The Palm Coast City Council today elected to interview three of the four candidates who applied to fill the District 2 seat vacated by Jack Howell, who resigned earlier this month for health reasons.
The council will interview Jon Netts, the former mayor, Hung Hilton and William Schreiber. The interviews will take place in a public meeting on Aug. 4.
Howell was just short of the two-year mark in his term, requiring the council to appoint a replacement until the November election, when voters will choose the council member to complete the two years left in the term. Netts attempted a comeback two years ago, running against Howell. Howell defeated him with 56 percent of the vote.
The council is looking for someone who could fill the seat effectively and knowledgeably during budget season, when crucial decisions are made. Council member Eddie Branquinho today attempted to narrow the list of applicants to one (“Can we reduce it to one?” he’d asked), presumably with Netts in mind. The city attorney said nothing in the charter prevented the council from doing so, but he cautioned that the rules set out for the application process also entailed short-listing and interviewing the candidates.
Both Council members Nick Klufas and Bob Cuff were interested in interviewing other candidates. “It’s tempting,” Cuff said, to go along with Branquinho’s proposal and opt for Netts. “I have no doubt he could do the job without missing a beat,” but he said two other candidates as well deserved consideration. He was willing to rule out Norman, whose application had been incomplete and seemed to lack seriousness. “We owe at least a couple of these other applicants at least the courtesy of interviewing,” Cuff said.
The rest of the council agreed and voted unanimously to interview the three candidates on Aug. 4. The candidates will wait in a back room, during the open interviews, which will be conducted the way today’s meeting was, combining in-person and remote participation. The candidates will appear in person at City Hall. They will be afforded three-minute opening and three-minute closing statements, with council questions in between.
Howell announced his resignation on July 9. The council moved quickly to fill the seat as required by its charter, which requires an appointment within 30 days. The council short-listed the candidates in a special meeting this morning–a hybrid Zoom and in-person meeting: City Hall is still closed to the public–following a special workshop on its various non-general-revenue funds.
After moving to Palm Coast in 1992 Netts served six years as a District 2 councilman and nine years as mayor. He’d previously served eight years on a New Jersey planning board and four terms as a councilman there. He is still serving on the board of the Florida Inland Navigation District, from where he says he’s channeled over $3 million in competitive grants to Flagler County and its cities.
Hilton is an information technology specialist, employed since February 2014 by Gerber Life Insurance as a “senior solutions architect”
(a designation he shares with Klufas) as he describes the position on his resume. He moved to Palm Coast from Michigan in December 2015. “Most importantly,” he wrote in his application, “I would love to see Palm Coast continue to be an awesome city that uses technology to engage our citizens, encourage local growth and continue preserving the natural beauty around us.”
Schreiber, a retired research scientist with a mathematics and physics degree, has “held upper management positions in the commercial world with responsibilities for planning, budget and operations,” he writes in his application, citing work in “underwater acoustics.” He last worked in the commercial world in the mid-1980s, when he was employed by Planning Systems Incorporated in Hawaii. He then moved to Florida and started teaching physics, calculus and physical sciences at St. Augustine High School. He retired from teaching when he was at Pedro Menendez High School in St. Augustine, in 2007. He’s lived in the city since 1995–and notes that he voted against Palm Coast’s incorporation in 1999, but “now personally feel that the incorporation was a good thing.”
Norman is a retired pastor and corrections officer, last working in corrections in 2001 when he was with the Noble County Sheriff’s Department in Indiana. He was a sheriff’s deputy and police officer in West Virginia between 1984 and 1991. Concurrently he was with the Ohio-based Scioto Valley Christian Conference between 1987 and 2017 (he lists that association on his resume as with the Scioto Valley Church Conference).
The Howell resignation and special election in November means that an unprecedented four seats are up for election this year, with at least two seats certain to have new members: incumbent Bob Cuff has decided not to run again for his District 1 seat. The mayor’s seat and District 3 seat, currently held by Nick Klufas, are also up. Three people have already filed to run for the Howell seat in the November election: David Alfin, Victor Barbosa and Jarrod Maxwell.
Wow here we go again, Please, please, please not Nett’s again. This man has put this city on a course of costing all the tax payer’s more and more money. He’s has the open check book syndrome, spend, spend, spend. It’s enough of this open money spending, times are tight for all of us, we have been forced to tighten our purse strings, yet this council seems to want to continue to spend. He’s had his term, and lost the last time he tried to run, Get the hint Nett’s your not wanted anymore. I’ll quote the Mayor from her Town Hall meeting of 4/22/20, “We have to protect the most vulnerable citizen’s of our community” , “the elderly”. They are the one’s as well as many other’s that are on a slim fixed budget, continue to raise tax’s will leave many without a home or a place to live. Nett’s = future property tax increase’s. Just look at his past history of being on the council, and his voting record. Wake up current city council member’s voters are getting tired of the nonsense, change’s maybe forth coming to some.
