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Moorman and Cross Concede, McGuire Puts Landon on Notice: “He Should Be Nervous”

| November 9, 2011

Holsey Moorman, right, congratulated Bill McGuire outside the Supervisor of Elections' office this morning. (© FlaglerLive)

The results are all but official, and the losing candidates have conceded: Bill McGuire and Jason DeLorenzo are the new members of the Palm Coast City Council. Neither Dennis Cross nor Holsey Moorman said they’d contest the results, and there is no recount in the works from the supervisor of elections’ perspective or the city’s.

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Some of the city’s rules are followed in this election. City Clerk Virginia Smith shortly after 1 p.m. said the city attorney checked with the city charter, the city code, state statutes and state election rules and confirmed that “there is no entitlement for a recount” despite the close tally. The city charter is silent on recounts.

State law calls for a recount if the margin is less than half a percent. That’s not the case in either race. McGuire won with 2,872 votes, or 50.47 percent, to Moorman’s 2,818, or 49.53 percent, a difference of 0.94 percent. DeLorenzo won with 2,765 votes, or 50.34 percent, to Cross’s 2,728, or 49.66 percent, a difference of 0.68 percent.

The results will be certified Thursday afternoon at the Supervisor of Elections’ office, after the provisional ballots are counted. There are only five provisional ballots to be counted, so the results of the election won’t change. “All that’s left to make the results official is for her to certify the election on Thursday, so in my mind, numerically speaking, it’s a done deal,” McGuire said.

There is an audit on Nov. 16 when a sample of ballots–from one race, cast at just one of the six voting locations–will be recounted by hand in order to see whether the number matches the machine count. That recount, routinely done after every election, is also not expected to change the results.

Holsey Moorman and Dennis Cross went over a few details with Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks this morning. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

“It’s basically it for me, I’m not going to drag this out too long, I’ll go as far as I can, but I’m not going to drag it out, create a lot of controversy,” Moorman said, after speaking with the supervisor. Shortly after, he congratulated and shook hands with McGuire, who put an arm around Moorman’s shoulder just outside the supervisor of elections’ office. Still, Moorman said he would not officially concede until after the votes are certified.

“I’m not challenging anything,” Cross said. “From day one I didn’t think I’d ever block the chamber of commerce block of votes, and I was correct,” he said, returning to a common theme in his campaign–that he was running uphill against a candidate with heavy support from the chamber of commerce. He hadn’t called DeLorenzo Tuesday, but had expected to see him at the supervisor’s office to congratulate him in person.

McGuire and DeLorenzo will be sworn in next Tuesday at a meeting of the council at the Palm Coast Community Center. That meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Both candidates will have an orientation session with City Manager Jim Landon and City Clerk Virginia Smith in the meantime.

The two new members represent a significant shift on the council. In McGuire and DeLorenzo, the council is gaining two outspoken, active, opinionated members less interested in playing nice than in representing particular ideas or interests. McGuire unapologetically forthright, sometimes blunt and even, by his own admission, confrontational when need be. “I didn’t get where I am today or I wasn’t successful as a business manager without being confrontational,” McGuire says. “But you can be confrontational without being obnoxious.” He is the opposite of Moorman, who says he’d “rather do things in harmony and walk away if things get contentious,” as he did in his years on the council. Former council member Mary DiStefano, too, while more often vocal than Moorman, was essentially the council’s head cheerleader for all things city and Landon.

The council’s change will be particularly consequential for Landon, who lost two close allies in Moorman and DiStefano, who was term-limited. Mayor Jon Netts is now the only member on the council who was part of the vote that hired Landon in November 2006, when Landon was hired after he’d held a similar post in Lancaster, Texas. Neither McGuire nor DeLorenzo has been known to be a big fan of Landon.

Jim Landon (© FlaglerLive)

“He should be nervous because,” McGuire said of Landon. “Forget about me and DeLorenzo, he should be nervous because the public, the rank and file voter out here see him as the problem and not the solution, and as I said in one of my answer to one of your questions, him and Jon Netts need a major PR do-over, because the public’s perception of Jon Nets and Jim Landon is in the first place is not entirely accurate. They’re not pompous, arrogant idiots. I’ve talked to them one-on-one, both of them have been just as nice to me as you or anyone else, but in a meeting they come across as, I’m better than you are and your opinions don’t count, and this is the general public’s perception of them.” Between that and Landon’s pay, McGuire continued, he was “having a hard time finding anybody that has a kind word to say about him.”

