A FlaglerLive Investigation
Palm Coast City Council member Ed Danko, elected last November, has been the subject of an internal inquiry triggered by allegations he harassed and bullied employees and was rude to them, records show.
The investigation, which remains open, concluded in a draft report that Danko had “inappropriately attempted to influence staff’s administrative duties.” Interference would be a violation of the city charter. Danko says he never interfered or sought to interfere, and only let employees know that he would, if in no uncertain terms, take up matters in question up with the city manager or the mayor.
“At no point did I violate the city charter, at no point did I instruct anyone to perform any task,” he said Thursday evening in an interview. “If someone didn’t like my demeanor, you know what, I can’t help that. But I didn’t commit any violation against the city charter.”
Statements by four employees gathered by human resources to document three separate instances involving interactions with Danko that employees deemed inappropriate. The instances portray the councilman as raising his voice to them, as boorish and disrespectful to some of the city’s veteran and most highly regarded employees, including City Clerk Virginia Smith and Marsha Lidskin, one of the city’s longest-serving employees–she started in 2005–and one of its most gracious.
Lidskin, a part-time employee assigned to the city’s communications or public relations office, writes the Palm Coaster, the city’s bi-monthly newsletter. Last November she was preparing brief biographies of potential new council members for the December-January issue and spoke to Danko by phone. She asked him standard questions.
Then, when she asked him about organizations in which he served, “he told me that he was President of the Trump Republican Club of Palm Coast,” Lidskin wrote in a Feb. 5 statement to Regina Fuller, the director of human resources. The statement recounted the phone exchange with Danko. “I promptly told him that I would gladly include his position in the article, but I would be leaving out the name ‘Trump’ because we didn’t want to make our newsletter political. He jumped on my response immediately: he specifically asked me, ‘who told me to say this?’ and I answered him that it was my decision, as I’ve been the newsletter editor for 15 years. He then said this to me: ‘What are you – some kind of liberal?’ I was astonished and got quiet for a moment. I tried to move on to ask him totally different question[s] and he interrupted me and said the following: ‘You know what? I don’t want to talk to you anymore. I don’t ever want to talk to you again. Nor do I want to ever meet you or work with you.’ He then hung up on me.”
The interaction had left Lidskin shaken. “No one whom I’ve ever worked with in the City of Palm Coast has ever spoken like this to me. I sat quietly for a moment, trying to keep myself from getting really upset and angry,” Lidskin wrote. “It’s shameful that this all had to happen, but I’ve moved on. Thank you for asking and for caring about precarious occurrences of this kind – things that could often truly affect the job function of our employees.”
Danko doesn’t dispute most of the account. At first he said he did hang up on Lidskin, then walked that back to: “I probably said something like, ‘I’m going to go above your head, goodbye, then maybe I clicked it off after I said goodbye, but I said goodbye.” He didn’t find his demeanor objectionable–only Lidskin’s. He said it wasn’t Lidskin’s place to decide whether to include “Trump” or not, especially if she was deciding it on her own. “She doesn’t get to have her own rules,” he said. (The reference to Trump made it in, as that’s part of the club’s name.) Danko said he hadn’t even been elected yet at the time Lidskin interviewed him and found the statement to HR out of place, since he wasn’t an employee.
But the statement was written in February, months after Danko’s election, and was elicited as what would be termed “similar-fact evidence” in connection with other complaints HR had become aware of. Lidskin had also shared the experience contemporaneously with Smith, the clerk, when it happened.
Lidskin was asked to document the interaction because three days earlier, Smith had an upsetting encounter with Danko before a city council meeting. At almost every council meetings, council members take turns reading proclamations, which tend to be simple, one-page statements recognizing one cause or another, with the standard “whereas” lines. The mayor chooses the council member who reads them, generally pairing a proclamation with each council member’s interests.
Danko felt he didn’t have enough time to prepare the reading of his proclamations, and wanted them sent to him in advance. Smith told him they were all in the packet sent to council members several days ahead: Smith typically sends the entire packet to them, electronically, five days ahead of time .
“He asked ‘How do they get assigned,’” Smith wrote in a February 3 statement. “I explained the Mayor assigns the proclamations at the meeting. As the conversation continues, CM Danko is raising his voice more and more and he is standing right next to me.” (CM is shorthand for Council Member in government lingo.) “I said the Mayor assigns the Proclamations and if you want to know in advance who is assigned, you will have to request that under Council Comments. He responded with ‘I will not, I will not read it then, I will give it back to her and tell her no.’ I said you can bring it up under Council comments … he yelled interrupting me and said ‘She is not my boss, I will not bring this up, I will give it back to her, I will just tell her when she gets here.’ I said you cannot bring this up before the meeting, it is City business.” (Council members are barred by the Sunshine law from speaking about council matters outside of a public meeting.)
“He yelled again interrupting stating she is not my boss, I will do no such thing. I explained the Mayor is the one who controls the meetings in accordance with the Charter, she is the boss of the meetings, she is assigned that duty as the voice of the City in the charter,” Smith continued, accurately: the mayor, like the chairman of a commission, runs the meetings, gives other council members permission to speak–or not–and handles meeting conduct. Danko has never liked the dynamic: him as a councilman, then-Mayor Milissa Holland in charge.
