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16 Applicants for Palm Coast Council Short-Listed to 4; Closed-Door Interviews Next

| November 7, 2012

One of those seats is looking for a Palm Coast City Council member. (© FlaglerLive)

The election is over. The shuffling on the Palm Coast City Council isn’t. The council must still fill the seat vacated by Frank Meeker, who was elected to the Flagler County Commission on Tuesday.

Since Meeker stayed on the council until the election, the council could not hold an election in tandem with Tuesday’s voting to fill the seat—as it could have, had Meeker chosen to resign immediately after he announced his intention to run for the commission seat in late May. So the council’s four remaining members must appoint a replacement to fill out Meeker’s term, which runs to November 2014. An election for that seat will be held that summer and fall, but whoever fills it now will have incumbency’s edge.

Sixteen candidates applied for the position. Tuesday evening, the council narrowed the list to four: Lynette Callender, David Ferguson, Norman Mugford and Robert Uhl.

The four will be interviewed individually for half an hour by each council member next Tuesday, Nov. 13, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the city administration’s offices at City Market Place. Each council member will be seated in a room of his own (there are no women on the council), and each candidate will rotate in and out for four successive interviews.

The interviews will be conducted behind closed doors. When the county commission holds such interviews, as it did last year for its economic development council membership, and for an economic development director, the round-robin interviews were open to the public, and a few people did attend. The city will not open its interviews.

“I don’t see any mechanism for making them open. That’s the way it was done in the past,” Mayor Jon Netts said. “I don’t think it’s a question of need. The deliberations, the discussions of council is open, interview process is not.”

When the interviews are concluded at 11, the council will meet in open session and deliberate on a choice. It could take more than one ballot, or even a coin flip. In 2008, when Alan Peterson resigned his city council seat to run for the county commission, the council deadlocked on a replacement when the choice came down to Bill Lewis and Sarah Nunziato. The council voted three times, and three times each candidate got two votes. A coin toss decided it for Lewis.

Following the 11 a.m. special meeting, the council will convene for a noon workshop, but without its new member: that swearing in is on Nov. 20. The only certainty is that it’ll be one of the following four:

Lynette Callender: The 62-year-old Brooklyn native has lived in Palm Coast 21 years. She is an attorney in private practice (Lynette J. Callender P.A.), getting her law degree from Howard University in Washington in 1976. She served seven years on the Daytona Beach Community College Board of Trustees (now Daytona State College), was a law professor at Hofstra University, and served on the Palm Coast Community Service board and the Northeast Florida Area Agency on Aging, among other memberships. She describes the city as a collection of “business, professional, cultural and social associations, children, senior citizens, physically challenged individuals, and our visitors.”

David Ferguson: A 60-year-old part-time resident in Palm Coast for 10 years, and full-time resident since 2010, from Jacksonville, Ferguson is a self-employed business consultant (Ferguson Enterprises). He says he got his first taste of seeking office when he was 8, in 1960, “when my mother won a mink coat in a radio contest predicting the number of votes John F. Kennedy would get for president.” In the mid-90s, Ferguson campaigned for Jacksonville’s John Delaney, who won two term, and himself ran for office unsuccessfully in 1999 (and attended George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001). He’s remained politically active, serving on community and civic boards. He has an engineering degree and an MBA from Georgia State University. In his application, he writes that he can “communicate well across broad opinion/interests as well as above/below my intellectual, emotional and personality differences.”

Norman Mugford: The 64-year-old businessman and Montreal native owns Alarmpro in Palm Coast, where he’s lived for almost 25 years with his family. He’s a past gubernatorial appointee to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, which he chaired for a few years, and is currently chairman of the Palm Coast Code Enforcement Board. “I have watched Palm Coast grow from a population of less than 12,000 to over 70,000,” he writes in his application letter. “I have watched as people from all over the world have moved to our beautiful city and I have watched as ourt government has grown to serve our residents.”

Robert Uhl: The 77-year-old Buffalo native and engineer is among the earliest colonists in Palm Coast, arriving in town when it was not quite a town, in 1980, as part of ITT’s relocation of the Wittemann Company. He writes of having no political experience but plenty of broadly travelled business experience. After retiring from Wittemann, he was a small business owner, specializing in the sale of educational supplies and materials. He’s been a member of the Palm Coast Yacht Club since 1990.

“Obviously congratulations to the four who were ranked most highly,” Netts, the Palm Coast mayor, said at the end of Tuesday’s meeting. “But congratulations to all 16 individuals who put the time and the effort to apply. Especially in this political season that has been probably one of the nastiest, most harmful, hurtful, I could go on forever. But it takes something special to be willing to put your name forth to be considered for this kind of a position. Not everybody is equipped to suffer the slings and arrows of the political arena. So to all of the applicants, thank you for your efforts, thank you for your time, thank you for your interest, and to the four who are the top, we’ll see you next week.”

Each council member ranked the 16 candidates and submitted his rankings to the city clerk for tabulation, and the drawing up of a short-list. Those rankings appear below. The fuller applications of each of the final four appear below the rankings.

How the Palm Coast City Council Members Ranked the 16 Candidates

Applications of the Four Short-Listed Candidates

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17 Responses for “16 Applicants for Palm Coast Council Short-Listed to 4; Closed-Door Interviews Next”

  1. tulip says:

    well, it’s good to see that the builder/realtor applicants were ruled out.