He added: “I mean if I can get a guy to do that job for $100,000, why should I pay you $200,000. Show me where you’re that much better. Because if you can’t, then yeah, you should be worried.” Landon did not respond to McGuire’s comment, emailed to him in full.

Moorman predicted that with him and DiStefano gone, the tenor of the council will change. “I think it’s going to be less civil without Mary being there because she kept things on an even keel, and many times stressing civility. I’m the same way. I don’t like a contentious atmosphere. I don’t like to be in situations where people argue about things. I’d rather do things in harmony and walk away if things get contentious, I’m more prone to walk away and leave you to your own endeavors rather than be contentious. And I think without me it would be more contentious, being that he (McGuire) has purposefully said that he doesn’t like the 97 percent agreement. I don’t call it agreement, I call it compromise.” McGuire has been critical of the council’s seemingly lock-step votes.

DeLorenzo, who celebrated his victory with supporters at Europa Restaurant at European Village Tuesday evening, interpreted his win this way: “People saw that I had better knowledge, a better understanding of local government, a better understanding of Palm Coast and the community, and just the hard work that we did. We attended so many meetings and had so many meet-and-greets, people were absolutely wonderful. They wanted to host us all the time, and we got to meet people I’d never met before. I think we were in those intimate settings where you can really tell them about yourself, what you’d done, what you want to do. I think that really makes a difference because that’s where you can really get the information to them.” The most common reason people were supporting him, he found, was age: He is 40, Cross is 77, McGuire, Netts and council member Bill Lewis were all born when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

“I literally heard it every day,” DeLorenzo said, “we need young blood. That is what the people want. When they came to talk to me, that’s what they said every time. We need young blood.” The council members, he said, have different concerns than the working people raising families. “We have strong representation on the city council for retirees, and we have almost no representation for the working people with families.”

DeLorenzo survived Cross’s challenge despite withering criticism over his various associations through the Home Builders Association, where, as legislative director–a job he’ll keep–he represents the interests of some 160 local companies, many of them with business with the city. His wife, Rebecca DeLorenzo, is the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce’s vice president, which was to Cross a recurring theme as he interpreted his loss. “I think Jason is a likable person and will do his best, OK?,” Cross said. “But the bottom line, in my opinion, OK, you can quote me, is our friend is—Baxter and the chamber of commerce have just bought a seat on the Palm Coast City Council, OK?” Doug Baxter is president of the chamber. “Because in my opinion that’s really what’s going on here. Jason I don’t think is the strength in that family. I think his wife Rebecca is the strength in that family, and that strength that she has, and what’s been pretty much directing Jason in this whole campaign, has been the chamber and Baxter.”

The DeLorenzos, post-results last night. (Cindy Dalecki/From the Delorenzo campaign's Facebook page)

DeLorenzo may have his own challenges on the council. Even Moorman had worried about his associations. “As long as he doesn’t let his employment overflow into his council decisions, I have no problem,” Moorman said. “He’s going to have to struggle with that to make sure that he’s not influenced by his civilian employment into the council business.” DeLorenzo has insisted all along that his objectivity and ethics are not in question, and had little patience for claims that just because he holds a job with the builders’ association–or just because his wife held a job at the chamber–he should somehow be disqualified from office. The DeLorenzos see their community involvement as a plus, not a reason for suspicion.

McGuire made clear that he’d have been more comfortable with Cross on the council. “I think Jason DeLorenzo is a fine young man, I’ve spoken at great length with him, I have great respect for his intelligence and his perspicacity,” McGuire said. “But I think he’s dug himself a hole with this Waste Pro issue and I think every time there’s a vote that comes up in the city council, it’s going to generate controversy that the city council doesn’t need. Were it not for that, I’d be fine in sitting down in a council with him. But I fear that if he’s elected and sits on the council that any time something comes up that requires an outside bid or appears to favor a home builder or a contractor—and again, if you look at the city’s list of priorities, there are a lot of things that the city says this is our priority list for 2011 and 2012, there’s a lot of things I know on there that are contractor issues.”

After his handshake with McGuire, a subdued Moorman, with characteristic calm and grace, left the supervisor of elections’ office and said, as he walked to his car (now without its campaign signs), “rather disappointing, but–what are you going to do?”

(© FlaglerLive)

29 Responses for “Moorman and Cross Concede, McGuire Puts Landon on Notice: “He Should Be Nervous””

  1. Dudley Doright says:

    When do I call the moving company to pack and move Landon?

  2. Anon says:

    Mr McGuire hit the nail as square as possible on the $200,000 + package paid to the city manager.

    I am sure there are loads of qualified people who would do the same job for half the money.

