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Stalemated Flagler Beach Opts for Bruce Campbell As Acting Manager Beginning Jan. 2

| October 28, 2010

Full House at the commission. (FlaglerLive)

Faced with the relentless display, and the often noisy spectacle, of town residents beating the drums for Bruce Campbell as their next manager, the Flagler Beach City Commission looked poised to give in, six months after Campbell’s application was first in a line of 140, and hire him, as Commissioner Steve Settle moved to hire him and Ron Vath seconded.

One commissioner did switch vote. “I will cast my vote for Bruce Campbell, I will support this position for the rest of my term,” Joy McGrew said, joining commissioners Steve Settle and Ron Vath.

But the commission needs a four-vote majority to hire a permanent city manager. Commission Chairman John Feind, who did not speak before voting, cast his vote with Jane Mealy, and the attempt to hire Campbell failed again. That wasn’t the end. The commission, after several other votes, eventually voted, 3-2, to hire Campbell as acting city manager beginning Jan. 2, at which time he’ll be replacing the current acting manager, Caryn Miller. The commission also agreed not to discuss the matter of the city’s next manager until January–not even whether to restart the process.

Two other motions had failed: An attempt by Settle immediately to replace Miller with Campbell failed, 3-2, this time with McGrew joining the opposition. A motion by Mealy to hire Gary Word as manager also failed, 3-2, with Settle and Vath in the opposition.

Many of the 70-some people in the audience reacted noisily, with a couple of yells of “recall” and other bursts of displeasure, causing McGrew to lecture the crowd. “Let us talk it through without the rudeness,” McGrew said.

Bob Chase, recently becoming a standard-bearer of rudeness at city commission meetings, walked up to Mealy, grabbed her name-plate, and threw it in a trash bin on his way out the door. Two Flagler Beach city cops in the room did not budge.

The discussion then turned to whether to keep Miller as acting manager through the beginning of January and whether to start the hiring process all over again. That discussion then took a turn for the unexpected: Settle, pitching one attempted motion after another, proposed leaving Miller in her post until Jan. 2, then replacing her with Campbell as acting manager until a new, permanent

Before the original vote on the motion Settle put forward to hire Campbell (with Vath seconding), there was plenty of hyperbole along the way from a line of people speaking on Campbell’s behalf, including one resident who compared him to Abraham Lincoln, who–the speaker said–had no experience when he was elected to Congress (as no one ever has experience when first elected) but went on to be president. The speaker unwittingly illustrated what the hiring process, which began six months ago, had become: an election, rather than a hiring.

“The reason we still have him is because he’s not looking somewhere else,” one speaker said, “because he wants to be here.” It’s equally likely that had he been looking somewhere else, he would not have made too many short lists because of what has held back his outright appointment in Flagler Beach: his lack of public government experience and what has turned into a political constituency.

Mealy made clear she would not switch vote as soon as she spoke, and noted–to boos—that she had received an equal number of emails opposing Campbell’s nomination as fellow-commissioner Settle claimed he’d received.

There were some 70 people in the room. When Settle made the motion, about two thirds clapped. When Commissioner Ron Vath seconded the motion, the same two thirds clapped. At least a third, in other words, sat on their hands, clearly indicating that the Campbell fans were by no means dominating the room. But many of those who did speak stressed that a petition with a few hundred names on it, supportive of Campbell, should be an obvious indication of the support Campbell had.

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32 Responses for “Stalemated Flagler Beach Opts for Bruce Campbell As Acting Manager Beginning Jan. 2”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thats good enough for me. Campbell is off the list unless Fiend or Mealy change their Vote which we hope they will not do. The Group or Fans as they call themselves are a disgrace. The biggest disgrace was that Bob Chase was not hauled off to jail for disrupting the meeting by getting Janes name plate and throwing it in the garbage. He is a ignorant old man that should not be let in that meeting room.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As typical Joy flipped on a vote. At least Fiend and Mealy are on the good guys team.

  3. concerned says:

    The city commissioners need to step back and take a look at what is happening here. They need to hire a professional with experience in successfully managing a city government.

