In a departure from previous practice, when the city scorned public involvement in choosing a new city manager, the Palm Coast City Council Tuesday decided to adopt practices common in other local governments and hold a community meeting to hear what sort of manager the public is interested in. The council agreed to delay advertising the position until late November, after two new council members are seated.
The council also voted to pay Interim City Manager Beau Falgout an annualized $140,000 salary, a $30,000 increase from his current pay, plus a modest car allowance and full coverage of his health insurance costs.
“We’re not starting this process over, we’re not starting from nothing,” Mayor Milissa Holland stressed, to reassure some of her colleagues who did not want to start the search over just because two new council members are joining the panel in a few weeks. The search firm is in place. But the firm itself recommended to Holland that the next central step in the process–advertising the position, and the manner in which it’s advertised–be delayed. “There would be some reluctance for applicants to apply without knowing who is going to be seated and certainly what their priorities are going to be,” Holland said.
Council member Vincent Lyon last week pressed his colleagues to go forward with the search rather than wait for the new members to be seated, since the council has been discussing a replacement for Jim Landon–who was fired last month–for more than a year. Council member Heidi Shipley agreed, Bob Cuff was sympathetic but not convinced, and Holland was tasked with further discussing the matter with the search firm. She returned Tuesday with the fruit of those discussions with Doug Thomas, the senior vice president of Texas-based Strategic Government Resources. The community meeting was a new idea.
The school board holds such meetings whenever it prepares to hire a new superintendent. Flagler Beach has done likewise before hiring its managers. Palm Coast has always been more opaque, shunning all but the most cursory public involvement in its choice of manager in 2007. The new approach, though not initiated by the council itself, dovetails with at least some more desire on council members’ part for transparency and public involvement, if only for perception’s sake.
“I really liked having a community meeting with the public, because they really are part of this process,” Holland said. “I want them to have the input as well.” The meeting would be held at the Palm Coast Community Center in mid- to late October. The city is paying the search firm $28,000 to shepherd the process, the community meeting included.
Council member Nick Klufas was not at last week’s meeting, but lined up with Holland’s approach against moving before new council members join. “The best city managers are probably employed at this point,” he said, and Florida’s open-record law being what it is, he said, their applications would reveal them as job-searchers if they were to apply now. “It’d be an unnecessary risk for the best talent to put their name in the hat right now if it meant that we had two new council members that were elected that didn’t align with the initiative that we as a council have set.”
Lyon, describing himself as “the chief voice in the opposition on this,” reminded the council that it passed a motion just two weeks ago to “move forward immediately” with the search firm’s 15-week search process, which means Tuesday’s action was a reversal. Waiting until November 20 would be “an unnecessary delay.” Nevertheless he saw Tuesday’s proposal of a community meeting in the interim as a workable compromise that doesn’t halt the process.
Holland made another point that was consistently lost on the previous manager: “We don’t want staff driving this process. We want to be driving this process.” Accordingly, City Manager Beau Falgout, now sitting on the dais where Landon used to reign, remained silent through the discussion.
As for the contract with Falgout, who was deputy city manager when Landon was fired, Lyon had negotiated it with Falgout individually before Tuesday’s public discussion. Falgout in March was awarded a $15,000 raise, without the council’s knowledge, when Landon named him his deputy, for a salary of $110,000. He asked and received a temporary $140,000 salary.
Landon was making a salary of $177,000 when he was fired, slightly more than when the council awarded him his last raise in February 2017.
Falgout requested the salary as a matter of fairness to his family and the council, saying he was not requesting severance or extra retirement benefits. He requested–and received–a $200-a-month auto allowance. Landon’s allowance was $600 a month. After he made his pitch, he got up, at Holland’s request, and exited the dais so the council could discuss his contract. That, too, was a departure from Landon’s practice: the old manager never left his seat on the several recent occasions his contract was discussed, nor keep silent.
If Falgout returns to his previous position as deputy, he would return to his former salary, plus whatever raises are scheduled. That’s an increasingly capitalized if: Holland, Cuff and Klufas have signaled such regard for him that they may be setting themselves up to hire him permanently as manager. Jack Carrell, the nonagenarian and all but honorary council member (he turned 94 on Sept. 4), told the council in the public-comment segment that it could save money by appointing Falgout permanently now.
The signaling over Falgout caught Lyon’s attention. “Beau knows the city,” Lyon said, “but my understanding is, we may not be looking for exactly the same job that the city manager has been doing for the last decade. We’re looking for a city manager to bring the city to a new position, to a new–to move it forward in a way that it hasn’t before, and that’s not exactly the same job. Beau can apply and honestly, if this process takes four months, he’s going to know better than anyone else what’s necessary for that, and if he believes he has the skills, then we’re all for him putting into it. Yeah, he knows the city, he knows the job as it’s been done, and if he’s able to take on the job as it’s envisioned, more power to him.”
But Lyon, appointed to the council to fill out Steve Nobile’s term, will be long gone when the council chooses its next manager.
OMG! The public had the opportunity to weigh in on not only the matter of the City Manager; but, a plethora of pertinent issues through the City Charter review process. The public was shut down by the same council now seeking input! Winkin’, Blinkin, and Nod MUST GO!
Any reason Falgout can’t do the job??? If so we can move on instead of wasting money on headhunters and taking up a lot of time.
Unbelievable!! Simply unbelievable!! Just give money away. Just give pay increases to everyone. What can anyone do to earn $140,000 at the city level??? Or earn anything more that that. Everyone on the city council doesn’t care about the city coffers. Shame on you all.