The merry go round continues. Same names people policies and network. SMH good luck
No, no, no, not Netts.
Only Me says
With no disrespect to former Mayor Netts but it is time the City of Palm Coast has some new fresh faces on their committee.
We want new idea’s and new changes.
It appears that one or more of them have already selected who they want to fill the vacant slot.
Did anyone of them come into the job in a ball of fire, knowing it all? Or did they have to learn it?
This is a done deal.
Why doesn’t Netts just go away ????
PC 96 says
Anybody but John Netts. He was useless as Mayor. Never had any good experiences with dealing with him, especially with the problems at Ralph Cater Park over the years. All he did was side track the issues, lied to us and made promises to the citizens of the neighborhood and never did a thing.. He is totally useless in a government position. If you put him back in a city office you are all making a big mistake and will pay for it at the poles !
This position will be filled for only about 6 meetings, then a new councilperson will be elected in November. Jon Netts does have considerable knowledge and experience in these things and doesn’t need to get a “quick education” on city issues and budgets. Mr Netts will not be running in November, nor will one of the men, if chosen instead, because that is the deal. It’s a short term thing, so all you people out there should give him some slack. How much do you know about the other two applicants and what they would do?
Mr. Deeds says
Time for new faces with new ideas.
Dennis C Rathsam says
Oh No not NETTS… Youve got to be kidding… Palm Coast has had enough of this man! He shouldnt be allowed in this vetting. He’s a has been…. Netts is the one who rammed that city hall building down our throats, when we all voted against it. He ran for this seat on the council & got beat badly! Go away Jonn, move back to NJ! Ill bet the soon to be X mayor will vote for him, he was daddy buddy! Palm Coast needs to move foward, not backwards…Show Netts the door once & forgood!
Netts should not even be considered. Forgetting his questionable past as mayor, he and Holland are way too close. He along with a couple of other ‘rubber stampers’ would eliminate any type of fair and impartial counsel. Add in Morton who is also a ‘rubber stamper’ and buddy, buddy with Holland and there will be no fair, impartial or citizen concerned leadership directing this city. Every current council member up for election should be removed. Likewise for Morton when a new council is sworn in.
Dennis CRathsam says
I cant believe Netts is still trying to be relavent! He is a has been! Old ideas from an old man! Have U no shame Mr Netts. The people of Palm Coast dont want U near city hall. We remember all your lies, and forcing that city hall building down are throats! Go away old man…Just go away!
In 6 meetings Netts can further the damage he did in 12 years to our city starting with the millions wasted on his brainy water desalinization plant feverish grandious failed plans and never ending desalinization BS talk costly meetings. Finally when “as I figured” were the half billion or more cost to start construction all the other gathered counties and cities jumped ship and left palmcoaster’s holding the bag. Oh yeah Netts experienced is unique to break our hard earned tax register.
The destruction of the Florida Park Drive residents quality of life when he allowed the channeling of all the traffic and trips from all his approved multifamily housing off Palm Harbor Parkway, without widening north Old Kings Road first. When they closed the south bound traffic of PHP to OKR with the turn lanes he approved into FPD and his relentless ignoring the outcry of the FPD residents attending city council meetings. But he needed his city hall first, something we voted NO by referendum.
Off course who are for Netts picking; Branquinho the biggest failure of our last elections on his stands with his block voting in most proposals including the most damaging to our hard earned taxpayers funds and quality of life. A for developers lobbyist that we do not need:
“December 3, 2019 ·
American Village Ribbon Cutting event (11/30) with the developer (Alex Ustilovsky), the builder (Luis Medeiros), city of Palm Coast counsel men (Robert Cuff and Eddie Branquinho), and of …”
Looking forward that the cockiness against wishes of Palmcoasters (that put this county and region on the map) exhibited by county and city will not materialize once more by appointing Netts in a totalitarian display. C’mon he lost against Jack Howell in a democratic election and that speaks for itself.
No Netts. I’m sorry Netts whole two terms was in proving that he wanted nothing to do with protecting residential neighborhoods from excessive cut-thru traffic and speeding. He pushed off to the next administration resolving 8,300 cars per day through the residential neighborhood of FL PK DR. The verdict is still out on whether this administration plans to protect neighborhoods from excessive cut-thru traffic and speeding. So far there has been no indication of a “Traffic Claiming Ordinance” which would allow “soft speed humps” in neighborhoods plagued with cut-thru traffic and speeding. In my opinion to Love and Care about residents you have to protect the residential neighborhoods they live in; which means protecting their “Quality of Life and Health”. We feel 95% safe from crime in our neighborhoods, but we need to add 95% for Quality of Life and 95% for Health. NO NETTS – See what can happens when the City refuses to protect residential neighborhoods: http://flpkdr.com/