides now in Old Kings Road South vicinity of Town Center? Why do we have Stop, Yield, No Parking or Deer or Wildlife Crossing signs if they are not deterrents or enforceable? Why is that when our elected and their choice administrators become comfortable on their seats disconnect with the residents?

  12. Anonymous says:

    @palmcoaster

    There used to be deer crossing signs on that stretch, many years ago. I have no idea why they were removed because the high frequency of deer never went away. There will be more deer accidents because people also like to speed in this area because they figure there are no traffic cops.

  13. Robjr says:

    Holland said Manfre would not likely be a good fit. We all are very aware of the fact that he does not have a very good working relationship with our current sheriff,”

    Translation.
    He is not a republican like me.

  14. palmcoaster says:

    Yes Anonymous those signs were there when ITT was in charge as aside from uneducated assessments of signs effectiveness or not by the one’s at the helm now, the public safety was a #1 responsibility for ITT.

  15. palmcoaster says:

    @Anonymous, at least some great news today as City Manager Mr. Falgout called me and left a message (as I was in a meeting with my phone on silence) that after staff reviewed my request for the wildlife/deer crossing signs along Linear Park in PC Parkway was deemed needed and will be installed. Yay and my deepest appreciation to Mr Falgout, Mayor and Council! I see and believe that those occasional residents request can be heard and granted if we attend council meetings and also insist thru any respectful mean available as media and also social media.

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