“He continued yelling and said ‘I will just give it back to her if she gives it to me. You tell her,’” Smith’s account continued. “I said to CM Danko ‘I will not tell her; I will not be your conduit, I will speak with Mr. Morton.’ CM Danko said ‘Fine- so will I.’” Smith was again correct to rebuff the councilman: it is illegal for anyone to serve as conduit of city business between one elected official and another on the same board.
Brad West, a city public information specialist who was in the room at the time, corroborated part of the account in a statement of his own, but only in broad brushes that nevertheless described Danko as snapping at Smith and seeming “agitated,” then going to his seat and complaining to fellow-Council member Victor Barbosa. (West resigned this week.)
Again, Danko in the Thursday evening interview did not dispute the essence of the accounts and defended his right to question procedures, finding nothing wrong in his approach–or even the wording of the investigation’s findings. “The findings do not say that I ordered someone to do something, because I cannot direct staff, and I never directed staff. The fact that I told Virginia, ‘Holland is not my boss,’ is not directing staff.” In the interview, Danko recalled Smith telling him that Holland was his boss, as opposed to Holland being the boss “of the meeting,” as Smith in fact characterized it in her statement.
Smith in the account described herself as “upset” by the encounter and discussed it with then-City Manager Matt Morton before and after the meeting. Upset may have been an understatement. That was the encounter that prompted Morton to inquire to human resources about what to do.
“I am facing an HR issue I am not sure how to proceed on,” Morton wrote Fuller, the human resources director. “Mr. Danko ‘exploded’ at Virginia Smith before the Council Meeting last night in front of many employees (Doug, Brad and others) – she was insulted and humiliated and came to me in tears – this is a pattern, Ms. Smith also requested I address this issue, she is concerned about the prospect of retaliation from Mr. Danko that may require an independent analysis.”
Morton then wrote that “Virginia just after election had a similar encounter over the phone and documented it,” and referred to the Danko encounters with other employees, causing Fuller to investigate.
The last incident documented by human resources refers to an undated incident that took place by the side of a road, involving Greg Doston, a public works employee. Doston provided a brief statement to human resources on April 16: “Mr. Danko pulled up to the jobsite and in an unpleasant manner he questioned the crew on why we weren’t directing traffic. During the conversation he aggressively stated that he was a current member of the council and was going to inform the City manager about our lack of safety protocols. After Mr. Danko made this statement we informed him we were within the FDOT required time limit for setting up a lane closure. He then proceeded to drive away aggravated.”
This statement, Danko disputed–not for its inaccuracy but for its incompleteness. He did not dispute Doston’s account, except for his description of him as “aggravated,” saying how would Doston know. He then provided his own version of the encounter in Thursday’s interview: “I pulled up to that site with all those trucks,” Danko said, “I simply said it’s hard to get around, it’s hard to see, shouldn’t you guys have a flag person or something? The guy was very rude. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he was very condescending, very rude.” So Danko said he told Doston he was a council member and would be speaking with the city manager.
Fuller in a March 16 memo summarized what she called in the subject line the “Investigation into Council Member Ed Danko’s Employees Interference of Duties,” which included interviews with five employees. Notably, the investigation reflected no interview with Danko, which may explain why the investigation hasn’t been closed.
“City of Palm Coast Policies and Procedures, Section 3.04(A-D), states the City will not tolerate harassment or discrimination by anyone in the workplace including supervisors, co-workers or non-employees,” Fuller wrote. Danko falls in the last category: he’s not an employee strictly speaking, but he’s not exempt from city policies.
The policies also state in part: “Except for the purpose of inquiry and information, the Council and its members, including committees thereof, are expressly prohibited from interfering with the performance of the duties of any City employee who is under the direct or indirect supervision of the City Manager or City Attorney. Such action shall be malfeasance within the meaning of Florida Statutes.” The evidence gathered, Fuller said, “supports the finding that Council Member Danko inappropriately attempted to influence staff’s administrative duties.”
“I Did Nothing Wrong”
Of all the complaints, Danko said Thursday, “It’s irrelevant, I did nothing wrong, period. If somebody wants to make stuff up, and claim otherwise, what can I do?” In fact, even Danko has not disputed the accounts themselves: none of the employees were “making stuff up.” He disagreed with their interpretations of his behavior: “I was never bullying or rude. Let’s be clear on that.” And it’s the implication of interference he disputes.
In an Observer article earlier this week, first reporting on a document by Morton outlining various claims about Danko and Barbosa, the Observer had quoted Morton saying Danko was aware of the investigation, and could seek retaliation against employees. Danko called Morton a liar in the article. “Danko,” the Observer reported, “asked by a reporter if he’d been the subject of an HR investigation, said, ‘No — that’s ridiculous.’”