  4. Anonymous says:

    gee other “anonymous” did you speak your feelings at the “meeting”?

  5. Anonymous says:

    of course not, none of the “naysayers” did. where’s john smith when ya need him?????

  6. Concerned says:

    Someone liked my name “concerned” and decided to use it. Thanks for the compliment. I have to say I am disappointed in Joy McGrew I thought she would stand strong. I think why not leave Miller in until they decide what to do about the City Manager position? Does this mean Bruce loses his position in the maintenance dept. when someone else is hired as the City Manager or is this a way of sliding him in to stay forever?? Why didn’t they decide to start over tonight?? Why change anything??

  7. John Smith says:

    Well Here I am, and am I glad to see that it went this way. The way I understand it Campbell is off the list unless Jane or Fiend change there vote. He can be acting manager until they pick someone else then he would go back to his regular job, or he could be like Bernie and be there for years. I give three cheers for Phillis for her statement on the so called fans alias the group she had them pegged to a TTTTT. It shows anyone around at that time knows who they are and we will prevail. The naysayers were there and I was there and did not have to make an ASS of themselves to get this done. They flipped Joy so she can get their vote in March but she won’t get mine for this flip.It will be nice to go to a meeting now with out that group whineing about this for a while. There is peace in the city.

  8. NortonSmitty says:

    OK, had to work til’ midnight. Simplify. What happened, whatz it mean?


  9. John Smith says:

    Well from what I understand is that Joy flipped on her choice and voted for Bruce, leaving The vote at 3 yes and 2 no. So Bruce is supposedly off the list unless Fiend or Mealy change their vote. So Settles did everything he could to try and slip 2 or 3 other votes in there to get Bruce in there but it was a no vote. Then Joy came up with a Miller as CM till Jan 2 then let Campbell be acting manager till they find one but not Campbell so the Bruce fans didn’t like that. Bottom line is he will probably be CM until the March vote when we can get Vath and Joy out of there and replace them with 2 NONE agenda seeking members of this group. I was there and I did over hear J Ricardi who was a strong member of the group make the typical statement that group has on their agenda. I Personally heard her say well it cost $1.36 to run the services out my taxes when it should be $1.00 so that tells me that they still have their agenda they just won’t admit that they are the voice of Bruce. There were plenty of Non members there they just didn’t make a ass of themselves like that group that does that kind of intimidation. Phillis Carmel called the group out which was great and they responded with their boos and crap. VERY PROUD OF HER she spoke for the NASAYERS. Its like I said Bruce will probably be ACTING CM after Jan 2 and he might do a good job which will be alright, as long as he separates from this group and have some balls.

  10. JA Block says:

    Your town looks like a bunch of imbiciles! Such goings on as happened yesterday is way out there. Outbursts are prohibited at most commission meetings in other towns–disturbers are usually escorted out by the police who are present at every meeting. You folks are “Mickey Mouse” and act like children instead of behaving like adults! I am so sorry for all the citizens of Flagler Beach and if you are only hiring Mr. Campbell in an acting capacity and take him off the list THAT makes no sense at all. It means to most people that you are telling him he is good enough for now but not good enough to be considered the next time around. You will be very sorry losing a good person for a lame excuse. Aren’t you all afraid of not being re elected.. I would be.

  11. Kip Durocher says:

    There is a persistent fallacy in America that never seems to go away. People seem to believe that just by getting elected a person has a doubling of their IQ. I want to put this to rest ~ this does not happen. Their IQ does not increase at all. In fact some experiential data leads one to believe that they in fact become duller.
    A person who feels a lack of any experience in government service, not politics, government civil service, is a good thing, is a very ill informed person.

    Profit is the only goal of private industry – at the expense of employees healthcare, at the expense of employee retirement plans, at the expense of product quality – PROFIT ~ is king.

    Service to the taxpayer is king in government service. Bringing these services to the taxpayer at or under budget is part of the process. Therein lies the relationship of the City Manager to the City Commission

    Let’s cook up a plan to turn a hired employee position into a political litmus test. Then make something that was apolitical become totally political. Now agendas can be pushed.

