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Open Field: Ron Vath and Joy McGrew Will Not Run Again for Flagler Beach Commission

| December 22, 2010

ron vath and joy mcgrew of the flagler beach city commission

Ron Vath and Joy McGrew are the Flagler Beach City Commission's most candid members. (© FlaglerLive)

Ron Vath has been in office 10 years, Joy McGrew five. They’re the Flagler Beach City Commission’s most candid and outspoken members. Both have decided against running again when their term is up next year.

“I’m out of it,” Vath said. “I figured I’d give the young guns a chance. New ideas. Everything has a beginning and everything has an end. This is the end for me.”

McGrew put it this way: “I’ve served my five years and am going to let somebody else have a turn.” Neither intends to withdraw entirely from public engagement. “As long as I live here, I’ll be involved,” McGrew said.

The two commissioners’ departure will have vast ramifications for the dynamics of the commission. McGrew is often the panel’s swing and unpredictable voter, carefully balancing issues and reasoning through them before taking a stand. Vath is its most compulsive financial auditor and, sometimes to the irritation of colleagues, most hands-on commissioner. Together they have vast institutional knowledge of the commission, with McGrew frequently joining Commission Chairman John Feind to moderate more polarizing stances. Depending on their replacements, McGrew’s absence is likely to leave the commission more polarized than not. The pair is leaving after a bruising year that left the commission gridlocked over a new city manager but still financially sound despite two years of collapsing property valuations (and a similar year ahead).

Their decision is also likely to invite a large number of candidates for the March 8 election. Four candidates have already filed, without having to pay a fee, by gathering the required 37 petitions by last Friday’s deadline. Additional candidates may file between Jan. 13 and Jan. 24, but they must pay a filing fee equivalent to 6 percent of a commissioner’s salary, or $439.21.

The four candidates who filed by Friday’s deadline: Kim Carney, Jamie NeJame, Phil Busch and Marshall Shupe. None is a stranger to the commission. Carney was a candidate in March 2009, polling third in a field of three for two open seats. Feind was the top vote-getter, with 38 percent of the vote, Vath was second (35 percent). Carney got 26 percent of the vote. She attends most commission meetings. NeJame was a candidate twice before: in 2009, he lost in a bid to replace Mayor Alice Baker (she won 60 percent of the vote to his 40). Last March he polled fourth behind Commissioner Steve Settle (31 percent), Commissioner Jane Mealy (26 percent) and McGrew (25 percent).

McGrew said she achieved several goals she’d set five years ago. Among those, in her view: Civility on the commission was restored, the short-term rental issue was settled, downtown power lines went underground, the city implemented its stormwater ordinance, and it got its water plant up and running. She would have liked to settle the matter of a new city manager. “I don’t think it turned out the way I really wish it had, but you can’t really waste a lot of time on wishes,” McGrew said. McGrew took withering criticism from a faction in the city that favored hiring Bruce Campbell, a city maintenance employee with a vast background in private-sector executive leadership, as the next manager. McGrew’s swing vote finally ensured that Campbell would be the city’s interim manager come January, replacing current interim Caryn Miller.

McGrew recognizes that her’s and Vath’s departure means the commission will have a majority of rookies (Settle being still a new face there) come March, but between remaining commissioners and the mayor, McGrew said, she was not worried about a lack of stability on the commission.

Vath is a little more worried about the financial stability of the city in coming years–and the commission’s commitment to keep close tabs on spending. “I feel surprised I’m the only one that cares about the financial aspect of the city,” Vath said, though he concedes that he can be “paranoid” about spending. Even after he leaves, he said, “if I see something I’m not crazy about, I will speak up.”

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25 Responses for “Open Field: Ron Vath and Joy McGrew Will Not Run Again for Flagler Beach Commission”

  1. elaygee says:

    Put Jamie NeJame’s name into your search engine and see what comes up. Not one listing. He’s invisible. Either he had his name wiped from search engines or he’s done absolutley nothing anywhere ever, not even a newspaper column mentioning him. Very Odd.



