Michael Schottey, who led the communications division for Palm Coast government, abruptly resigned this morning just six months into the job–and barely a week after the city scored a triumph with its first “Tech Beach Hackathon,” the weekend tech competition projected to the public through Schottey’s social media choreography. He had been part of City Manager Matt Morton’s sweeping revamp of the city’s top administrative posts, and is the first high-profile hire from that class to resign.
Schottey, 34, tendered his resignation letter shortly before the Palm Coast City Council’s 9 a.m. workshop, and soon after left City Hall: it was not the sort of resignation that entailed a two-week notice.
“Although this job afforded me the opportunity to do a lot of amazing things outside my comfort zone, I am using the 6-month anniversary of my hire to re-examine what I am looking for out of my career and believe that leaving entrepreneurship was the wrong move for me,” Schottey wrote Morton. “I am looking forward to leading within this City as a Small Business Owner, Football League Board Member, Church Goer and more.” (Schottey’s humor, seemingly intact, was more apparent in a brief Facebook post just before noon: “In honor of upcoming NFL free agency, I’m officially back on the job market after tendering my letter of resignation this morning.”)
Tyler Jarnagin, a communications division hire that closely parallels Morton’s arrival, will be picking up Schottey’s responsibilities as Morton works on a replacement. Morton said there was no immediate hurry on that score.
A resident of Palm Coast for nearly a decade, Schottey had been instrumental in the launch of Mad Dogs Flag Football in late 2018, as a member of its board when he was affiliated with Office Divvy, the local entrepreneurial company, soon becoming the organization’s vice president. He worked closely with Office Divvy, promoting its Entrepreneur Nights, among other events, and has prized his volunteered hours with, among others, Christ the King Lutheran Church and its school.
In an interview this afternoon Schottey reiterated that he was looking for something “a little bit more aligned with my needs and my vision,” which suggested that there had been at least some differences in outlooks or expectations at the city.
But just as Morton was complimentary of Schottey in an interview, so was Schottey complimentary of Morton (to whom he reported), speaking words that had no hint of insincerity: “I held him in the highest esteem. He was a friend, he was a mentor, he was someone I learned a lot from,” Schottey said, noting, of the verbs, that “those can all be in the present tense.”
Morton since his arrival last year has been played up by the council, and particularly by Mayor Milissa Holland, as a distinct break from the city’s past culture and as a high-energy innovator whose vision Schottey was substantially responsible for conveying to the public. Asked directly if there was a discrepancy between Morton’s public relations image and who he is as a manager, Schottey did not hesitate: “He’s the real deal.”
But clearly there appears to be some tensions at some levels of the administration that may be at odds with any suggestion of seamlessness–tensions that may only be exacerbated in an election year that promises to be abrasive and unforgiving.
Schottey, who’d once been an NFL writer for several prominent websites–not least of them The Sporting News and Forbes–is returning to more entrepreneurial pursuits, and plans on remaining in Palm Coast.