Danko told FlaglerLive he learned about the investigation only on Tuesday, after Interim City Manager Denise Bevan invited him to read the documents that were to be sent to FlaglerLive pursuant to a public record request. (It is unusual for a government agency to signal a record request to a person implicated in it before the records are turned over.)
“I never knew about these. This is the first time I heard anything about those things,” Danko said Thursday. Referring to the city attorney, he said: “Bill Reischmann told me that he thought they were closed out because there wasn’t much to them.” He later walked back that statement somewhat, saying Reischmann may have mentioned the investigation was still open. (“Because this matter hasn’t been closed out yet, I can’t give a comment,” Reischmann told FlaglerLive.)
“If these are all such horrible things, why have they all been sitting around until now?” Danko said. “I know why. Matt Morton, our disgruntled city manager, wanted to throw rocks on his way out the door.” It isn’t clear how that could have been the case: Morton provided neither his own email nor the documents about the internal investigation to FlaglerLive, and in his email to staff cited as a reason a specific tenet from the International City/County Management Association’s Code of Ethics that strongly suggested Morton had been the subject of inappropriate interference from council members: “Resist any encroachment on professional responsibilities, believing the member should be free to carry out official policies without interference, and handle each problem without discrimination on the basis of principle and justice.” Morton didn’t name the council members interfering with him in his email to staff. He did so in a subsequent interview and email: Danko and Barbosa.
The statements and complaints by the various employees and subsequent investigation by human resources provide more context to the dynamics between Morton and council members, and appears to provide more context to Morton’s sudden resignation.
Morton documented interactions with Danko on May 29 in an email to himself, also obtained in the same batch of records. In that email he claimed that Danko knew of the investigation and “was furious with” Morton over it.
Morton’s Email to Himself
Morton wrote the email to himself two days after announcing his resignation, and three days before the Palm Coast City Council waived his 30-day notice requirement, ending his tenure with the city. He described Danko and Barbosa as violating the city charter by interfering with administrative decisions. Danko, Morton claimed, made demands about firing employees with Alan Lowe, one of the candidates for Palm Coast mayor, at his side, when the three had lunch together around the time of the email. Danko is Lowe’s campaign manager. He denies any such demands were made, or that any list about firing employees, exists. To the contrary: he describes the lunch as pleasant, cordial, said Morton even gave Danko a roadmap on how to kill the planned but controversial expansion of the city’s tennis center, and all three shook hands at the end.
Morton’s email to himself describes matters very differently.
“I am writing this 29th of May, 2021 in advance I what I believe could be a retaliation/constructive discharge – certainly a resignation forced due to malfeasance of office and/or threats by Councilmembers Barbosa and Danko,” Morton wrote. (See the full email here. The city provided it attached to an email by Jerry Forte, the fire chief, about the improprieties of Joe Mullins, the county commissioner. Morton had paired both documents. (See the article about Forte’s email here.)
The Morton email claims Barbosa tried to get Code Enforcement Manager Barbara Grossman and Palm Coast Fire Police Chief Steve Garnes fired–Barbosa’s attempt to fire Garnes was documented and reported, including through texts he sent Morton and confirmation by Forte and emails previously obtained from the city–and to get Perry Mitrano, a former Bunnell director of solid waste, hired in Palm Coast. Barbosa has denied the allegations.
The email’s more serious allegations are about Danko, who is described as telling Morton what to say publicly about the recently uncovered “Difficult Citizens List” the city administration had conceived in 2015 and started populating in early 2016. (See: “Here’s Palm Coast’s Full ‘Difficult Citizens’ List, Its Origins, and the Kind of Offenses that Landed People On It.”)
“Ed told me what I am (was) to say in regard to the list – that it was ‘hollands and Landon’s list’ and he informed me Alan was going to do a ‘Santa video’ as the naughty list,” Morton wrote. “Danko made it very clear that if I did not follow his script [it] would go very badly for me and that I was [to] follow along.” Morton then met Danko for that one lunch Danko referred to as cordial, with Lowe among them. Morton continued: “again he mentioned the list and what I am to do – He also had a list of employees he wanted fired/gone among other things. I disagreed with almost all of his nonsense and told him he was wrong, clueless and a ‘political who’re’ who has traded good governance for politics and would destroy this community.”
The Morton email states: “Most troubling Ed Danko has been under an HR inquiry for harassment. Several employees came forward and requested action. He was furious with me. I am also concerned for the employees including Virginia Smith, Renina Fuller and the others named.” Both Smith and Fuller have clean records at the city. Danko, Morton wrote, “seemed intent on revenge and says he will call for an investigation into the list as a means to get Renina Fuller terminated as the list resided in HR, and emails with her name are on them.”
Morton in an interview with FlaglerLive days before the end of his tenure had said essentially what he’d written in his email as he explained his resignation: “Danko called me, told me exactly how the meeting should go, what I was supposed to say. And if I didn’t say it, how poorly it was going to go for me and how everything would be blamed on me. So it was that, it was Victor Barbosa, again, telling me who I needed to hire in the city.” That portion of the interview had been off the record, and so had not been reported until now. The agreement was mooted by the revelation of the email as a public record.
