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Palm Coast’s Jim Landon Wants to Add to His $218,000 Pay Package, Council Pushes Back Slightly

| March 8, 2016

jim landon raises

Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon says after seven years without one, he’s due a raise. (© FlaglerLive)

Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon hasn’t had a raise in seven years. He now wants one, he told the council, retroactive to the beginning of the year, though his current base salary of $168,878, not including other compensation and allowances that push it past $218,000—never mentioned in a half-hour discussion he led himself on Tuesday—is still well ahead of his next-closest competitor among executive hires in local public agencies.

That would be Craig Coffey, the county manager, whose base salary is $156,000, or just under $161,000 with allowances. Jacob Oliva, the school superintendent, has a base salary of $125,000, but additional compensation pushes it past $140,000. Bunnell’s Dan Davis was hired at $68,500 and Flagler Beach’s Larry Newsom at $88,000. (But even Coffey is not the next-highest paid public employee after Landon. That would be Al Hadeed, the county attorney, a direct hire of the county commission. His salary, which started below Coffey’s, last year was $188,800. It’s not clear what Palm Coast’s principal attorney’s salary is, as he is in private practice, though his firm’s contract with Palm Coast hovers around $400,000, and the Palm Coast council just awarded it a 15 percent raise.)

Landon is proposing what would equate to a $1,500 raise this year, even without an evaluation, as required by his contract. He got resistance from the council on both counts, but no outright opposition to a raise in principle, though Mayor Jon Netts was quote opposed to any “automatic” annual increase of any sort. The council’s decision on whether and how to award Landon a raise will be left to another day, though Landon, looking to ensure that he would get something, pushed hard to nail down whether the council will agree to a percentage or an actual sum.

“Let’s look at the documents first,” Netts said, “that will give us a clue as to how we want to proceed.”

Landon pointed to his own self-evaluations–the annual glossy “progress report”–as his performance reviews. Council members disagreed.

Landon’s contract does call for the potential of an annual raise, but only “on the basis of an annual evaluation and salary review” by the council. Year after year, the council has neglected to fulfill its duty in that regard, allowing Landon to make the astounding claim that his own annual progress reports—glossy presentations his staff prepares with marketing savvy to show him and the city in its best light, at his direction—is his evaluation. When FlaglerLive requested the council’s evaluations of the manager, it was directed to those reports. And Landon himself, on Tuesday, willingly furthered the jive: “I’ve always considered the annual progress report as kind of an evaluation process,” he said. And the wording of his proposed contract amendment tied his annual raise directly to the annual progress report.

Landon had stacked today’s meeting ahead of his raise request with one such progress report, along with several other presentations that showed him in good light—on investments, capital improvements, “branding” the city, even children’s safety. It was a nakedly heavy-handed entry into the raise discussion, but with limited effect. The council that had bought the progress-report-as-evaluation approach for years didn’t buy it today.

“I don’t consider the progress report the evaluation,” council member Jason DeLorenzo said, recalling his last actual evaluation as dating back to his first year on the council, nearly five years ago, though he made up his own evaluation form at the time. “I think we need something more formal.”

“I agree with Jason. I haven’t said much about it in the last five years because of where your salary is,” council member Bill McGuire said. “I don’t think the annual progress report is a quantifiable measurement of your performance. It’s certainly to your credit that you put together the staff that has put the city where it is, but when you’re talking about an individual performance, you’re talking about how did the individual performed to his individual goals. We’ve got a good working relationship, but I’ve never sat down and told you Mr. Landon, I think these should be your goals for the year.”

jason delorenzo city council

Jason DeLorenzo. (© FlaglerLive)

DeLorenzo’s review proposal, however, was barely more transparent than what’s in place now. He proposed having the human resources director hand out evaluation forms to council members’ mailboxes. The members would fill it out and return it to HR. The HR director, then—who works at Landon’s pleasure—would go over the evaluations with him, rather than the council, and would do so behind closed doors, even though Landon is a council hire. There would be no discussion of the evaluation by council members in an open meeting (though the evaluations would be available for public inspection).

“To me,” McGuire said in contrast, “an evaluation is based upon individual goals. If I gave you a list of goals and said, here’s what I want you to do in terms of performance for the next year, then at the end of the year I can sit down with you and say OK, here’s how you did per those goals, and if you meet those goals, here’s the max that you can expect to get, and if you don’t you’ll get something less than that.” He referred Landon to the manager’s performance review of his own staff. But he didn’t mention discussing the evaluation openly, either.

Landon then himself pushed back, as if not taking responsibility for the work being done by his administration. “For someone in my position,” he said, “did those goals get done, lots of times I may give direction, but I’m not actually doing the work.”

“But there are more personal items, there are more behavioral items, you know what I’m saying?” council member Steven Nobile said.

