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Arthur McGovern Jr., Palm Coast City Council Candidate: The Live Interview

| July 30, 2016

art mcgovern

Art McGovern, a 67-year-old Palm Coast resident, has so far been a question mark. (© FlaglerLive)

Arthur McGovern Jr. is a candidate for Palm Coast City Council, District 1. He faces three other candidates: Robert Cuff, Sims Jones and Troy DuBose.

Little is known of McGovern other than that he is a 67-year-old resident of Wendlin Lane in Palm Coast. He has not attended election forums so far. He has not responded to email and phone inquiries. He has neglected to vote in five of the last eight elections in which he was eligible to vote, including three elections that included candidates for the Palm Coast City Council, according to Supervisor of Elections records, though he’s been registered to vote locally since 1993. He paid the fee to be on the ballot but does not appear to be taking his candidacy seriously.

Since its incorporation in 1999, when all five of its council seats were up for election, Palm Coast has not had an election like this year’s, when three seats are open. The council majority, in other words, is certain to turn over, with three new faces in November joining two relative newcomers: Steven Nobile and Heidi Shipley were elected only in 2014. That’s because Mayor Jon Netts, who has been on the council since 2001, is term-limited. Council member Bill McGuire resigned effective Aug. 15. And Council member Jason DeLorenzo is running for a county commission seat.

Of all the candidates running for Palm Coast City Council, only one–Milissa Holland–has held public office before. She was a county commissioner for six years. It will not only be the greenest council in 17 years. It is almost certain to be the youngest council, ending an era dominated by mostly retired council members.

This is a non-partisan election. That means all registered voters in Palm Coast, regardless of party or non-party affiliation–Democrats, Republicans, independents and others–may cast a ballot for all three seats, regardless of district.

If a candidate wins more than 50 percent in any of these races on Aug. 30, the race is over: that candidate is the winner. But if none of the candidates clears the 50 percent hurdle in the primary, then the top two vote-getters will face-off in a run-off on the general election ballot on Nov. 8.

Palm Coast council members serve four years. They’re paid $9,600 a year, $11,400 for the mayor, not including a monthly “telecommunications” allowance.

FlaglerLive submitted identical questions to all candidates, with the understanding that additional questions might be tailored to candidates individually and some follow-up questions may be asked, with all exchanges on the record. The Live Interview’s aim is to elicit as much candor and transparency as possible. We have asked candidates to refrain from making campaign speeches or make lists of accomplishments. We have also asked candidates to reasonably document any claim or accusation. Undocumented claims are edited out. Answers are also edited for length, redundancy, relevance and, where possible, accuracy. If a candidate does not answer a question or appears to be evading a question, that’s noted.

But it’s ultimately up to the reader to judge the quality and sincerity of a candidate’s answers.

The Questions in Summary: Quick Links

The Basics: Arthur McGovern Jr.

Place and Date of Birth: Jan. 29, 1949.
Current job: Not provided.
Party Affiliation: Independent.
Financial disclosure: Not provided.
Not provided.
WebsiteNot provided.

1. What are your top three policy priorities that you pledge will realistically be accomplished by the end of your first term. If they cost money, how do you propose to fund those priorities?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

2016 Election Interviews

Supervisor of Elections

Kaiti Lenhart
Kimble Medley
Abra Seay


Jim Manfre (D)
Don Fleming (R)
Larry Jones (D)
John Lamb (R)
Jerry O'Gara(R)
Rick Staly (R)
Mark Whisenant (R)
Chris Yates (R)
Thomas Dougherty (I)

Palm Coast City Council

Robert Cuff (Dist. 1)
Troy DuBose (Dist. 1)
Sims Jones (Dist. 1)
Art McGovern Jr. (Dist. 1)
Nick Klufas (Dist. 3)
Anita Moeder (Dist. 3)
Pam Richardson (Dist. 3)
John Brady (Mayor)
Milissa Holland (Mayor)
Dennis McDonald (Mayor)
Ron Radford (Mayor)

Flagler School Board

Colleen Conklin (Dist. 3)
Jason Sands (Dist. 3)
Paul Anderson (Dist. 5)
Maria Barbosa (Dist. 5)
Sharon Demers (Dist. 5)
Myra Middleton-Valentine (Dist. 5)

Flagler County Commission

Charlie Ericksen (Dist. 1)
Ken Mazzie (Dist. 1)
Daniel Potter (Dist. 1)
Jason France (Dist. 3)
Dave Sullivan (Dist. 3)
Denise Calderwood (Dis. 5)
Donald O'Brien (Dist. 5)

2. Cite three issues or concerns that in your view the city is addressing poorly or not at all, and explain how you intend to convince the council to change course.