Briefly contacted Thursday, Morton stood by his statements, as Danko stood by his.
You get what you pay for says
Commissioner Danko showing why the Republicans in North Carolina exported him to Florida, just like Joke F. Mullins was thrown out of Georgia.
Another Chump loser!! Really, is anyone with any sense of honesty and intelligence surprised??
Nope not surprised.
Those character traits are pre-requisites for being a member of the red hat klan.
S. Gray says
I have no doubt that this newspaper woman has legitimate issues. The problem is that she didn’t handle them properly, and went crying to people that she thought would cave under her tears. Shame on her. That is why she is stuck in the position she is in – because she is not strong enough to take the heat. I spent 22 years in the Navy back when women’s lib wasn’t even an issue. We had to fight for everything we got – and using tears wasn’t allowed. This woman needs to reevaluate her way of thinking. I am not saying she was wrong in reporting what happened, but she WAS wrong in the way she dealt with it. If she is hoping to lean on the woman’s lib ideal, she has to be prepared to professionally and legitimately have a plan of action. She has to be much more intelligent than she appeared to be. If she wants to play with the big boys, she havs to learn how the big boys play. That was how I managed all of the “firsts” that I accomplished for women as a sailor. It works the same here. Those of you who think that this has anything to do with Trump are off your rockers again. But that seems to be liberal’s “ go-to” whenever anything goes wrong in their world. Shame on them for their old subject matter. It has become passé.
Pissed in PC says
Oh stop with your sanctimonious bullshit! No man in public office has the right to scream and berate any employee or constituent! It’s your red hat mentality that turned this city into a circus of asshats that have no place being in a position of governance. BTW stick your red hat where the sun don’t shine.
Before he was elected he would post on local fb groups and berate people. He was rude to anyone asking questions, calling them idiots, libtards, and telling us to kill ourselves.
That guy is a horrid person.
David Schaefer says
Thank You. These Trumpee supporters need a time out for the next 20 years. They including Mr Stanko need to keep their mouth shut you do not belong here in Palm Coast.
Jim Greene says
Ed Danko was never the President Trump of the Trump club in Palm Coast and Flagler County.
Is Danko and Joe Mullin related? Both of them need to resign from city and county positions they are not a positive force on either entities. Where do this bullies come from? Neither of them are giving us taxpayers good vibration of who is in our government in Flagler County.
James M. Mejuto says
Can anyone foresee how much of a LOW LIFE , this Danko. Of course, his sidekicks
Mullins and Barbosa always add fuel to the fire !
James M. Mejuto
Sounds Pompous Arrogant and Petty. Impressed with his own Importance allegedly.
just bob says
Ed Danko has a long history of being a bully with a Napoleon complex.
Percy's mother says
Danko’s abusive and bullying behavior is not an isolated event.
Read the story about how Danko threatened a business, business owner and employee, and was subsequently booted out of the Dare County, North Carolina GOP as recently as early 2018.
From “The Island Free Express”. . . “Board Candidate Danko, Dare County GOP Part Ways”. February 25, 2018. Here’s the link (or Google the headline):
OR, here’s another story, same issue:
From “The Outer Banks Voice, February 4, 2018 . . . “Board Candidate Ed Danko and Dare County GOP Part Ways”. Here’s the link (or Google the headline).
After becoming persona non grata (unwelcome) in Dare County, NC, Danko then showed up in Palm Coast shortly thereafter to continue his abusive behavior.
Danko’s abusive behavior is currently backed by Victor Barbosa, Alan Lowe, Joe Mullins, “pastor” Jearlyn Dennie, Sharon Demers, and we can’t forget the Alan Lowe verbally abusive supporters who think they speak “for the people” of Palm Coast. In essence, they are a subversive and extremely abusive far-right fringe group (the lot of them).
Mary Fusco says
The internet is a powerful tool for research. If people did their research, these goons would never be in office. Just because they run from one state to another does NOT make their past go away. I have read some really interesting things. What is the saying, “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”. There has to be qualified candidates out there that do not carry all this baggage.
Percy's mother says
There are many qualified, socially civil, well educated and thoughtful people in Palm Coast and Flagler County who could hold office. HOWEVER, they do not want to subject themselves or their families to abusive behavior from The Alan Lowe followers, The Joe Mullins followers OR Joe Mullins himself, The Ed Danko followers, The Flagler Liberty Coalition followers, The Sharon Demers followers, the (“pastor”) Jearlyn Dennie followers OR Jay Maher followers (who was fired by Matt Morton and who vents his anger and revenge multiple times a day on Facebook).
Perhaps you haven’t seen the disgusting, vile, extremely offensive caricatures that Joe Mullins posts on his Facebook page several times a week related to Pierre Tristam and Flagler Live (all seconded by Victor Barbosa and Jearlyn Dennie) all the while asking his followers to boycott Flagler Live and any business who advertises on Flagler Live. (condoned by Sharon Demers, the Flagler County Republican committeewoman). Abusive would be an understatement.
All the above-noted individuals and groups are subversives, unhinged, and far-right followers, most of whom were in Washington DC on January 6, 2021.