Council members batted around various ideas, leaving it to an eventual blend of various evaluation documents used over the years and by different agencies.

Landon approached the matter of the raise itself in full recognition of its delicacy. He was not proposing a percentage raise, as even a small annual percentage raise would equate to a sizeable pay increase, given the size of his base pay. (A mere 2 percent cost-of-living raise, for example, would net him $3,380, compounding the next year, so that even if he were to go the next seven years with such cost-of-living raises, he’d reach $194,000.)

Rather, he proposed to increase his pay according to the dollar amount awarded his department heads. This year, the department heads got $1,535, based on a 2 percent raise. “That represents a little less than 1 percent pay raise,” he said.

Council members were less concerned with the dollar amounts than with the method through which Landon would get his raise, and its political ramifications (though none discussed the retroactive nature of Landon’s request). Just last month, the council, after nearly a year of debating its own pay and possible raises, at first adopted what would have amounted to a few dollars’ raise, then ultimately rejected the scheme altogether, finding it not worth the potential political fallout. Landon’s willingness to hit the council with his own raise request so soon after the council’s flop on the issue was striking for its timing.

steven nobile palm coast charter review

Palm Coast council member Steven Nobile. (© FlaglerLive)

“That makes it easier for us,” Nobile said of a formal evaluation process, “because I would rather there’d be a structure in there, so that I don’t want to have to deal with a bad perception outside of this building—well, why did you vote for as pay raise, just an abstract pay raise.”

“I would not want this to be an automatic—you’re going to get 2 percent or $2,000 every year,” Netts said, adding that there could be times when Landon himself might consider it unwarranted.

“Absolutely, it has to be something so you have that discretion every year of saying no, that ain’t happening,” Landon said.

But that’s not what the proposed amendment to his contract he’d submitted to the council said. The amendment included four “shall” ’s in the space of 100 words, commanding the council to award the annual raises and saying nothing about council “discretion.” In fact, the amendment would have replaced the section of the contract that left it up to the council’s discretion.

Landon added toward the end of the discussion: “My other request, because this is just my ethics, is, I don’t want anything more than what other employees get, that’s why I’m trying to tie it into something at the low end of what others [get], because the worst thing that happens, in my opinion, because it’s so public, is for me to get a higher pay raise than the rest of the employees.”

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57 Responses for “Palm Coast’s Jim Landon Wants to Add to His $218,000 Pay Package, Council Pushes Back Slightly”

  1. Madeline Fey says:

    He doesn’t deserve it

  2. Greg Hall says:

    You all are overpaid need to get rid of all y’all and get new people

  3. Does he put a uniform on and patrol our county as do the law enforcement and fire fighters and rescue guys that are paid oh so lower than his salary? I think not! Sent by my husband a retired law enforcement officer.

  4. Linda Sparda says:

    Gee jim Landon, living high off the horse of citizens tax paying money. Flagler has the highest rate of unemployment in the state of Florida. No, wonder you enjoy living in palm coast and raising a family. It must me nice to demand a raise like this with your attitude of telling a citizen hope you find a place enjoyable to live. We have starving families in Flagler county. What the hell do you do to contribute to this city. It would be interesting to know?

    Your already over paid give me a break. Maybe citizens should petition this.

  5. Claire Elise says:

    Not seeing a while lot of progress with jobs in Flagler/Palm Coast. And home values are still middling. Lots of crime issues as well. What exactly is improving?

  6. Flatsflyer says:

    The Palm Coast City Manager currently makes more than the Los Angeles City Manager, enough said. If he doesn’t like his package, he can always pack his bags and head down the road.

  7. Everyone complains they are overpaid, but no one is volunteering to take over the job without pay!

  8. Lin says:

    This last part of the discussion from Landon, the highest paid, that he doesn’t want more than the other employees get is just too precious. He’s not getting an extra 2% of a $35,000 salary.

    Why is the Council is discussing with Landon how the raises would or would not work? There can be negotiations but for goodness sake are there any City clearcut guidelines in writing? And at that level of compensation The city manager should be reaching goals or he should be fired. Or perhaps no raise. Where is his accountability?

  9. Pete Sanchez says:

    What have you done for us lately???? Another do nothing greedy politician….go look for refundable soda bottles if you need more money!!!lol!!

  10. Shrimpley Pibbles says:

    Palm Coast’s median home income is under $50k. I say pay him $50k.

  11. He has not impressed me as a city leader. Raise? Hell NO

  12. Optimist prime says:

    Fix the issues that are at hand first Jim, then ask for more money. People could appreciate that, at least.

