By Jake Scully
If you do not want to read this whole letter, that’s ok – just VOTE in the Primary on August 23.
That especially goes for you No Party Affiliation voters and Independents—those of you registered neither as Democrats or Republicans–where for once, you will have a choice in one of the County Commission races and the school board and, if you live in the city, Palm Coast City Council races.
My parents moved to Palm Coast in 1982 and my wife and I have owned the same house since 1993. We are happy and proud to say our two children had an excellent Flagler County educational experience from kindergarten through 12th grade. We are even happier that our grandkids are now fourth generation Flagler residents.
We owned a retail establishment for 18 years in Palm Coast, my wife volunteered in the school district for 20 years, and I have volunteered with the City of Palm Coast for the last six years as an appointed member of its planning board.
As a family, we have seen a lot and can say with some confidence what the perspective of 40 years in this community brings:
The upcoming primary and general elections are critical.
The leadership of the single-largest and two of the largest employers in Flagler County will be decided this election cycle. The School District employs 1,620, the City of Palm Coast in March employed 477, not including 65 part-time, seasonal and temporary employees. The county employs 355, not including the sheriff’s ranks or other constitutional officers’ personnel.
These employees, neighbors and friends are responsible for our infrastructure, our water supply, responding to medical emergencies, fighting fires, and of course the education of 13,000 of our community’s children.
Chaos in leadership, whether in the public or private sector, leads to many problems. By far the most damaging is employee attrition.
We have endured unprecedented chaos in local leadership over the past few years. Extremism, buffoonery, lack of basic understanding laws and ordinances by our elected officials have caused embarrassment and headlines not missed by anyone–particularly companies considering our county. Some candidates for office have been disturbing as well, some with pasts that should be disqualifying from the outset, let alone undeserving of a vote from informed voters.
The abuse of position and process (particularly by school board members) is egregious. The wasted hours in all three boards’ meetings on ridiculous, petty–or worse: imagined–problems has been sickening to endure. How much more sickening and disturbing would it be if you or I worked for of one of these three?
Unemployment is low, and there are critical shortages in most of the professions led by the School Board, the City Council and the County Commission. To top it off, we do not pay the best wages for most of these professions in comparison with surrounding counties.
Simply and sadly, our very best and brightest will leave if the chaos does not end.
They can easily find employment within or outside of their current professions and take that bus right out of the Crazy Town that we have come to be.
If that comes to pass, all 115,000 of us will pay for it, one way or the other. Please try to remember that one out of every six of us are children who cannot vote.
For those children, and for all your friends and neighbors, take the small amount of time it takes to research your choices—our choices– and vote in the coming primary and general.
Jake Scully, a data architect, co-owned PC Bike for 18 years and is completing his second term on the Palm Coast Planning and Land Development Regulation Board.
Sally Hunt, District 1
Jill Woolbright, District 1
Lance Alred, District 2
Will Furry, District 2
Courtney VandeBunte, District 2
Christy Chong, District 4
Leann Pennington, District 4
Janet McDonald, District 2
Greg Hansen, District 2
Denise Calderwood, District 2
Palm Coast City Council, District 2
Theresa Carli Pontieri