I’m sure everyone has seen the abusive rhetoric dished out in the comments section of the Palm Coast Observer Facebook page today and yesterday regarding this particular most recent issue with Danko.
Trailer Bob says
Can we get some normal , decent, thoughtful candidates elected, and who are actually committed to the residents of the area?
This is an embarrassment to us residents who have learned by now how to interact with others in a respectful manner.
Time for more even keeled people to get to the polls and vote…and not just by party, but by deciding which candidates will care and do best for those they represent…not themselves. SMH…
Cornelia Manfre is an intelligent, thoughful candidate that will think of Palm Coasters interest rather than trying to impose her views and only her views to the ill-fitted City Board, she is the balance that is needed urgently.
Dear God No! Notice she runs by her first name, as she knows Jim has dirtied up the Manfre name. She’ll be controlled by developers.
I posted the somewhat the same thing a few days ago, but for some reason the moderator of FL didn’t post it. Wonder why, humm.
Cornelia had her hand in the county buying the old hospital while her husband was sheriff. That sounds like a conflict of interest to me. She made a boat load of cash on that sale. She will not be getting my vote. Besides why run under your maiden name and not your married name? Maybe because she doesn’t want people to remember the fiasco with that old hospital transaction, and her connection to it. Not only will she be controlled by developers but so will Alfin who I believe is also a realtor.
Your previous comment was withheld because, like yours today, it is inaccurate. We are publishing yours in hope of ending this recurring falsehood from being disseminated: Cornelia Manfre was not the agent on the Memorial Hospital sale to the county, of what became the sheriff’s operations center. As this document verifies, Margaret-Sheehan Jones was.
Thanks for clarification, my bad.
Mike Cocchiola says
Cornelia Downing Manfre is her own woman. She answers to no one. She is a strong, smart thoughtful woman who will represent all of Palm Coast. She is not – repeat not – controlled by developers and never will be.
And the fact that her married name is Manfre has nothing to do with this election.
Pissed in PC says
Mike I disagree with you. All she can say is my realtor experience in all her answers at forums. If you want real leadership then vote Doug Courtney. I will never vote for any Manfre.
Mike Cocchiola says
Cornelia has responded to all questions at the forums, and when asked about management capabilities she rightly refers to the leadership and management skills she obtained while serving as an executive in large corporations. These skills will make her an excellent mayor. However, I respect your decision to vote for Doug.
Anyone but Lowe, Alfin!
Excellent point. As for using the governors picture— that’s extremely misleading! Regardless of party this candidate owes we voters an apology for deceitful advertising!
I don’t know whether CM Danko violated the City Charter by interfering with employee duties. From what’s reported, it doesn’t sound like he did. I think a simple verbal warning from the City Manager would have been sufficient. Or perhaps, like what happens in most cities where this is noticed, the Manager writes a memorandum to all of Council reminding them of the Charter provision and the need to abide by it.
What’s troubling to me is using City Employees, based on the City Manager direction, to investigate a sitting City Council member. That seems very off and perhaps a conflict of interest. If the manager and employees disagree, or have a problem with a duly elected member of Council, it doesn’t seem right that they then become the investigating body. Not saying it happened here, but it would be very easy to “set-up” or “entrap” a Councilmember.
If they felt like this needed to be investigated, they should have brought in a neutral third party. This investigation is tainted and of no real value.
Rich Santomassino says
Sounds like a response from a Danko, Mullins and Barbosa (and ergo drumpf) supporter.
I found it interesting that all these comments seem along the same vein- Danko is a troublemaker and bully. Maybe you should re-read the article because it certainly does not seem to me that Danko is the innocent party.
Rich, I’m sorry if you can’t hear a differing opinion without lashing out at the author. And yet you accuse Danko of being a bully. I was very clear to point out that I’m not advocating for Danko. I work in this area and I believe it’s inappropriate for City employees to investigate elected officials. That was my point.
Sorry for voicing my opinion. I guess that’s verboten these days. Sad really.
I do not believe you were being criticized for your thoughts, rather that your thoughts were not based in fact, I.E. the city charter addresses the internal investigative process, which was being followed. If you have a problem with the charter, that is an issue to be addressed separately.
As far as a kindly letter to remind folks of their responsibilities, I believe that both the former city manager and our city attorney did just that and were belittled for their efforts.
Thank you for your comment Denali. Please provide the Charter reference you speak of. I’ve reviewed the Charter multiple times and there’s no section that directs City employees to investigate duly elected Councilmembers. I always try and deal with the facts. Please correct me, but I think you’re wrong on this one.
Please remember that when dealing with government you will not always find what you seek in so many words. That said, there is nothing in the charter in black and white which ‘directs city employees to investigate duly elected council members’. But, when reading the charter, a general document, we learn that the city is required to establish policies and procedures, a specific document, for a zillion different things in order to make the city efficient and effective.