    What has Mr Landon done or is doing that is worth that kind of money. The last audit of this towns finances was average in comparison to other towns. How does average results command above average salary? And please don’t use the rationale that’s what others make. We are not talking about others we are speaking of Palm Coast. Palm Coast a city that has had to raise it tax rate to make its budget numbers.

  3. Firebadge1 says:

    This might get interesting enough to actually start attending council meetings!!!

  4. Will says:

    Compliments to the gentleman Holsey Moorman for a dignified and well run campaign.

    Congratulations to Bill McGuire on his apparent victory. I wish both men well.

  5. Will says:

    Wow – comments about the DeLorenzo family above by Cross. Another plate of sour grapes anyone? How tacky.

  6. UnnamedSource says:

    Why is it taking until tomorrow night to certify these election results? Does anybody know?

  7. palmcoaster says:

    Dear Dudley…you are wrong regarding the one elected councilman. Regarding McGuire, you are right, will keep Landon in check…but DeLorenzo was and is very much welcomed by Landon and current City administration officials when it comes to support real estate development plans like Sawgrass etc.
    Remember well, for the future.

  8. Bill McGuire says:

    Unnamed Source: Provisional ballots must be checked. This is scheduled to be done Thursday at 5:15, after which Kimberle Weeks, Supervisor of Elections, will certify the ballot.

  9. Layla says:

    Wanting to know about Waste Pro. Guy has accepted money from both companies, hasn’t he? McGuire, your first tough assignment is to make sure this guy don’t vote on this.

  10. Layla says:

    Palmcoaster, here is a list of all the builders, developers DeLorenzo represents. Houston, we have a BIG problem here.

  11. curious says:

    Personal feelings aside, what are the ‘problems’ with Landon? What doesn’t he do that we need him to do? Please, not a rant and rave, just a few bullet points, if you write a book, real issues get lost between the lines.

  12. Justice for All says:

    Wonder if Jason will wear his FHBA shirt to Council meetings.

  13. says:

    do you hear the hatred already tht the new council members sound off about landon and the mayor, this is really great, a lot to look forward to. i guesss these two new elected officials are going to come in as gang busters instead of trying to work together. i think the public will be watching the two new guys on the block instead of the ones who have been living on the block for a while. i for one will be watching the two new guys more closely and also continue on watching everyone. investigation school 101

  14. Bill McGuire says:

    WSH: There is no hatred for the Mayor or City Manager from this corner. Statements about them are reflections from the voters who took the time to vent during this campaign. Having no personal or professional relationship with either at this time it would be capricious of me to foster any negative feelings until I have had the opportunity to interaact.

  15. Bob E. says:

    Just a curiosity question. What is the problem? Are you saying Meeker should recuse himself on water district issues, he hasn’t in the past. Should Netts recuse himself on manatee issues since he is a commercial boat captain. I fail to see what you see, someone here and it may be in the moderator, said he is (or now was) a member of the planning board. Did the city council that appointed him or the city attorney not have a problem with him sitting on that council when they appointed him ?
    Now, here is another issue. In the 2008 election, Democrat George Hanns accepted 4 – $500 contributions from ICI or companies owned by Mori Hosseini. Were you vocal when that happened, or do you find that acceptable? By the way you can check this at Supervisor of Elections site, look at contributions, then follow the trail through to verify, or save yourself the time, it is accurate.

  16. Layla says:

    I trust the council to handle this problem. And from what I have seen, there may be a conflict of interest issue.

    Was it not true that the Manager and Mayor warned city officials as well as candidates about accepting favors as this time? Did the others accept contributions when they were specifically asked not to take this money by the city? Is that not the case as I understand it here? Do the others work for every major developer in Palm Coast? These are my questions.

    There are state laws to protect the taxpayers from any abuse. We shall have to wait and see.

  17. Christie 2012 says:

    You ask for “Personal feelings aside” what is the problem with Landon? There was recently a story in a local newspaper stating that 27 city employees had left their jobs during the months of July, August and September. Nine employees a month leaving the city in this economy? I find it hard to believe this many would leave because employees are being asked to do more and employee stress, as quoted by the Public Works Director.
    Maybe the new council members should take an internal look of the city government they preside over. I wonder if the Flagler County School Board or Palm Coast Data has this kind of turnover.

  18. Curious says:

    CHristie 2012 – I’ve really never heard any employees complaining about working at the city, and I’ve got several friends that work in various areas, but that aside, what would be reasons that we would need a new city manager and that he is holding the city back from anything? I”m just really curious ‘why’ the big issue with Landon. I’m just not seeing a lot of ‘bad’ things in our city – overall, it seems to be running fiscally sound, not over spending, maintaining a good appearance which helps to maintain our home values the best we could get, the overall work of the city is getting done, I”m just sure what the ‘issues’ are?