  13. Smokey the Bear For Sheriff says:

    You palm Coasters have all lost your minds to pay the City Manger of Palm Coast over $200k per year to manage the highest poverty and jobless rate in the state. There would be no problem to fill his position with many applications for $90k per year. He makes more then Miami Dade and palm Beach County city mangers, with them having populations in the millions.You all have homeless people on every street corner in Palm coast, Your $200k+ city Manger should be so proud, what does he care, he wrote his own severance package anyways, so he’s got nothing to lose lots to gain! You also pay the City Fire Chief over $130k per year, WTF are you nut jobs thinking. Palm coast employees has not gotten any significant raise in the Years, only the top management gets raises and their raises are almost as much of what the whole department would make it if they got a raise. I am so glad I live out the country
    I got a shotgun rifle and a 4-wheel drive ,I can skin a buck and run a trout line us country boys can survive!


  14. chopshop says:

    its time the mayor and council got off their ass and start discussing not a pay raise, but a way to fire him and start interviewing new managers at a reel pay rate. he does not get along with his peers or other government people. we pay him that money to get in pissing matches with crag coffee. the city neighborhoods look like hell while he boosts how good the city looks. my be we should pay him out of the golf course fund, another Landon failure. landon is the king of wasted tax payer money, and he wants to steel more. FIRE HIM//////////////////////

  15. Rich Bencal says:

    Overpaid to start. Just say no!!!!

  16. George Crist says:

    The city has the highest crime rate of all time and you think you deserve more??? Idiot!!

  17. It would be nice to see that kind of funding go to adult education work related day programs for disabled adults out of high school.

  18. Kevin says:

    Our taxes are ridiculous, cut this guys salary and let him leave then go out on the open market for someone more capable at half his pay. This is absurd and has to stop.

  19. Bye Jim Bye says:

    Hose cleaning time Palm Coast……………..THROW OUT everyone in charge and start fresh!!!

  20. I will campaign against any city council member that supports an increase for this man.

  21. he is arrogant and truly not the best for Palm Coast

  22. Freddy says:

    Not happy with your pay? move on elsewhere.

  23. Linda Sparda says:

    This place just sucks and im putting my house up for sale. I hate it here including landon telling me he enjoys Living here cause shit look at his income. Telling me in an email hope you find somewhere enjoyable to live. What an ass.

  24. What a nerve! Social Security recipients received a ZERO per cent increase – that is exactly what Landon should get, which is actually more than he deserves!

  25. Jadobi says:

    Maybe we are looking at this wrong…. He’s a good City Manager, ask him, he’ll tell you. Seriously though, I’d be curious to know what raises have been offered to ALL City employees in the same period. FlaglerLive, do you happen to have that info?

  26. Layla says:

    I believe that this Manager makes more than both the City Manager of Orlando and the Governor. For a town of high unemployment, we have the highest paid politicians I’ve ever seen. And this will continue to be the case until people here decide to show up and vote them out.

    What is the expiration date on Landon’s contract? Never.

    Unhappy with the terms of your contract, Mr. Landon? Move on.

  27. confidential says:

    Bad time to ask for an increase Mr. Landon.
    I still wonder why we allowe the Flagler County Commissioners to pay Hadeed what they do, out of our hard earned taxes! On top of it all the legal additional expenses we have to boot SLAPP suing our citizen tax watch dogs and some of our Constitutional Officers elected by overwhelming majority over 60% (former SOE Weeks) when they oppose FCBOCC and Manager Coffey micromanagement and manipulations.

  28. Linda Sparda says:

    Jim landon has a lot of audacity to believe hes entitled to over200k per year. I would take the advicev from above statement to fire him and get someone for 90k per year to start and maybe wasnt so cocky about this matter!

  29. Anonymous says:

    OVER paid.

  30. Linda Sparda says:

    I am with the other people of palm coast. Any council members in favor for this lazy, arrogant, guy to get a py raise im voting against. This guy has a lot of audacity. I mean, this is crazy. The crime rate is way up, prostitution ring, drug ridden, fraud ciruit in all retail stores. Ppl are home less, starving and out of work! But, this jerk feels he entitled to over200k a year, when in fact, he is currently over paid. Some doctors dont make this much.
    They save lives. This guy is a nusiance.

  31. Common Sense says:

    What incredible arrogance. He is overpaid as it is. Get rid of him.

  32. Charlie D says:

    I agree with everything said so far. We can complain all we want but I’ll bet you he gets his raise. Our city leaders don’t have the stones to tell him no.

  33. justinaS says:

    don’t know about yall, but I certainly expect a little more out of landon and not just because he is a smooth operator, particularly when compared to the unhinged and moronic county administrator coffee. At least the useless cuppa decaff had the audacity to get his raise in before his commission went through a complete overhaul. Landon knows he will be dealing with a whole new bunch after this election year when he’s got a new mayor and new council to start brain washing.

  34. Former Student says:

    Fire him. This is the kind of asshat that sits in congress and refuses to work to fix the government not having money until HE gets paid his fat stack of money.