  3. John Smith says:

    Well here it is . The names are out there. As i see it Phil Busch is in the running. Let me REMIND EVERYONE that he is married to Randy Busch from the great Busch, Bates and Misch commission a few years back. Well with that we all know that Art Woosley is backing him so BEWARE voting citizens this is the last thing that needs to happen. Art Woosley was seen at the Busch house recently so we all know what that means is Art is planning his next move. Phil will be his pawn. The CCFB oh wait a minute they do not exist anymore from what they say will be supporting Phil Busch and doing what they can to intimidate him down our throats but we the good citizens of FB will stand strong against this take over by Art Woosley and his group. There are 2, remember 2 seats that are up for vote. Steve Settles is 1 of their pawns in the commission and if they get these 2 seats that will be the downfall of this city again. Art Woosley has his plans and wants Busch in there to work with Settles and do his bidding since Art will not do it himself. We need to support the other 3 and give whatever votes we can to them, The Busch and Woosley vote will be a discredit to the city. We got 2 months till the election so beware of the Woosley lies and his denial in any part of this. REMEMBER the other 3 candidates and it is a 2 seat election not just 1. Marshall Shupe and Kim Carney will get my VOTE and STRONG support for these 2 seats.

  4. John Smith says:

    I would also like to say that this election SHOULD HAVE NOTHING to do with the City Manager position that just took place as the group would like to make it. Its about the future of our city and how its run through the commission NOT the city manager. That will be up to Mealy and Fiend its their vote needed to change it not one of the new Commissioners. It is about replacing Vath and Mcgrew.

  5. Guardian says:

    For Elaygee: If you lived in Flagler Beach and attended any City Commission meetings, you would know Mr. NeJame. He has attended most meetings and voiced his concerns for Flagler Beach. He is not an unknown entity or invisible. He walked the City many times talking with residence about city issues the past few years. He seems to be what the City needs, some one who can think with experience and common sense. If you lived in Flagler Beach you would have received a flyer about him, viewed his web site and or talked to him over the past many years that he has been available through out the City. Not like the other candidates. If you lived in Flagler Beach you would know he served on many city boards, a board member of the Flagler Beach chamber of commerce and supported by the Police Benevolent Association. If you lived in Flagler Beach you might know Mr.NeJame is a retired Marine and has helped veterans whenever possible. If you lived in Flagler Beach!

  6. Guardian says:

    I applaud John Smith that he will be voting. The information he gives is interesting, but one might not want to view a candidate by the actions of his wife. But one might look at any involvement in City issues and who was involved, and who was always at the commission meetings for the people of Flagler Beach , not just if was important to one specific group. Mr. Bush has rarely made it to any meeting unless he was impacted and it was a personal issue. Mr. Shupe seemed to start going to the Commission meetings recently but has not voiced his opinion in public. Very political, as I think he did not want to let people know what way he might vote on any subject. Or, he did not know enough to say anything. Ms. Carney has spoken out as a spokesperson for the Chamber of Commerce and for herself on other issues, thus giving one a chance to determine how she thinks. Mr. NeJame has spoken for many issues, for many people for the past several years. He has been on target with or against the Commission most times.
    However, at least John Smith will vote, which is better than most of the registered voters.

  7. John Smith says:

    well evidently you have not noticed how many meetings Shupe has went to over the last 3 yrs. He has not missed many but he has been there. Is there some kind of rule that you are suppose to get up there and make an ass of yourself as Nejames has in the past. Carney is outspoken and thats why she lost her last election. But you have to vote for 2 so Shupe and Carney will be the best vote in my book compared to the choice thats left. Busch is a for sure positive NO vote and Nejames is an no vote. Its like you said with Busch The ony reason he was at the last meeting as to be there with Art Woosley passing there notes back and forth going outside and talking about someone, and yes you can say he will be doing the actions of his wife because she will be leading him along with Art through this. Its like I said 2 months to go and 2 seats to fill. LISTEN UP and remember it is not about the city manager.