    The hiring and firing of city managers is not something that calls for gathering lists of residents pro or con. If one does not like the actions of commission members then impeach them or don’t vote for them again.

    What is next ~ politicize the police chief? Then the main qualification is how many citizens like you ~ not how you have performed in the job. Sadly, I have seen this exact thing happen way too often.

    As far as opportunity in Flagler Beach goes, money is not the only currency used here. Other currencies are a means to an end, that end finally being dollars and cents real money. Or pushing the city around and getting your exorbitant demands met!

    Obviously Ron “The Big Lie” Vath needs to go at his upcoming election. Settles is another subject. We need to look at recall or impeachment in his case as he clearly lied when he came to my front door.

  12. Concerned says:

    So, JA Block must be one of the CCFB! Your right Miller should stay until they decide on someone else. This is the craziest thing I have ever seen. I think it was a way for the Commission to get Campbell in and it be another Bernie situation. I will be watching with hawk eyes to make sure that is not happening!!! Am I the only one seeing this! They wanted to appease everyone and it worked.

  13. Anonymous says:

    can someone please tell me the story, where to find the story, the information, the facts about what happened in this town so long ago that it still carries such anger, resentment and bitterness today? this isn’t about bruce and his lack of experience, or the fear that he’ll rip this town apart. this is like the hatfield and mccoys and bruce, even caryn, are stuck in the middle……

  14. JA Block says:

    All thos unsolicited people who clamor for Bruce Campbell have done him a great disservice by acting the way they thought would give him the position. They are sorely misinformed people who really don’t know any other way. It’s sad.

  15. What's in a name ? says:

    Seems like Mr.Smith the man about town, always has a great deal to say about others, but have you ever noticed he never steps up to the podium ?

    So like the old game show once said, “will the real John Smith please stand up ” of course we all know by now, that there is no John Smith.

  16. Kip Durocher says:

    What’s in the lack of a name?
    Cowardice, no strength of character, no personal moral code to even back up your own convictions.

  17. What's in a name ? says:

    Huh, Could John and Kip, be one in the same ?

  18. Kip Durocher says:

    No we are not. Look in the phone book. We are both there. We both have enough character
    to stand as honorable people with our names, with our comments.
    As I told my son “What is in a name? It is your honor, that is what is in your name. And
    a person with no honor is nothing.”

  19. Orion says:

    I would set immediate expectations of Mr. Campbell to assure that he meets what the criteria is/are. In many cases, people come into a job, and perform in the manner that pleases the, He (Campbell) need to remember, he works for the people, But I have my doubts,since he used Mr. Landon, as a reference and role model. While he maybe liked and viewed by the City Council as great, his rating is quite a bit different from the residents who have no say in his performance. I hope FB is in for the ride, they are going to take, with this appointment..

  20. John Smith says:

    Whats in a Name. What do you need to be at the podium for? After a statement or 2 by your group it was the same babble over and over and made your group look like a bunch of ass holes with the same agenda, oh but thats how you get your way is by intimidation. Well we had one speaker and she said it well when she called you all out and boy did you not like that, and that was all that needed to be said. Whats the problem now? He has the job, just not till Jan. Yes I am the man about town and if you want to talk about it all you have to do is stop me and I’ll talk to you. You people are a bunch of pathetic loudmouths with nothing to say that already has been said. Being a vet does not impress me either so don’t go there.
    Anonymous thats right there still is hatered for this group that does not exist so they say, but with the same agenda they are wanting things their way or no way and intimidate to get it. In other words they would like to get rid of the services that this city has for their tax reasons. J Ricardi brought it up at the meeting which shows me they are still here. All you had to do was be at the last few meetings and see how these people act, which is totally the way they present themselves and embarrassing as it is. The lady who spoke of this group knows and put it out there, its not over till its over so we will be watching them from now on you can not trust what they say so don’t That is also right that Bruce and Caryn are in the middle. I personally hope Bruce does a good job and they just leave him in there, so we can judge if he is not their puppet which will be very obvious. If he is well all they have to do is vote 3 to 2.

