Two years ago Flagler County Commissioner Milissa Holland tried to fire County Administrator Craig Coffey in what looked like a surprise move during a commission meeting. She only got two of the required three votes, though commissioners agreed to limit Coffey’s contract renewal to a single year. But the contract language included an automatic two-year renewal in 2011, if commissioners didn’t address the matter by august that year.
They didn’t. So Coffey’s contract was automatically extended to Dec. 3, 2013. Now Coffey is asking for an extension through February 2016.
He got it. The commission approved the extension this morning without discussion, and without an evaluation of Coffey’s performance–at least not a public one (commissioners filed written evaluations a few months ago).
“Wow, that was quick,” Coffey said after the commission approved a slew of items en masse, his contract renewal included.
Coffey is paid $141,400, plus $4,800 for a car allowance, plus mileage and expenses. The commission has not increased the pay in four years. Nor have other county employees seen their pay increase, absent promotions.
The contract renewal appears under the “consent” part of today’s commission meeting agenda. Consent items are considered routine, and are approved all together without discussion. Commissioners are given the opportunity to pull as many items as they please off the consent agenda and discuss them openly. Surprisingly, none chose to pull the contract renewal off consent, though it was just as surprising–considering the history of Coffey’s contractual issues—that Coffey, who draws up the agenda, hadn’t affirmatively placed the item on under a discussion portion of the agenda, such as the “Administrator Reports/Comments” section. Most likely, Coffey secured his renewal in individual discussions with commissioners, and placed it on consent knowing it would sail without issues.
Coffey is placing the contract up for renewal to comply with a change in state law dating back to last year, which reduces the maximum allowable severance, although Flagler commissioners had already done most of that as far as Coffey was concerned. His severance package was reduced from a year to six months’ pay in 2010. State law reduces it to a maximum of 20 weeks (a six-week reduction for Coffey).
State law, of course, has nothing to do with extending the contract to 2016. But elections do.
Coffey is looking for job security ahead of what may be a significant change on the county commission. Potentially, three seats will change hands. County Commission Chairman Barbara Revels was reelected without opposition, but Alan Peterson and George Hanns face tough battles, and Holland is resigning. (Two Republicans and an independent are running for the seat). A new commission could end the contract, but not without paying severance.
County Administrator Al Hadeed’s contract also appears under the consent portion of the agenda, but not for renewal. The change only reflects the severance term reduction to 20 weeks’ pay, from 12 months. Hadeed was hired in 2007. His contract renewed in 2009 to run through February 2013. Unlike Coffey’s papers, there is no additional renewal being presented today.
Hadeed is paid $135,000 a year, plus a $4,800 a year car allowance and mileage reimbursements.
oooooh….I don’t like sneaky politicians or bureaucrats. Hope you will follow this one, FL.
FRANK DILIBERTO says
I smell something…. do you?
The stench is unbelievable.
Kind of underhanded.
Johnny Taxpayer says
If state law limits severance to 20 weeks, why does he need a contract with an expiration date in the first place? Whether the contract expires in 2013 or 2016, the BCC can terminate him at any time and owe him 20 weeks severance, or am I missing something?
What these commissioners are thinking…? Or better say, NOT thinking, without even evaluating his work.
They don’t evaluate anything. They commission a board or someone else to do it, pay them half a million dollars, and they still get nothing done.
These commissioners don’t do anything that doesn’t directly benefit them.
Will, It isn’t a fight Will. It is sneaky and underhanded, much like everything else they do.
I still haven’t gotten past:
“Coffey is paid $141,400, plus $4,800 for a car allowance, plus mileage and expenses.”
Jim J says
Very very underhanded!!!!!!!! What are the elected officials thinking.
WHAT????? What kind of a snow job is this.. Coffey and the rest of the commisioners MUST GO.. This is Chicago politics if there ever has been.. This was an under the table and behind the scenes crooked deal.. WHAT does Coffey have on you commisioners???????
Well, it passed without discussion. Parting gift, Melissa Holland? Real shame that Revels ran, won unopposed.
We stand and complain and we can’t be bothered to show up and vote. Unless something changes drastically, we will be stuck with these people through sheer indifference.
Think first, act second says
Since it is on the consent agenda it was hoped that it would go unnoticed, damn FL for being diligent on this, they say. Good pick up FL, I say. I cannot believe there was no evaluation. I was at the meeting this morning because of the Marineland Acres subject and expected to see fireworks considering the ones between Holland and Coffey 2 years ago, but nothing. Holland has abdicated any commission responsibilities and is worried about her next election, which is why I think resignations should be instantaneous not 6 months in advance at the discretion of the resigning candidate. Obviously the other commissioners, except McLaughlin who is not up for election, did not want to create any disturbance and alienate any supporters of Coffeys.
Linzey Chaffin says
VOTE THEM ALL OUT
According to one who was there:
Both requests approved by a 5-0 vote, and NO DISCUSSION.. now that’s job security..
They had better look here b4 they even THINK about going after one single fire fighter or one single police officer.
Believe contracts/agreements can be re-negotiated/amended…like they are so oft want to do soon as the budget gets tight…and they say: Oh, so sorry, laying off a fire fighter. Oh no you better NOT! Bigger bucks closer to home/the Flagler County Commission :)
My question is why didn’t the very few people in the “audience” get up and speak when they had the chance?
Tulip, were you there? And if not, why not?
Chris romaine says
If either of the Republican candidates is successor to Milissa, I may have to move. What about that smart, insightful candidate, Abby Romaine? Would love to see a fresh, independent perspective on the Commission.
Say what you want. Coffey does a good job without the Palm Coast drama.
It would seem to me that all five commissioners observe the administrator daily – and have ample opportunity to review his executive and personal actions on a frequent and regular basis. If they are happy with his work, why not keep him on? Isn’t his prior contract, including salary and expenses, public?
Not everything they have to do over there has to be a big fight.
@Magnolia No, I was not at the BOCC meeting, but watch/listen to about 90% of them and did so with Mon. july 2nd one.
I agree with some of the above comments, Coffee works with these commissioners and if most everything is going well, what’s the problem? One of the commissioners had a personal “beef” with him, but personality confilicts happen in any group, it’s the decisions and governing of the entire board and manager as a whole entitity that counts. City and County managers are not elected by the public, so why is it being called sneaky the way his contract was renewed. And again, the people there could’ve have spoken up.
You don’t think $4 million short is a problem? Well, maybe not in this town.
He gets how much????