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

3. Have you read the city charter? Do you think it’s due for a review? If so, by what process. What specifically would you change, add or subtract in the charter, if anything?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

4. Palm Coast has the authority to impose a public service tax on your utility bill of up to 10 percent, and a franchise fee on utilities, which would be passed to customers, of up to 10 percent. The money may be spent at the council’s discretion. Many counties and cities around the state partially or fully levy one or both the taxes. Palm Coast considered imposing a 6 percent electric franchise fee and a 2 percent public service tax in 2012, but reversed course in the face of strong public opposition, even though the two new taxes were intended to replace the existing stormwater fee. Either of the new taxes, proponents argue, would diversify the city’s revenue stream. Either could be used to generate revenue that would otherwise have to be generated by property taxes, though the public service tax and the franchise fee are regressive in comparison. Where do you stand on either new tax becoming part of Palm Coast’s taxing structure?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

5. Explain who provides ambulance and fire services in the city. Evaluate the quality of that service, including your assessment of the adequacy of fire stations and EMS, and what you would change, if anything, about it. If your proposed changes cost money, how would you pay for them?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

6. Palm Coast and the county have a sniping, at times competitive, at times antagonistic relationship, as if between fiefs. To what extent are the two elected bodies responsible? To what extent are the two government’s managers responsible? How will you help foster a less medieval relationship?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

7. Describe the dynamics of the council: who controls policy, the council or the city administration and manager? What would you change about those dynamics?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

8. Jon Netts’s tenure as mayor spanned half the life of the city: eight years. Ceremonial duties aside, what should the next mayor continue that Netts did best, and what approach or method should the next mayor discontinue or do differently, including parliamentary conduct during meetings? How do you hope the next mayor distinguishes himself or herself from Netts?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

9. Evaluate City Manager Jim Landon’s performance, citing strengths and weaknesses. His total compensation package is close to a quarter of a million dollars. He is seeking a raise. Would you grant it? [Note: the question went to candidates before the council’s vote rejected the request on July 19, though the question remains valid for the new council.]

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

10. Palm Coast relies on the sheriff for policing. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of that contract, and tell us what specifically you would change about it. Are some areas of Palm Coast less effectively policed than others? Do you favor an independent police department for the city, now or in the near future?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

11. The current council appears opposed to a civil citation program that would lessen the penalty for a first-time marijuana possession offense in many circumstances. Without Palm Coast’s approval, the county-wide effort is most likely doomed. Where do you stand on that proposal?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

12. Code enforcement: Palm Coast is clearly the harshest enforcer among local governments, regulating such things as garbage cans in view of the street, work vans with commercial imprints on their sides parked in residential areas, and of course tall grass. The city has a fleet of enforcers, and an enforcement board that routinely levies fines on violators. Complainers to the city can remain anonymous. How comfortable are you with that regime, and what, if anything, would you change?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

13. The Palm Harbor Golf Club and the city’s tennis club has been losing money since their inception while serving a relatively small number of club members. Should the two clubs stay open with city subsidies? If not, what’s your alternative?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

14. The city will be expanding and modernizing its community center next year. But residents from time to time have clamored for a senior center. Do you favor building and operating a stand-alone senior center? If so, how do you propose the city should pay for it? 

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

15. Question customized for Arthur McGovern: You appear to have no record of public involvement, you have not appeared at any forums so far, you have neglected to vote in most elections since 2011 in which you were eligible to vote, including Palm Coast elections. Yet you are running for a Palm Coast Council seat. Why should anyone take your candidacy seriously?

Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.

13 Responses for “Arthur McGovern Jr., Palm Coast City Council Candidate: The Live Interview”

  1. Katie Semore says:

    Katie did not comment.

  2. tulip says:

    Well one good thing comes out of some of the “no-show” candidates and that is that it makes it easier for us to narrow down the list of whom we are going to vote for.

  3. Jules Kwiatkowski says:

    I do not see any questions about how the new city council will help the new Performing Art Center at town center become a dream come true.

  4. Robert Lewis says:

    Is this guy even real ? Or is he a ghost?
    I think this race goes to Bob Cuff

  5. Algernon says:

    At least, Arthur, being loquacious as usual, provided consistent answers.

  6. Brad W says:

    This might actually be one of the most genius local campaigns of all time. No campaign at all. Total mystery. No one has a clue who this guy is and I can tell you that people are talking about him.

    He might actually win.

  7. Brad W says:

    @Jules Kwiatkowsk,

    My wife and I were talking about this today as we drove past the site. What is even more surprising to me is that none of the candidates are talking about this. We keep hearing “senior center” which is total expense and not an investment. And hear we have a Performing Arts Center going in that has the potential to real contribution as an economic driver in the area and no one is talking about how to continue investing in that which could help provide the revenue to do things like a senior center.

  8. Oldseadog says:

    Maybe Arthur is sending a subtle hint to Donald Trump to shut his mouth and maybe get more votes!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Holland is what we don’t need more of!!! Holland would’ve a female Netts. Smart man here to stay above the political spin. This candidate speaks to the voters directly.

  10. CLS says:

    “15. Question customized for Arthur McGovern: You appear to have no record of public involvement, you have not appeared at any forums so far, you have neglected to vote in most elections since 2011 in which you were eligible to vote, including Palm Coast elections. Yet you are running for a Palm Coast Council seat. Why should anyone take your candidacy seriously?

    Arthur McGovern did not answer the question.”


  11. r&r says:

    Another loser along with Ogara and those that snub their noses to the voters who make the choice and want to know what these guys stand for. Lamb is my choice.

  12. Scottie Cantine says:

    Brady, 74, said he’d like an audit of the city’s utility department and for the council to re-evaluate the need for an in-house attorney. Brady also would like to conduct “Wednesdays with the Mayor.”

  13. Rocco says:

    Is he from Waltham mass?

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