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Bunnell’s Armando Martinez a Finalist for Melbourne Police Chief; Special Meeting Set

| August 11, 2011

Bunnell's Armando Martinez is looking elsewhere. (© FlaglerLive)

Bunnell's Armando Martinez is looking elsewhere. (© FlaglerLive)

Bunnell City Manager Armando Martinez is among the top five finalists for the police chief’s job in Melbourne, a city of almost 80,000 in Broward County where Martinez actually lives–and commutes to and from every day.

“I have my family that lives down there, I have my children and grandchildren,” Martinez said this afternoon, as he was waiting to see Bunnell City Commissioner John Rogers at the commissioner’s towing business in the city. “If I get told that I don’t get selected, I’ll be just as happy.”

Melbourne’s personnel office confirmed that Martinez is one of the applicants, but not that he’s made the finalist’s list: that responsibility was contracted out to an outside agency, whose results aren’t in yet. Melbourne has no set timeline on filling the police chief’s job. The job’s salary range is $76,182 to $127,953. The previous police chief retired.

Rogers is asking for a special meeting of the Bunnell City Commission Friday “to discuss Mr. Martinez’s employment because he’s a top-five finalist for a job in Brevard County. He’s looking for another job,” Rogers said.

Tucker was pressing for a meeting as well. “We need to protect ourselves so that we don’t get caught without at least beginning a look for somebody else since Mr. Martinez needs to be closer to his family, and I don’t fault him for that,” Tucker said. Martinez told Tucker about his job hunting just this morning. “We can renegotiate the contract. This is a good opportunity to do that.”

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. in the Government Services Building’s chambers, where the commission usually meets.

The mayor had been resisting setting a special meeting, at least on Friday, but had relented by 3:30 p.m., when it became clear that a special meeting could be called without the mayor calling it. (The mayor alone may call an emergency meeting dealing with the suspension of the manager, which is not the case here.)

A little political gamesmanship may have been afoot: To be valid, the meeting needs a quorum of three commissioners. That quorum appeared set just before 3 p.m., with Commissioners Daisy Henry, Elbert Tucker and Rogers agreeing to meet. The mayor, according to the clerk’s office, initially could not make it because she has company. (She could not be reached at her home Friday afternoon). Nor could Jenny Crain-Brady, the vice mayor, make it, according to the clerk’s office. That changed by 3:30, with the mayor committing to the meeting, though Crain-Brady will be absent, according to the clerk’s office.

Martinez’s contract is up for renewal. He signed it on Oct. 26, 2009. It may be renewed for two one-year renewals “unless either party gives written notice of non-renewal at least 60 days prior to the end of the initial term or one of the two one-year renewed terms.” No severance would be owed if such a notice was given. For the city commission, that 60-day window closes soon. Outside the 60-day window, Martinez would be eligible for six months’ severance pay.

Martinez’s support on the commission weakened with Rogers’s election, which may have compelled the city manager to apply in Melbourne. But Martinez is primarily a law enforcement officer and a police chief. That was his original job in Bunnell, which he took out of retirement, when he had moved to Melbourne. At heart, he’s still a police chief. He’d maintained, by contract, his hazard pay and his title as public safety director in Bunnell until the News-Journal raised a question about the constitutionality of his dual jobs–and the city had to concede that he could not keep both the manager’s title and the public safety title. Martinez gave up the policing title, but not the pay: the city agreed to bump up his base salary by $7,500, to $116,000.

Martinez said he applied to the Melbourne job a month or two ago. “It’s very prestigious. I’m honored. That doesn’t mean I have the job,” Martinez said, putting his chances of getting ti at less than 1 percent. “But I’ll accept it if they offer it.” He said the base pay would not be significantly different than his pay as Bunnell’s city manager. And he added that either way, he’d be happy with the result, calling Bunnell “my hometown no matter where I’m at.”

Commuting to Melbourne has not been an issue, Martinez said, though it has been a cost borne by the city, Martinez’s contract grants him a city car at the city’s expenses, including gas. The 100-mile one-way trip to Melbourne means that commuting adds up to 1,000 miles a week, or at least $175 in gas alone (assuming 20 miles per gallon at $3.5 per gallon). The annualized cost is close to $9,000, not counting other maintenance for the vehicle. Martinez said he’s been gassing up the car two or three times a week out of his own pocket.

Speaking of Bunnell residents on Thursday, Martinez said: “I want them to know that this is only about me being closer to my grandchildren, not about not being here.”