  35. OldSeaDog says:

    There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Perception is reality. No matter how good your intentions are, what matters is how you are perceived. The public are weighing in
    with heart and soul strongly hinting to the elected City Council what the voters think!

  36. tulip says:

    Landon is about the highest paid city manager anywhere. All the city council has to do is vote no on any raises and then the decision on whether to leave or stay is up to Landon. He will quickly find out that he won’t find a job for the kind of money he makes now.

    I also don’t think the city council wants to go through the hassle of searching for a new city manager and all that entails, so it’s easier to give Landon what he wants. JMO

  37. Jana DiNatale says:

    This guy has a lot of nerve! Actually the whole city council needs to be kicked to the curb and start from scratch!

  38. J Guteirez says:

    Coffey given another 3 years WITHOUT an evaluation being conducted. Now this, so called, public servant is looking to get the same. And let us not forget, these two bicker about issues rather than work together to solve.

    It’s time to bring in fresh thinking. We are stuck with Coffey for 3 years, unless willing to pay him 1 year’s pay and benefits to go away. Thank you county commission. Maybe we should take this opportunity to replace Landon, and plan Coffey’s removal. Also, let’s not forget the elected ones who have put, and kept these two in place.

    Our community is recovering from the downturn. Let’s have leadership that sees that we get the most out of the recovery. That applies to both county and city government.


  39. Anonymous says:

    I think the city council needs to start aggressive recruitment then tell Jim his next contract will be for a 100 k less take it leave. That said, you can’t blame him or Manfrey for any crime rate. Blame the crimminals first, the LAX Courts, then move to the home renters and lastly the city council for allowing not only duplex housing but allowing any homes to be rented in the first place.

  40. carol says:

    Poor thing, having a hard time making ends meet.
    Let’s all help Landon out. Feel so sorry!

  41. Layla says:

    @ J. Gutierez: You nailed it.

    It is long past time for new leadership on both the city and county levels here. Praying that we get it; voting helps, too.

  42. Linda Sparda says:

    I cant wait to vote in a new mayor and sheriff. Does anyone have any good suggestions? Except, no Fleming for me!

  43. confidential says:

    @Anonymous to clarify, city can’t prevent or denied the right of an homeowner to rent his home. Now what city can do is inspect the rental on application and have it comply with guidelines aka city ordinances.
    We as city residents should be the watchful eyes calling on city suspected ordinance violators by other residents and or crime taking place on a residence. If we do not do that we become a slum (I avoid the use of the word ghetto now). City code enforcement does a great work keeping all they can in line with city ordinances as is the only way to not loose the value of our homes. Also keeping us safe, as slums attract more crime. When is comes to voting new leadership, please all, be careful what you wish for.

  44. TeddyBallGame says:

    This guy must have naked pics of the entire city council. What else could it be?

  45. tulip says:

    TeddyBallGame says:
    March 10, 2016 at 11:52 am
    This guy must have naked pics of the entire city council. What else could it be?

    **** Now there is a nightmare visual LOL!!!!!!!! ***

  46. Jim Bob says:

    You would think Palm Coast could be just as screwed up more cheaply!

  47. paula says:

    Honestly all the political Bozo’s in this country need to be paid or getting raises at the same rate as the lowest paid person on the rung has recieved over the past 10 years! Pretty much everyone in Palm Coast is struggling financially and drowning in debt! These public officials are paid way too much money for what they actually do! It’s time to reel them in to actual pay scales that are fair based on what the people in the area are making and the percentage of raisess the general public have recieved. Politicians are killing this country, they’re robbing us blind, and screwing us out of all of our hard earned money so they can funnel all the profits into their coffers! Everyone working deserves to be financially secure, with reasonable health care, and should be able to support their homes and families on one wage!

  48. Linda Sparda says:

    I agree with all palm coast residents opinion on this matter. Pslm coast ppl are struggling and drowning in debt and im definitely in that category.
    I think he makes way too much as it is especially for what he does. Veto this someone.

  49. Howard Duley says:

    By far and away the best group of responses I have ever seen on this paper. I am dumbfounded thar so many women have a similar attitude as myself. Congradulations ladies.

  50. Robert says:

    We need to fire this guy. 50K would be plenty for most people.

  51. Deborah Susswein says:

    I was personally affected by an absolutist, unreasonable demand by Landon that I cease communication with code enforcement regarding an issue that he knew little or nothing about. I never got an adequate response from personnel at CE, who went crying to Landon for help. Landon cut me off at the knees by making this demand without hearing my side, and the issue was never resolved. He deserves no raise if he is unwilling to hear both sides of the story. I am a resident of Palm Coast, making a difference in this community in positive ways, and I deserve to be heard. He treated me as though my issues don’t matter– and he has no time to listen, anyway. If he wants a raise, he’ll have to demonstrate that he deserves it.

  52. grace says:



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