  8. curious says:

    Whoever thinksit is not about the City Manger is wrong. Bush and Carney are supporters of Bruce Campbell as well as Settle. Can no onesee the problem here? I voted for Settle and now I am sorry I did/
    He is more worried about grandstanding to the people on the South end like Woosley that voted for him than what is best for FB. Nejame is simply an Arab with his own agenda to get his business interests on the agenda because he has been shot down too many times. He claims all these accomplishments yet he has no common sense. BEWARE!!!!
    Marshall is concerned about the City and has the common sense and sensibility to not be beholden to a group of people that want to send the City back 5 years. Make sure you vote for him and the best of the evils Carney. At least she has enough sens to look att he whole picture. I just hope that the public realizes what is at stake and does not vote in more Bruce Campbell puppets. These next months are going to be vey hard on the City and we cant addord achange in course.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      curious: you write: “Nejame is simply an Arab with his own agenda.” What the hell does that mean? Let me rephrase that in language you might understand, you racist little shit: what the fuck does that mean? You have a problem with Arabs? If you do, I suggest very plainly you take your sorry bigoted cowardly ass and haul it out of this site, where the freedom of your expression, pathetic as it is, happens to be enabled by an Arab (not to mention by Nejame himself, who put in his years in the Marines, as I understand it, and whose children did as well), though I wouldn’t be any less offended by your stupidity had it targeted a Belgian or a Zulu. Let me make clear: I’m not anymore or less enamored of Nejame than I am of any other candidate running in Flagler Beach, and don’t intend to be. That’s beside the point anyway. This isn’t: To any of you other imbeciles out there who think you can use that sort of unsubtle Fox-laced race-baiting here, there’s no room at this inn for you.

      I’d also like to see a little more outrage from other readers when those tactics are used here. Come on people: battling bigotry is a collective effort, otherwise the revolting few win. And that goes especially for you candidates: Carney, Busch, Shupe, you want your political race to stay above the fray of Jim-Crowism with turbans, it’s up to you to step in and denounce those who dare go that route, even if it’s in defense of your opponent on that score. Your silence is otherwise little different than complicity (and opportune complicity at that) with curious’ race-baiting.

      Another point curious: you’ve not always made illiterate comments, which is good. But you’re overly promiscuous with fake names here. Pick one and stick with it. Better yet: use your own. You’ll be respected more. For now, your comments are being flagged. And no Ramadan for you this year. Merry Christmas from the bottom of my Catholic-Arab ass.

  9. John Smith says:

    You are so right curious, Woosley and his group are going to be trying to do this, I was just trying to say that maybe anyone with any sense will see through this and VOTE for Marshall and Kim. I myself am so SORRY I voted for Settles too after he flat lied to me about is backing by Woosley. Woosley and his group want to get rid of the city services and if he wins these 2 seats that will be done. A funny switch to this, there is a RUMOR and a FALSE RUMOR also that they are more likely starting to spread to hurt Marshall is that he is going to do this, these are the lies that I was saying that the good people of the Beach need to be aware of. Check with Marshall and Kim before you take a side in this.

  10. Philip Busch says:

    Philip Busch wants a Happy City. One in which unknown people don’t make unfounded allegations.

  11. Guardian says:

    It is clear that there is a lot of animosity (ill will) with the candidates and when any name calling starts, it shows there are no valid arguments or endorsements. Per this article, I believe that any of us making comments has time to have our names be put on the ballot for City Commissioner. I think anybody willing to give at least three years to the City (citizens) should not be denigrated just because we might not like every thing they have to say. Debating is a good thing. If every body thought the same, we would not need a commission to represent the citizens. Merry Christmas!

  12. John Smith says:

    Here Here Pierre you are so right.
    Phil go ahead and play the innocent act like Campbell did. Oh wait a minute Art Woosley gave the FD a cudo how real is that huh.

  13. Colleen Conklin says:

    lol – You go Pierre!! Let’s stick to the issues people! What and who will make our little city the best it can possibly be?!?!?