  21. curious says:

    What a way to get someone in by the back door. When Bruce is told to look the other way because you placed him there, what citizens are really served? Who has thought about the fact that he owns many properties in the City and that he will surely do what is necessary to make sure his interests are served. You all told Mrs. Miller that she was OK to run the City but we are going to replace you once you do the negotiaing for us. If she is good enough now, why is she not good enough in January? If I was her I would tell you to shove it. Then again, she trully cares for the best interests of the City and is a professional so her ethics would not allow her to do that. We are the laughing stock of the County once more. Shame on you all. Bruce is the new patsy, elected, not appointed and our Charter has been violated. A City Manager is not an elected position. What are you thinking?

  22. Citizen says:

    I can’t wait to vote in March. Bruce Campbell is a joke, how humiliating to have such an inept commission in an otherwise lovely city. A City Commissioner with a political backing… idiots. How do you expect to manage someone that you are competing with for votes? Are you going to let Bruce set policy? Will you be afraid to challenge him because of his “supporters”. This is why the city manager is appointed! These are not difficult concepts to understand, find your spine and do what’s right. Disgusting.

  23. Observant citizen says:

    What a black mark on our fair city the indecision among commissioners and bickering among citizens portrays. Professionalism aside, this was a huge slap in the face to Ms. Miller — who I might remind you the commission voted to put in the interim slot. What didn’t happen over the past month that a campaign by old cronnies and a somewhat disruptive response on the applause meter found to be such an abomination that she would be so quickly replaced by yet another interim. Many of the lifers here may not recognize the need for a professional and experienced governmental manager, but I assure you the professional staff — the city’s very best assets and hired for their knowledge in each respective area do. Put in Mr. Campbell, watch him worm his way in to a more permanent seat and see how quickly our crew jumps ship before it sinks. A manager must be politically neutral, not hand picked and campaigned for by a few of the very people to whom he reports. Think people. Bite the bullet and start again; but for goodness sake do it right.

  24. Jackie Mulligan says:

    Hi ,
    I would like to take a moment to comment on the Thursday meetng.

    First let me say I stood up for what I believed in as an individual, not part of any group.

    I have been a resident , and taxpayer and involved in many aspects of the city , boards, 2 Charter Review Commissions and a City Commissioner

    I was saddened by some of the people who were there and held the same views as Phyllis Carmel,she is a friend of mine and we have stood together on many issues and disagreed on others, but I would still consider her a friend.
    Since I sit in the front of the room and the article by Pierre said that 2/3 clapped for Bruce and 1/3 sat on their hands, it seems to me that 1/3 of the people have a problem standing up for their own beliefs….
    very sad.
    If you were here in the tumultuous times of the Concerned Citizens you will remember I was in the forefront of the movement for annexation.BUT that didn’t keep me from having an opinion , and speaking at meetings and to people in town who would listen . That was my right……And if this was only about them, it would not have grown to the proportion it has.
    For me this is not only about Bruce Campbell (even though after all the interviews he was by far the best) or the Concerned Citizens, a lot of it was about the Commissioners not hearing the citizens of the city and waiting 41/2 years to find a City Manager, one who would not be in violation of our city charter, and live within the city that paid him his salary.
    The commissioners were very understanding of Mr Murphy’s plight but forgot who they were working for,
    they do not work for staff, they work for the citizens of the city ,the taxpayers,not Mr Murphy! Mr Murphy worked for them, but some didn’t understand that.

    I happen to agree with Mr Durocher, on one issue, be proud to stand and give your name, its a sign of integrity and honor.People died to have the right for free speech and we should practice it at all times .
    This is America, where all people are free and do not have to hide behind anonymous and fictitious names.You may even find that it can release some of your hostilities and fears
    Thank You,
    So don’t be”Mealy” mouthed by blogging, STAND UP you may” Feind “you like it!
    Jackie Mulligan

  25. Anonymous says:

    Well Jackie what does it matter now for, he is in there. I don’t see the need to get up there and babble off the head when the city commission was put there to do the job. What else needed to be said after Phyllis said what needed to be said, instead of the over and over babbling that you all did. GIVE IT A BREAK ITS OVER WITH.