Article IV, Section 11 of the charter clearly states that “the Council and its members, including committees thereof, are expressly prohibited from interfering with the performance of the duties of any City employee who is under the direct or indirect supervision of the City Manager or City Attorney. Such action shall be malfeasance within the meaning of Florida Statutes. ”
Now in order to determine if such malfeasance occurred, the City Manager must order an investigation – what department is better equipped to handle such an investigation than Human Resources. So in this case, Mr, Morton, in his capacity as Chief Administrative Officer, contacted HR (Ms Fuller, I believe) for guidance on how to deal with these possible violations of the above mentioned Article IV. I do not see anywhere that Mr. Morton ‘directed’ Ms Fuller to take action. Now the alternative to this would have been for Mr. Morton to unilaterally decide that Mr. Danko had committed an act of malfeasance and sought relief through the prosecuting attorney.
So we have possible/probable malfeasance by a city council member, the city manager requesting guidance from HR and a response from HR relying upon Section 3.04 (A-D) of the policy and procedures document. The procedure was established from the charter (the general) to the P & P manual (the specific) to allow HR to investigate the claims that one or more employees were harassed by Mr. Danko.
I know this does not provide the clear cut wording you are seeking, but in the world of governmental laws, ordinances, rules and policies there are sometimes many layers to drill through. Personally if I had been the city manager I would have consulted with my attorney prior to contacting HR. I doubt the result would have been any different but coming from the technical side of governmental regulation I often liked to have my attorneys opinion in my pocket.
Exactly. My original opinion stands. An independent third party should always be brought in if investigating City Council members for malfeasance. This should never be done by City employees. Thank you Denali for correcting your original criticism of me not dealing in facts.
You have misconstrued my words, I have not corrected any previous statement.
Your OPINION (like mine) is that it should have been handled by a third party such as the county attorney or the FDLE. But alas, there is no requirement for these actions.
The facts are that the charter is what leads us to the policies and procedures; that is how the investigation was based and conducted. Without the charter, there is no policies and procedures guide. If you want to say that since it is the P & P’s that address the investigation and the wording is not contained in the charter you would be literally correct, but not technically for one cannot survive without the other.
Tired of the loonies says
Well, considering his history in the Carolina, this doesn’t seem so far fetched. Why was he interacting directly with city employees? Isn’t the procedure to go through the city manager for all issues?
I agree with Ramona. I find the complaints against him seem contrived and definitely exaggerated .
Percy's mother says
Have you read The City Charter?
Have you? I think you and Denali may want to give it another read.
Tour of Duty says
Now this all makes sense, Ed Danko and Alan Lowe are in bed together and share the same personality of hate with the total lack of accountability.
Ed Danko openly hates all the other council members and thinks he didn’t “break the law” with his intimidation and inappropriate actions. “Beholden to no one.”
Alan Lowe hates America (his words) and every crime/felony/lawsuit/conviction/foreclosure was a “…misunderstanding”!? As an “Ambassador for Christ” one would expect you to at least pretend to respect my country while you steal from it and wrap yourself in its flag. But alas, no, you are self admittedly “Beholden to no one” either.
It’s funny how fast Victor Barbosa distance himself from these two bad eggs the day after the election, I wonder what he knows about these two idiots, I mean “Fine upstanding gentlemen” that made him drop them so fast?
Palm Coast, can’t we simply vote in a real Mayor to serve the people and get productive council members that are not all ego and bullshit?
Ed, please retire and move far away.
Alan, please carry Ed’s luggage for him.
Alan Lowe says
This article is incorrect in stating that Ed Danko is my campaign manager, he is not. I did have lunch with Ed Danko and Matt Morton after Mr. Morton resigned. Personally I felt it was an enjoyable meeting and was the first time I had met and spoken with Matt outside of the City Hall council meetings. I do not remember these issues being discussed. I do remember Matt and I joking after I ordered a scoop of ice cream for desert and he staying we would have most likely gotten along well. I was not present and have no knowledge of the other issues mentioned.
That Ed Danko is not Alan Lowe’s campaign manager is news to us, and may be news to
Danko, who told us he is Lowe’s manager, and has acted like it: for example it was Danko who requested, and got, a meeting with the city manager, with Lowe present, earlier this month, to discuss campaign signs and code enforcement. Danko’s presence in that meeting would have been inappropriate under any other circumstance, or role, if he were not acting as Lowe’s manager. Danko was front and center at the Pachyderm candidate forum Tuesday, signaling to Lowe like a manager from a baseball dugout. And it was Danko telling us of detailed campaign approaches as recently as in last night’s interview. Perhaps we have different understandings of the term “manager.”
Tour of Duty says
Alan, just stop.
You say it was yet another ‘misunderstanding’ with “…no knowledge of the issues mentioned” You somehow don’t remember the “…issued being discussed” but you remember you ordered a scoop of ice cream for dessert?
It’s total B.S. and we all know it, just like every story in your past. Nothing is your fault, it’s everyone else that caused you to do stupid things your whole life. You can’t even man up and accept responsibility for your actions?
You do wrap the American flag around yourself in most of your glamor pictures on your new FB page, which is sad because you filed as Ambassador to spit in the face of United States of America. You didn’t serve in the military, you were forced to pay your taxes by the IRS and you couldn’t even bother to fucking vote for 40 years!