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17 Responses for “Bunnell’s Armando Martinez a Finalist for Melbourne Police Chief; Special Meeting Set”

  1. Sals says:

    Can’t imagine that anyone would want to hire this guy after his track record but if he does get hired it sure would benefit the residents and businesses of Bunnell.

  2. surprise surprise says:

    surprise surprise………………….He’s showing his true colors. yellow

  3. Haw Creek Girl says:

    I seriously question the Chief of Police living in another city other than the one in which he is employed. Perhaps if he just lived outside the City Limits and in the unincorporated county or even Palm Coast or Flagler Beach….ok, that’s a definite maybe. In public safety/law enforcement, there are many times when the situation calls for the presence of the Chief on the scene, especially in a city the size of Bunnell. The common standard for deputies is that they can only live one county away and most City employees have a mileage range of usually less than 50 miles. Even troopers have certain standards. Trooper Delgado lives in Palm Coast but works in Jacksonville and because he was 6 miles out of range he lost the privilege of being a motor cop due to impaired repsonse time. I also question 9.000 in commuting expenses…..
    I also seriously question the appearance that Jenni Crain Brady and Catherine Robinson created of a smoke and mirrors type atmosphere to avoid meeting. Robinson has been blinded by the Chief for longer than I ever would have imagined and Crain-Brady is in way over her head so she just follows suit with Robinson no matter what the vote. Robinson has protected Martinez previously and it appears was trying to do just that yet again.
    With all those concerns being voiced, I also would like to say that we should all begin a letter writing campaign to the City of Melbourne to tell the powers that be what a wonderful Chief Armando Martinez has been here….make up whatever you have to. I also would like to say that we should pay his severance, offer him a package to leave, help him pack his office, nominate him for Brevard County Citizen of the Year….whatever it takes to get the carpetbagger the job in Melbourne….let’s do it.
    We might get the real Catherine Harris Robinson back then and then we just might see a glimpse of the old Bunnell we used to know with Robinson, Tucker and Rogers at the helm.
    I am tired of being ashamed of our Police Department and I am tired of being ashamed of our Mayor for allowing our Police Department to be a circus without the tent.
    Go, Armando, Go! Armando for Chief of Melbourne NOW!

  4. PJ says:

    Not so fast Haw Creek Girl. Martinez has brought so order to a city that was to say the least running a-muck. Rogers called a meeting at the 11th hour. It takes people or human beings time to clear their lifes calendar to attend or to even answer the phone. With all that said. It is pretty evident that Martinez discussed the before his offical contract date is to be negotiated. This to say the least is some type of integrity on Martinez part. Tucker is correct too let’s protect the city first. Rogers is correct too but may have jumped the gun on this meeting. A few more days may not have made a difference other than the time frame to renew the Martinez contract. The facts remain the facts if you like Martinez than this is bad. I you don’t like or agree with him you still must understand he did bring some order to Florida’s own Dodge city.

  5. Haw Creek Girl says:

    If Armando Martinez brought order to Bunnell then the Pope was in the Bimini last night.

  6. Haw Creek Girl says:

    Order, heck no……a small form of “organized crme” led by Jimmy “I run this town” Flynt and all his cronies in blue……PJ, smh…….

  7. bunnell boy says:

    Well said haw creek girl. I think when martinez leaves he needs to take the chief with him as well as his three buds on the commision and leave rodgers and tucker since they are the only ones that dont need charmin to wipe their noses off.

  8. The Piranha says:

    First, my hat is off to Commissioner Henry for doing something the mayor and vice-mayor wished she hadn’t. Second, HCG, you hit the proverbial nail on the head and the the dictator in the crotch! You obviously can know this guy well enough to see the difference between a zebra and an ass. His exit was predicted earlier this year and now appears is coming to fruition.
    Part of me wants to warn Melbourne half of their patrol force will be fired, demoted, laid off, or resign for other employment over the next couple years. Of course they won’t be able to tell that by the numbers he will twist and turn in his favor to show what a great leader (vomit) he is. But, Flagler County will be a much better place off without this (if I can borrow your comment HCG) carpetbagger. Either way, good riddance and I for one hope the door hits this ass on the way out. Bunnell 1 – Melbourne 0

  9. Haw Creek Girl says:

    I think Daisy is just about to bloom. Stay tuned tonight at 6. If she does, we just might get the weeds out of the garden.

  10. PJ says:

    That was funny Haw Creek Girl about the Pope that is very funny. Rogers needs to ask the question as it is his job to question. All of the Commission have a 20% vote lets see who the leaders are now. Remember the city still needs leadership at the top of the city employees. Martinez has done that agree or disagree will be the question. The staff continues to do their jobs as directed. I hope most of the residents see that a a good thing from the staff..