  26. Phyllis Schlemmer-Carmel says:

    Well, I feel very sad after reading Jackie’s comments especially her last line with the “Mealy” and “Feind” comment. Not very Christian like. Also she insists she is not a part of the “group” however it is obvious she is, it is her right of course, I just wish she would be honest about it. My question is Who is riling this group up, is it you Art? We all know how much you wanted our Firestation closed. Are you still on that kick? if so and if any of you have heard Art speak about it you know what I am speaking about. Is that why he and Steve are grooming Bruce to be our city Mgr. ? I think Bruce is a bright and eager personality, I have no objection to him becoming City Mgr, provided it had come sbout in the normal way. Not with obligations to a bunch of whinny demanding people who have no idea what it takes to run a city. They want to save money, can’t they figure out our city is cut to the bone and the commissioners work very hard on the budget to keep it that way.
    I felt how very sad Caryn Miller must have felt being put in the position to have to sit there while she was being ousted because this crowd wanted Bruce. I must say I felt shame for our Town. Where did these people come from. I ask again, who riled them up.? Will you protest when the Fire Station is on the block?

  27. Anonymous says:

    Phyllis you are the best, and cannot be said any better than that, thank you.

  28. Ima Cheekspreader says:

    Mr. Smith, we notice you are subtly changing your tune about Campbel

    already. It will not be long before you make the transision and he has your full support. Don’t think we don’t notice it and we of course know why. Very transparent.

    On another subject, our friend Ben Dover told us that full boxes of paper towels, a brand new masonry saw (still in the box) and thousands of dollars of Items, among many other things, are disappearing from the FD and whatever was left had to be put under lock and key. Do you think this could be an inside job? Aww, probably someone comes in off the street and steals this stuff. Not being able to stop the thievery, someone in City Hall had to order the installation of thousands of dollars in security cameras. All this activity being kept from the taxpayers by staff. We know this is only the tip of the iceburg. You all seem to have an opinion on all issues city related. Do you think someone-maybe the City detective should be investigating this criminal activity? Or is this an alarm that you can’t answer ? All the information is available at City Hall. Ring the bell for us. Let us hear from you. There is much more fluky activity in another FB City department. Didn’t Bunnell have the same issue with tire theft a couple of years ago? Ben Dover will continue to talk. He knows where you live and where you WORK.

  29. John Smith says:

    Stop by BEN lets have lunch. Or maybe Ill bring your lunch to you. You only wish you knew what you were talking about and wanting to stick it up someones ass but well guess again. You might check Homeland Security about issues of security. You might want to check your own house before throwing rocks. The tax payers know more than you do. GET OVER IT.

  30. John Smith says:

    You might move on to the next story also. Dont believe I have changed my tune so you might as well move along because I’ll be here long after Bruce is gone. You and your threats do not impress me in the least just another big loud mouth with nothing to say. and I said big. You yourself seem to know more about things so HUM we also know who you are. As I said GET OVER IT.

  31. John Smith says:

    Well maybe you and Ben should check with Liz and ask her if she investigated the thefts and I can guess that she will tell you yes and it was cleared up and that that is old news. And yes the FD is as secure as the PD and the Waste water plant for which there is security cameras and again You with all you know about things in the city might check with Homeland Security. Also the city might want to check your house about some missing items that could be WELL WHAT DO YOU KNOW is missing from your new house.

  32. After reading the 2 lengthy sections in Flagler Live of Flagler Beach, I thought I might remind people who don’t know when the Commissioners meet that this Thursday at 5:30 PM they will meet again. This will give those of you who don’t attend to see how the anonymous, concerned and John Smiths of our city want to spend our money. Look what they did with Bernie Murphey, and Jane Mealy hasn’t even given Bruce Campbell 10 days to prove how capable he is. If her comments aren’t illegal they sure are unethical…..Bernie Murphy got 30-90 days probation and he stayed for years….just wondered what group he was a member of?

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