Also it’s not very clever how you have a picture with a big ass boat behind you with that smug attitude of privilege look on your face.
According to your bio you are from Maine, you must be the original snowflake.
He has zero credibility
Just like his idol Trump, he throws Danko under the bus as soon as he sees he’s in trouble. Lowe believes in the Big Lie (the election was stolen), and now he has his own lie (Danko is not his campaign manager). I just hope to God that the majority of voters realize who and what these charlatans are and what their agenda is. Did you enjoy watching the Jan 6 attempt to subvert the Constitution? Lowe was there. Make him mayor and you can help him destroy our beautiful city.
Percy's mother says
To Alan Lowe . . .
I thought you and your Alan Lowe followers were boycotting “FLAGLER LIES”. What are you doing here reading comments and leaving comments if Flagler Live is a “liar” (according to you, Jay Maher, Victor Barbosa, Jearlyn Dennie, Joe Mullins, Michael Arnold and the rest of your extremely abusive unhinged followers). Isn’t your nickname for David Alfin a code name? (it’s “2.0” for those who don’t know).
What I find comical is that the whole group of you (as mentioned above) spend hours talking about boycotting “Flagler Lies” but the lot of you are always on Flagler Live reading the articles and posting links to the Flagler Live articles.
You as a candidate have the least transparent and least truthful campaign out of all the mayoral candidates. You have ZERO credibility. You cannot be honest about anything. Hopefully by this time next year the lot of you vicious abusive people will have moved on to some other community to destroy.
By the way, heard through the grapevine that you just did a construction job .
Why aren’t you up-front with your followers about being in the construction industry along with your realtor girlfriend?
Knows Jack says
Is it true Danko and Lowe want to hire Dennis McDonald to be City Manager? Can you imagine Danko, Lowe, Barbosa and Dennis MCDonald as City Manager?
The suggestion has been around since last year. We asked Danko point blank about it. He point blank ridiculed it.
Dennis C Rathsam says
Where else can Dennis McDonald get a job….How much does he owe???? Shucks, he’s gotta work for free!
Bill C says
Stop the NONSENSE! Vote for either Cornelia Manfre or Doug Courtney for mayor. They are not Trumpists.
Mandrel and Courtney will work to turn palm coast into an overcrowded dump. It’s starting to look a little like that now .
Pissed in PC says
Then don’t blame it on them but the idiots currently in office. At least Courtney is the only one without being cozy to realtors who keep building here.
Being the armpit of politics, Palm Coast certainly is consistent in electing people that immediately need to “resign”, or “be recalled”. As all politician are lying as soon as their mouth is put in motion, you would think at least occasionally a useful, honest, individual would run for office and actually get elected. Even a broken clock is correct twice a day, Palm Coast voters seem to be never on the winning side.
David Schaefer says
After the crap Danko pulled in N.C. he is doing it again here in Palm Coast. He has got to go NOW.
What about Perry says
I recognized that name “Perry Mitrano” he is buds with Mike Martin, who is on the mosquito board, and Joe Mullins. Explains why suddenly the mosquito control on the east side wants to take over the whole county for his buddy Joe to have something to crow about come election time since he has accomplished nothing.
It would seem every level of government has been completely corrupted in Flagler County.
Perry Mitrano says
Hey “What about Perry say,”
I have no relationship with Joe Mullins. I ran for Mosquito District because of the 2017 building debacle. My main concern was to serve nothing more, just as this garbage situation and I find myself being a part of fight between a ineffective City Manager and City Council.
I was asked to help with my waste management experience and now I get attacked by people like you.
It is not worth being a good citizen that wants to assist the City in any project if you are at risk of becoming a polical target.
So once again please don’t makeup a story that includes me.
Pissed in PC says
To the citizens of Palm Coast, do you not research these asshats before you vote them into office? Danko and Barbosa are clearly poo stains on the city and should both resign! Lowe is another idiot and suck up to Mullins. If you want change then vote Doug Courtney to bring common sense and respect back to the city.
To Flagler Live, thanks for keeping the city updated on the idiocy in the council. You won’t see the other publication doing this as they have clearly stated they support these morons.
So, Danko gets booted our of North Carolina and Mullin the other bully gets booted out of Georgia. This proves that Flagler County Government doesn’t do background checks on who they are appointing in our government. Shame on all of you for not doing right is right for Flagler County.
Now we are suppose be stuck with these loser rejects, not right.
Danko has no business harassing, demanding or commanding city employees that is a violation of our city charter. If constituents elevate their complaints to elected officials they are to bring the issues in a council public meeting and formally ask for a resolution or juts notify the manager of the issue and ask for a resolution with civility. Any Trumpers bullying others wont go far. Americans do not easily give in to bullies. Lately for the first time since I sworn allegiance to our USA in 1983 I been bullied by a county directive employee insulting my origin and my abidance of masking. So bullying , bigotry and intended intimidation is fashionable since Trump was elected.