  11. Bunnell res says:

    Good bye, Good ridance.

  12. chris parker says:

    When i read the comments from people in Bunnell i just are cowards,you use fake names when you make a comment.let us know your real name and where you work.I bet that alot of people where you work say that you can’t get your job done.Tell us your real name and stop using fake names,let us know who you are!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Jerry M says:

    The negative comments above are simply ludicrous. As a 20 year member of our fine Flagler County community, together with my day to day dealings with all of its municipalities, I can honestly say that it was a breath of fresh air when Mr. Martinez came to town. So much has been accomplished on all levels since his arrival. Just because he threw a wrench in the machine of how things used to work in Bunnell and made positive changes to the community leaves me believing that these attacks are highly suspect. No matter what the outcome is, good luck Mr. Martinez on all of your future endeavors. Too bad it is too late to throw your hat in the ring for Mayor of Palm Coast.

  14. Larry says:

    Chris P.

    Only a moron would make a nonsupportive comment and then post his full name and work address so that the director of the police department can scope him out and pull him over/ arrest him for some made up charge (such as counterfeit money, drugs. Believe me, the Bunnell PD isn’t above such tactics. This forum provides an opportunity to provide a critical opinion without the risk of retaliation. We all have the right to speak our mind but some of us are not so young and naive to think that there won’t be reprucussions.

  15. curious says:

    Jerry M. You are correct. The “good ole boy west Bunnell” is over. He brought professionalism and common sense to the City. it is just sour grapes from you know who on the West side of town that still believe slavery is OK>

  16. Mark Langello says:

    I agree with Chris, it seems there are always people on this site dissatisfied with their life, and say things about other people without having the guts to face the people they are trashing. The truth is that Mr. Martinez has been a great city manager, and is far better than the people who preceded him at that job. In the position of city manager, you will have to deal with issues that will make some people unhappy, that goes with the territory. If the people who are talking about him on this site actually knew what is going in the city, they would have a different view. For more years than I want to admit to, I have been going to the city commission meetings, familiarizing myself with the issues, talking to the affected parties, and watching and participating in much that has gone on. I know who has been involved as well, and none of the people who are trashing him have been there, and got involved. I have lived here for 31 years, and my roots go back over 50 years in this community, and I say with complete confidence, that Mr. Martinez has been the best city manager that Bunnell has had. We have all been fortunate to have had him here. I have spoken to many other people today, we all wish he would stay.

  17. PJ says:

    Chris Parker? Why show you who I may be? Why give some maniac a reason to harm my family because I don’t agree with them , no thank you! You may enjoy the freedom that we have in America your way and I’ll enjoy the freedom in my own way. Also let me help keep reading below and you may find another place to read about like Palm Coast. You may laugh harder there. so you may stop reading about us Bunnell people if it bothers you so much. We give you permission to do so go eslewhere!

    Martinez actually brought the back office of Bunnell into the 21st century. The staff has computers that don’t take an hour to start and soon they will have a system that even offers the public faster results and information. Their website will even be able to take a payment or reply back to the user. Not to mention additional equipment for the different departments that work with replacement slated within budget. Hmm a real manager.

    What the heck were the other city managers doing what were the old department heads doing? I’ll tell you leting the residents think that they were doing their jobs. Leading the commissioners on the same path. So now you have commissioners like Tucker and Rogers that question the City Manager and Staff as all the board does. This is good sometimes not exactly well done (example like the meeting last night) but good intentions but wrong format rookie mistake is all it was however, that may have lead to positive dialog if done correctly.

    If you think your tax dollars are being wasted look at Palm Coast they their City Manager refuses to save taxpers money on his plans like no bid contracts. PC has blown through reserves and is getting destroyed by bloated government and an over paid City Manager.

    Bunnell staff is lean and works their employees to every tax paying dollar of sweat the employees can muster up.

    The really great part of Martinez is that if he leaves the staff direction can self manage. The finance director will be prudent with all monies as she is now. CRA director continues to re-develope, City Clerk runs the city government as provided by charter, PD the new and outstanding PD keeps the Law and Order. Public Works director can keep your city functioning, Utilites keeps pumping the cities BS with the neverending broken old pipe and unkept past maintenance, Community dev will issue permits and keep order as best as he can.The solid Waste dept. will continue to keep the city clean and healthy with their excellent service with just ywo employees.

    So if Martinez leaves the city can run as usual. Now if you really want bad goverment stop in the Palm coast meetings where the City Manager is the board.

    Have faith Bunnell!

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