  14. Diane J Cline says:

    Mr. Tristam…thank you for saying what you did and the way you said it. It absolutely was needed.

  15. Guardian says:

    Mr. Tristam,
    Your voice in print transmits the emotion and feelings of many of us in Flagler Beach. The fact is that there are some bigots and racist that tends to stimulate others of weak will and esteem. There is one business man that a couple years ago told people at his bar/restaurant that Mr. Nejame was black. In saying this, showed he was a racist with just the utterance even though Mr. Nejame is not. He than started with the Arab slurs placating to his cliental. If he did not have this type of following he would not go on. I do not go to his bar/restaurant in silent protest, but can’t feel a bit sorry for him as he was probable thought bigotry and racism in England against the Irish and others. Racism and bigotry are learned behaviors. Thus, patrons to his establishment are constantly being thought to hate. And the patrons who keep going there think it is fun to learn how to hate. Therefore, for all you wrote or the very few who agreed with you wrote, we will always have teachers of hate and always have students. If they have read any of the comments, they do so with myopic eyes and a smirk. Keep up the good work and happy New Year to all.

  16. Guardian says:

    It has occurred to me that we all got caught up with responding to negative comments rather than the heart of the article. We should all thank Mr. Ron Vath and Ms.Joy McGrew for the time and energy they have given to Flagler Beach. Before anybody makes a negative comment about ether, remember, it doesn’t matter if you like them or not, they gave years of service to the City. I use the word “gave” because what we pay commissioners is not much. The time they give can be construed as volunteering. So, I think when you see each of them; Thank them for the time they gave to the City and citizens of Flagler Beach.

  17. Pam says:

    The contributer to Flagler live puts that out the most vicious and hateful remarkes is John Smith. HIiding behind the internet, he berates everyone and everything. He puts out only trash talk and insults against other citizens. Nejame, Bush and folks at city hall are frequent targets. He implied that people who speak at commission meetings “make an ass” of themselves. And guess what, I hear he is now running for city commission. Can you imagine having that phoney foul mouthed coward making decisions for our city?

  18. Easy to Find says:

    So, elaygee wrote: “Put Jamie NeJame’s name into your search engine and see what comes up. Not one listing. He’s invisible. Either he had his name wiped from search engines or he’s done absolutley nothing anywhere ever, not even a newspaper column mentioning him. Very Odd.”

    Hmmmm., some info on Nejame is not difficult to find at all, if indeed the following link takes you to the man of topic. If so, then someone is extremely lacking in their search skills however they are very skillful at drawing uninformed conclusions, and around here, that’s not odd at all.

    Go to the following site and scroll down…you’ll find a nice write up on the man.

  19. John Smith says:

    Well Pam sorry to disappoint you but I am not running for a seat. I have to work for a living. As for Nejame I have not disrespected him, he just is not right for the job. AS FOR BUSCH yes he is Randy Busches husband and being supported by ART WOOSLEY which is bad news for the city. Evidently ART is spreading RUMORS that Marshall Shupe is me, and it is not me. Art Woosley is spreding all kinds odf rumors to get Busch in there and that is the last thing we need in this city. AND AS a SURPRISE to everyone other people DO KNOW whats going on in the city not just the people that speak at the meetings, AS FOR VATH AND SETTLES I GUESS THATS WHO YOU ARE WHINNING ABOUT AND YES THEY ARE ALSO ARTS PAWN. TELL ART WOOSLEY IF HE WANTS ME TO SHUT UP HE NEEDS TO LEAVE THE CITY ALONE, BUT AS LONG AS ART CONTINUES TO SPREAD LIES I WILL BE IN HIS BACK POCKET. I HAVE NO AFFILIATIONS WITH ANY OF THE RUNNING CANDIDATES AND I WILL JUST VOTE FOR MARSHALL AND KIM WHO ARE THE BEST FOR THE JOB. THATS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT. I DONT SEE YOUR LAST NAME ON HERE OR EVEN IF THAT IS YOUR NAME. BYE FOR NOW I AM WATCHING THE ART WOOSLEY BUNCH AND THEY ARE THE ONES THAT ARE UPSET WITH ME BECAUSE I AM PUTTING OUT THERE WHAT THEY ARE DOING. BYE BYE>