  2. Nancy N. says:

    Really? We can’t find even ONE viable candidate in the city under age 60?

  3. Robert Lewis says:

    This made me giggle. Predictable Bill McGuire. He does not have the best interest of the City of Palm Coast at heart, he has the interest of the Ronald Reagan Republican Assembly. His number #1 pick was Gregory Hansen (treasurer of the RRRA).

    Predictable behavior from intolerable people. Councilman McGuire, can you explain your vote please?

    Good Luck Norman Mugford!

    • Bill McGuire says:

      I can explain my vote. It was cast in secret ballot. Sorry, Nancy, I’m not picking up the bait.

      • Robert Lewis says:


        My name is Robert, not Nancy.

        Sir, with all do respect. You are full of malarkey.

        As a City Councilman in the State of Florida, there is no such thing as a “secret ballot”. Especially when there are laws such as the Sunshine law that allow me to find out your choice.

        Since your response is so defensive and obvious to a sign of impropriety, I am going to believe that your vote was to support your friend. Sir, you did not have the interest of the City of Palm Coast at heart. Your vote was another desperate attempt of the Ronald Reagan Assembly trying to capture power.
        I sincerely believe there is an ethics violation here.

        Shame on you sir! Shame on you!

        Do you care to explain your vote?

        • Bob Hamby says:

          If not Nancy is it Robert U? if you are Robert Lewis please contact me at and let me know of your interest in the Ronald Reagan republican Assembly. I also find it interesting that Jason DeLorenzo’s vote prevent an Annapolis graduate (Greg Hansen) with a distinguished military career from being one of the 4 candidates. The wife of the Councilman announced at the Chamber this morning that Mr Hanson was not slected because he is a member of the Ronald Reagan republican Assembly. Has the Chamber become a partisan political organization?

          • Robert Lewis says:

            Mr. Hamby,

            I am going to keep my post here in the public forum. I want everything to be transparent.
            I think it is commendable of Mr.Hansen to be an Annapolis Graduate, it is a distinguished honor, just like being a West Point Graduate.

            My issue is with Councilman McGuire and his decision to vote party over community. So I will not respond to your email. I will not be bullied by you, as you have done to so many other candidates. My question to Councilman McGuire is fair. Why did you selected a candidate who is a fellow “founding father” of the Ronald Reagan Assembly over others who have been intricately involved in the community.

            Given the recent elections and behavior by those as part of your organization (reference recent articles where one of your members assaulted a female), I prefer someone who is not in debt to a party. Loyalty is to the community we serve not the party we affiliate.

            As for Councilman DeLorenzo, had his number 1 pick been a home builder or someone that provides a conflict, I would have called him out.

            Councilman McGuire, the sunshine law prevents there being a secret ballot and all decisions related to government business are open to the public. Since there is a compelling public interest, I herby respectfully request you explain your vote.

  4. Will says:

    It might have been good had our Council members ranked someone under 60 higher – maybe someone with issues in their lives faced by working families with kids. Just a thought.

  5. Reality Check says:

    This should be entertaining, the council picking its own new member

  6. elaygee says:

    I would suggest the Council check with a better attorney. The “interviews” with 4 current council members fall under the Sunshine laws

  7. Deep South says:

    Their doesn’t seem to be anybody under 50 years old that wants to be on the city council. We need young hard working well educated voices, with fresh and positive ideals for families of Palm Coast.

  8. tulip says:

    @Deepsouth——Most people 50 and under are working and, believe it or not, being on the Council requires a lot of study and work before each meeting, and this takes a lot of time. Not only that, but a boss would have to be willing to let the councilman not come to work on some mornings, and other days when there are things going on that need to be attended. Obviously, someone would not be able to just quit their job, as a councilperson only earns just under $10,000 a year. Can’t live on that as sole income.

    • Deep South says:

      I totally disagree on your perspectives. First of all why do council meetings need to be held during the day time, to accomodate elderly and those who don’twork. Secondly why would one have to quit their job, to serve on council.. Their are a lot of those involved in public service work, and still run a business, or maintain a full time job. ie Barbara Revels, George Hans. Serving as a city councilman can be time managed if the right person is their, it’s called multi tasking, and in this age of technology it doesn’t take much to stay in touch.

  9. Will says:

    Bill McGuire’s explanation that he cast a secret ballot stinks. Doesn’t he know about sunshine?

    What would he have done differently if he didn’t think the ballot was secret ? Would he have thrown his buddy under the bus or supported him anyway?

    • Blueseabeauty says:

      He probably voted for Kimble Medley….one of.the Ronald Reagan Republic Assembly gang. The one who is a legend in her own mind. She can copy Statutes….but she can’t follow them. Who’s job will she go after next?

  10. DWFerg says:

    As one of the finalists and coincidentally, the Youngest, I can assure the younger constituencies of Palm Coast that their interests will be well represented. As the father of four young women all under the age of 35, I deal with this demographic, every day, in my own family. Their concerns are the same as your concerns. Wish we had the opportunity to campaign rather than by the appointment process. Just playing by the established rules.

  11. tulip says:

    How the Palm Coast City Council Members Ranked the 16 Candidates

    @ROBERT LEWIS——click on the above title in the actual article Pierre wrote, and you will see that DeLoranzo chose Don Tobin as his #1 pick. We all know Don Tobin from his website. Obviously he has a big interest in real estate and building projects etc.

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