Anyone elected should set a good example of civility addressing our elected officials or government employees and also please abide by Robert Rules of Order while attending city meetings…as otherwise we become national news given bullies hassling the dais.
Incredible a 2020 election marked by resignations & investigations by July 4th, 2021. And at the very least we have an election for a new Mayor, a resignation for the city manager position, just keeps driving the cost up to taxpayers. But in the interim, we have a splash pad open & pickle ball courts on the way. An attempt for higher county sales tax to push the burden of police & fire protection on everyone else. They had pot(s) of money that could’ve paid for a significant amount, if not all of some of these line items.
Facts Matter says
News flash: The fire pensions and work hours have a mile long line of applicants and you attack the little kids splash pad? Just sayin.
Frank Sardone says
Just throw this guy out. Palm Coasters do not want this guy in office.
Unfortunately, Palm Coasters voted for this person in 2020. I went to the library to vote then and saw how Danko, Alan Lowe, and Victor Barbosa monopolized the walkway. None of the other candidate supporters could get near a potential voter. They tried to stop me, but I had already researched all the candidates and knew that these 3 goons were not on my list, so I just smiled and kept on going. People who did not research before voting were told who to vote for. Residents of Palm Coast, please please research the candidates before you vote. Take the time to access their social media pages, and web sites, ask for qualifications. Alan Lowe’s only qualification was that he sat in on City Council meetings for a whole year. Big deal! He disowned our Country and never registered to vote till his name was on the ballot…SMH. You can check with the SOE to confirm this information.
Dennis C Rathsam says
Change the name of Palm Coast to Peyton Place.
With all due respect Alan, you should really utilize spell check before posting. The second to last sentence in your post has two misspelled words that even a 3rd grader would know how to spell properly. “scoop of ice cream for ‘desert’ and he ‘staying’ we most likely would have most likely gotten along well”
Definition of DESERT: an empty or forsaken place; a wasteland……..now that seems like a place you should run for mayor.
DESSERT- now that would have been your scoop of ice cream.
Hooked on phonics baby! It works and it’s never too late.
Concerned Citizen says
What I want to know is…
With all this angst and ire against our political leaders why aren’t more of you starting petitions for recalls? Why aren’t more of you helping us light up the phones at the State Attorney’s Office. And feverently demanding investigations? I have done my bit. Sending emails making phone calls but it takes a village.
Instead it seems you would rather attack each other on this commentary.
Change starts with us the voters. Many of us wanted change but we were outnumbered by those who were afraid. Afraid of change so they elected the same faces with the same affiliations. Remember the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
We as American voters have one of the greatest privilges in the world. But we take it for granted and just don’t care. As a voter we need to be doing our OWN research on our candidates. And that includes background checks. Anyone can run a simple background check on anybody these days.
But we let these people run for office and make all these blatent lies and then they get away with it. So in the end who is responsible? The voters who voted them without being diligent.
Start doing that research folks. As someone who spent most of their adult life in Law Enforcement I never take anything for face value. I do my research and check it out. We should be doing the same thing for those entrusted to represent us.
And finally. Shame on all of you politicians for your behavior. And for continuing to waste so much energy not doing your jobs. When you were elected you took an Oath and were sworn in. That holds ALL of you to much higher standards than a private citizen.
To Concerned Citizen…AMEN. Let’s hope all who access this site read your post, research these candidates and make knowledgeable decisions and not take the word of another person before they vote. The future of this GREAT City is at stake!
Recall Ed Danko says
Palm Coast City Council member Ed Danko refuses to apologize for harassing multiple female city employees and abusing his office. He was under internal investigation. Tell Ed Danko his time on the Palm Coast City Council is over!
Sign the petition: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/recall-ed-danko
Mary Fusco says
Amazingly, these goons in office have never heard of the “chain of command” concept. Their heads are exploding with their own self importance. I worked in Corporate business for many years and this concept is an unwritten law. My daughter is a RN Case Manager for Home Health with Baptist in JAX. If she sees something in a patient’s home that concerns her, she does not get into it with the patient but reports her concerns to her immediate supervisor who either makes a decision or moves the issue up the chain until it is resolved. Bullies are only bullies in their own heads. Hopefully the bullies we are entertaining will not be voted back in.
Take out the garbage says
One day Palm Coast will realize it is a real city with real city concerns. These small minded individuals (Mullins, Barbosa, Lowe) will soon realize that positions of authority come with responsibilities. They will not be able to hide behind the he said she said rhetoric. It is no surprise they try to have things done to enrich their lives while screwing over whoever does not agree. We will see them carted off in handcuffs once we have a sheriff who is not only interested in minority crime but the true problem, rich, white people who want to control it all. Unfortunately it all boils down to a red/blue issue in our town while it should be what is best for those of us that live in city. Dont let politics play a role in what can be a good community.
Be responsible and elect city officials that truly want to promote and develop Palm Coast into what it can be and not just line their and their friends pockets.
Get rid of both. Please do not vote for either one with the answer they provided. That’s my opinion for the first time an election. Trying to use Political pictures without and endorsement.