  19. Bob E. says:

    You obviously don’t have any answers, just questions.

  20. Layla says:

    Bob E, the answer is yes, they were told not to accept contributions during this time with Waste Pro because they are trying to settle on a waste removal contract. That will have to be addressed. I saw someone ask about it at the council.

    The answers are obvious. They were in the Flagler Live investigative report. You should have read it.

  21. Christie 2012 says:

    Curious, here’s a few off the top of my head

    • The Palm Coast Data debacle with the old city hall building.
    • The Waste Pro contract dispute with counsel
    • The Palm Coast CRA/Bulldog drive waste of money to the taxpayer
    • The push for a new city hall. Landon is the number 1 cheerleader.
    • According to the Laws of Florida, Chapter 2011-069 (General Appropriations), the annual salary of the Governor for Fiscal Year 2011-2012 is $130,273
    • Jim Landon’s salary $168,878
    Regardless of your opinion about the Governor, he has much more responsibility than Jim Landon and his little city.
    • And again, 9 employees a month leaving a good paying job with benefits in a county with over 14% unemployment.

  22. Rob says:

    @Christie 2012 says,
    Do you have access to my hardrive? Have you been viewing my draft notes?
    I wrote down much the same but was only going to post only two.
    1. The town hall proposition and the “city has the money”. That was an outright lie.
    2. The trash RFP which is a sham and outright bid rigging. ( The council swallowed that hook line and sinker or they were part of it)

    I will try to be brief.
    The frustrations are with the institution of the town manager as much as the town manager.
    He didn’t set his salary. The town council did. And thankfully some of those who did are no longer there.

    The mayor was quoted here in Flaglerlive as saying something like, the town manager does just what the council directs him to do and that they meet with him regularly to direct the agenda.
    So we have an either or proposition here. Either the TM is off on a tangent or is furthering the desires of the council.
    Here is an example.
    When the citizens wanted to know where’s the money for the Town Hall the TM stated he never said the city had the money, although he did say it and it’s on record. The response by some of the TC during that meeting was one of jokes; something to the effect of mattress money hid somewhere.
    No councilor was outraged that this ongoing scheme was a lie. It was like they knew all along that it was a sham. So were they in on it? If the TM does what the council directs him to do, then they knew or should have known.

    My point is that the TM does not work for the citizens. He works for the TC. He was hired by the TC. He serves at the pleasure of the TC and is paid by the TC. Nowhere in that flow do I hear or see him being accountable to the electorate, all 5,000 of us. Sure the current TM can be shown the door, only to be replaced by another, hopefully with a more reasonable compensation package. The position should be offered at 90K and then tack on the 30-35% benefit package.

    Whoever set up this style of local government may have erred in using the TM model. A strong mayor model, one who is elected and paid a fair salary not compensation of 200k + to lead the government and serves three years may be the best form of representative government for this city. In fact those who voted to incorporate may have been sold the proverbial snow job.

  23. Layla says:

    holy cow! what the hell is wrong with everybody around here? Stop defending these people and get some serious answers.

    These guys are responsible to you, not the other way around.

  24. PJ says:

    It is great to Bill McGuire has won. deLorenzo has a different agenda and it is too late to change anything now. We must hope that Mr. DeLorenzo is really all about the reisdents and not a Landon lead borad agenda. Mr. McGuire clearly stated his agenda and change is good…………

  25. Lin says:

    By the way, the Town Attorney (read Mission Statement) also works to protect the Town Council not the Citizens — just one more part of our City Government that does not work for the Citizens

  26. JP says:

    Look before everyone starts crucifying the newbies, they have not yet shown their agendas. Please hold commentary until such time. If conflicts of interest crop up, then it would be appropriate to rehash those issues.

    Thank you,


  27. jimmythebull says:

    no city employee or politician should make more salary than the average income of the people they represent, period!
    look at the wages or heros make, and our deputies sheriffs. are these corrupt people worth more? what have they done but destroy a wonderful city.

  28. Think about it says:

    With regards to salary, he may make too much (not sure by which standards) , but there is NO WAY I would do his job for 100,000 a year – his job is basically 24 / 7 – he lives and breathes it, that is a job with a lot of responsibility that unless you have someone with a ‘civil servant’ heart like the council members must have to put up with all the crap they do with very little pay – we will not get a decent city manger with any type of leadership.

  29. Layla says:

    I think most of us are willing to give it a try.

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