Here we go again. A few months back when Landon promoted Beau Falgout to assistant manager without notifying the council, YOU the COUNCIL were very unhappy about it. At that time you all stated that when it was time to replace Landon that everyone of you wanted a fresh face with a new direction for the city. That you did not want Mr. Falgout for a manager in the future. NOW the 3 Stooges ( Holland, Cuff and Klufus ) are setting themselves up to hire him permanently? A clone of Landon for more of the same? Come on City Council. Wake up before you make another mistake !!!!!
Palm Coast got rid of Landon saying he no longer fit in with changes the Board wanted to see and he was ignoring their efforts. He had to go, it was past time. To me though this new vision may all be in the mind of Melissa Holland. She was a County Commissioner and had a vision there too, but she left to run for a State elected position and lost. Now she is back as Mayor of Palm Coast pushing the Board to this new vision. Is this a good idea or should the Board put a halt to her band wagon and construct a vision that is a combination of all the Board member efforts after the public has given their input into what they want in a City Manager?
This crap is starting all over again.
Didn’t this man just get a $15,000 raise to $110,000 in March?
Now he gets a 40k raise?
@Robjr he only got a 30 k raise as he already was paid 110 after the 15,000 raise given by Landon. Yes I think that for the median earning of 31,000 per household reported by the resident taxpayers is too much.
Now yesterday I saw a more promising Falgout…more respectful and realizing that council is at the helmet as he walked off the room letting council discuss his request.
I wonder “what is the new vision” for our city. I hope is to serve the taxpayers residents first with the city revenue. Not like until now is still serving developers and their CRA’s at the residents expenses funding growth and more growth neglecting with it the quality of life and adding more users to our decaying outdated sewer and drainage systems while raising our utility rates and taxes. I do not see anyone in our council asking how much will cost the city, us, the new commercial development off Matanzas Parkway and I-95 for which county approved the exchange of land by city and Matanzas LLC Jacksonville developer. If we owned the land deeded by county just on Matanzas Parkway sure that value was much higher than the acreage owned by the developer on the bundoocks right? Can we be informed about an appraisal of both parcels to be exchanged? Or that is the same deal for the parcel Landon forced us to buy at $1,300,000 in the corner of Boulder Rock to handed it to the Wawa developer in Orlando for $800,000 just over futures “sales tax revenue?”. When is council going to ask if these deals take away funds for the maintenance and improvement of our old Palm Coast, including our sewer, drainage and crumbling roads with insufficient lighting? Mr. Landon became totally detached of “the peoples will” half way into his term and that was bad. That overpriced city hall against the peoples referendum with Netts push, these two latest millionaire overpriced community center and public works building in total contrast with the neglect of our old Palm Coast were blight is for all to see. The destruction of a beautiful Park View Parkway no matter our opposition and based on lies emails request for it by the adjacent owners…are they going ahead anyway with that, if so shame on you all. What about taking care of Florida Park Drive traffic and landscape instead? When are they going to do the needed widening and landscaping of Old Kings Road North and redirect traffic to it and away from narrow Florida Park Drive? Other than so much planning for Town Center further landscape improvement. Anyway that horrible cheap looking overpriced city hall built not matter if dressed in silk will never improve. No promenades to protect its citizens from inclement weather like the Chiumento building has.The very essence of Palm Coast have been destroyed our beautiful canopy of old oaks gone forever making us walk or bike to Island Walk now in the scorching sun, As a matter of fact the last 7-8 oaks put down lately with the “being sick lie” to make easier for a utility installation was the last punch to old Palm Coast approved by council.
If not for the undisclosed yet Palm Coast “new vision” something that as not known could be concerning and depending on performance and response to residents concern of Falgout, could be a better deal to keep him. financially speaking, other than wasting so much money on a consultant search for another manager. with a golden parachute. Council needs to stop the wasting of our 45% city wide utility revenue and tax revenue in so much expansion and growth and give priorities to current residents needs and will find out a more content and supportive Palm Coast community. Stop wasting money trying to kill a dog Cooper and address instead the real ordinance violators in nuisance abatement residences, do not created a water front additional tax district (nice try Netts) to canal front homes to pay for seawalls that cheap irresponsible owners do not repair, fine them and lien them till they repair it. Is council also maybe going to propose (with the same unfairness and lack of logic) a tax district also to repair and replace caved in or neglected roofs that same irresponsible owners do not fix? What is needed is enforcement and compliance or lien and foreclosure! These is supposed to be the good old ITT vision, from when we bought in Palm Coast, that should have never been ignored on behalf of funding growth. Please do not come with new visions that could be yet worse of was we got these last 10 years.
Tom Davies says
This little town sure does have some deep pockets!
Drain the swamp
Please voters of Palm Coast, no more Netts, out with the old in with the new. He pushed for that new city hall building which cost millions. He paid Landon outrageous benefits and salary. We don’t need Netts anymore.
They should RESET the city manager’s salary at $95,000, and rescind the water company’s 21% rate increase.
Nothing against Beau Falgout but it’s time for a change. He was trained by Landon and will continue with the same old tactics. Find someone new………,and less costly!!!!
Bill Stephens says
this is madness
Ben Hogarth says
Nothing against Beau either, but it’s hard to forgive the “son” for the sins of the “father”…… particularly when he played a direct role in carrying out Landon’s flawed policies. Sure, he has a different ethos at face value perhaps, but the city council should not be looking for someone who is merely a competent manager, albeit seemingly like a challenging task already in these dark times. However, the council should be looking to find someone new who brings vision and change. A 180 degree turn can’t always be accomplished swiftly, but no such turn will begin if the councils decision is to perpetuate the failings of the Landon era.
Flagler County is a Place desperate for change – including Palm Coast. Spend the money and let the hiring process unfold as it should. The people demand and deserve their due process. So do the other potential candidates.
Ordaining Kings and allowing them to choose their successors is NOT the American way. Shame on any commission that establishes such corruptions.