  20. F Jones says:

    Any one that was here years back with the Busch, Bates and Misch commission know what a turmoil they had this city in. Art Woosley was associated with this group and was behind the CCFB. This city does not deserve to go through that again with Settles, and Phil Busch in there, because Randy and Art would be pulling the strings. Any one person that has moved into this city since then has no clue the capabilities of Art Woosley and his way of spreading LIES to make that group look good. John Smith is not out of line when he says what he is saying, it is the truth. Any one new to town needs to check out what happened back then and obviously their agenda has not change as with their move on the city manager is a start.

  21. NortonSmitty says:

    Good call Pierre on the Arab red herring, and the fact that nothing comes up on the internet. The sad thin is, if this Arab guy gets elected, the slurs he’s getting now will be fondly remembered, ’cause all of us will say he’s just another fuckin’ politician.

  22. Roger says:

    YA’LL ARE A BUNCH OF PATHETIC LOSERS! bitch bitch bitch complain complain complain! get over it all ready and work for the good of the city! TOGETHER~~~~~haha, never happen…….Y? because YA’LL ARE A BUNCH OF PATHETIC LOSERS!!!!! i’m right you’re wrong blah blah blah! art woosley this, john smith that, nejame this marshall that (oops, i meant carney)(oops i meant busch) commissioners, city manager, fire, police. it’s 2011, HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! and it’s gonna be a good one!!!! yadayadayada………

  23. Rosemary Bates says:

    As a member of the Bates, Busch and Mish team it’s amazing to see that five years later the anger and hostility are alive and well in FB politics. Name calling, character slandering all aside has anyone addressed the issues facing the city? Mr. Woosley apparently has a hidden agenda, why not inform the readers at to what that agenda entails? What are the fiscal policies that the candidates represent? What are their proposals to balance the city budget? With Ron Vath leaving this will require a new guardian. Do the city residents realize that the majority of the budget comes from the residential tax base and only about 20% from the businesses? I am certain that one of the candidates could address these statistics more accurately. The never ending concerns of the business community versus the residents apparently continues to fuel the angry outbursts and hostile personal attacks. I agree with Mr. Tristam’s assessment of one’s moral character of those who hide behind screen names. Much to the dismay of many of the opinions represented here I was willing to take the time and energy, despite having a full time job, to personally face the hostile crowds to promote the residents of FB. As I drive across the bridge I can still enjoy the views of the Atlantic Ocean having been able to help preserve the 35 foot building height restrictions. The “horrific” team of Bates, Busch and Mish kept a balanced budget and preserved the integrity of FB. Perhaps since some readers are such adversaries regarding the leadership during that time frame he or she would be willing to discourse on what those “horrors” actually constituted? Personally it is offensive that persons who have never had the guts to run an election, serve the public, bear the disdain have the audacity to throw stones. There appears to be several weeks before the application deadlines why not put your money where your mouth is? Get out there yourselves and do the job before complaining about those who have tried?

  24. F Jones says:

    I also have a full time job. Art Woosley and his group of supporters such as yourself have that agenda,1. Get rid of the fire dept let the county have all the stuff that we have paid for, NO VOLUNTEERS will be at that station when they are over in the county taking care of the county as there is now and they do not have Volunteers other than out in the west part of the county where they will not put a paid dept. 2. Stop the growth of this little city. When there could be some growth over on the other side of the bridge to help with the tax base. There is only a few businesses in town sure, but this is a residential town so we are not going toget the great factories and big business. The city is currently picking up garbage and servicing an area that should be FB instead with your NO growth policy its Palm Coast that was smart enough to annex it and getting it serviced for FREE. So DO NOT tell me about The BUSCH BATES AND MISCH. I lived it with the turmoil and the hatefullness of your group.

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