Flagler County Administrator Jerry Cameron’s hiring of his deputy administrator has been a sham. That’s too bad, because when he names Heidi Petito to the post on Tuesday, as he is almost certain to do, he will have unfairly undermined her legitimacy because of the dishonest, secretive and manipulative way he went about it, using 120 other applicants and a bogus process as cover.
By all appearances–at least what information he’s released and the way he released it–Cameron got the county commissioners to violate sunshine along the way, and got his staff to violate the public record law.
The County Commission didn’t help. Its five members are ultimately at fault here. They enabled Cameron, playing along with the secretiveness down to its five members holding one-on-one interviews with each of the finalists on Friday, because Cameron and the commission, mirrors of each other’s laziness, also intend the deputy to replace Cameron when he leaves next year. They don’t want the bother of a nationwide search. What better way to hire the next county administrator than with zero public knowledge, zero public involvement, zero accountability.
All of that is unfairly hurting Petito (or either of the other two Cameron is unlikely to pick), whose welcome appointment to this fraternity of old white men will now be shaded by her boss’ feckless methods.
Cameron knew his finalists all along. He told them as much in his so-called “Leadership Academy” months ago, when he told them that one of them would be the next deputy, possibly the next manager. The back-stabbing between them bugged him for a while. He got over it. But he should have grown a spine and appointed his deputy the way county and city executives do, by simply making the appointment, without a months-long rigmarole that wasted his administration’s time and will surely start off his Number 2 with his blotches instead of acclaim. His burly shadow will not flatter the appointee.
On Friday, Cameron’s maneuvers had the list of 121 applicants down to three. The Friday interviews had bumped off Joe Saviak, the sheriff’s leadership chief, and Jarrod Shupe, the county’s IT director that Cameron is now trying to pawn off on Flagler Beach as its next city manager, thinking Flagler Beach could evade its own search the Cameron way. I don’t think Flagler Beach swings that way. (In a match-up, Flagler Beach Commission Chairman Jane Mealy would easily be Billie Jean King to Cameron’s Bobby Riggs.)
The three left for Cameron to interview–“interview” being a relative term inside Cameron’s Actor’s Studio–were Petito, the long-time county director of general services and wife of Don Petito, who was forced to resign earlier this year; John Brower, the finance chief Cameron brought in a year ago after he spent a decade as an analyst in Alachua County government, where he’s never supervised anyone; and Jorge Salinas, another IT guy and deputy city manager for five years in Albany, a city of 50,000 in Oregon, where he supervises seven people.
With this or the next county administrator appointment the county had a chance finally to break with its often sordid past. It embraced it instead. Here are four reasons why the “chief of staff” process has been a secretive sham from the start. I’d have hidden it too, considering its shoddiness.
First, that batch of 121 candidates was itself a sham, a stack to make it look as if the county drew a big mass of candidates from which it chose the best, when it was nothing of the sort. The applicants were cover for the final five. The position was allegedly advertised, but not really.
When local governments advertise for a position such as deputy or assistant administrator (or “chief of staff”), they do so through the nation’s county and city associations, like the Florida Association of Counties, the International City/County Management Association, government trade publications, maybe the local or regional newspapers, and of course the government’s own website.
Cameron did none of that. He advertised the position where he knew he’d get puff resumes. “We advertise using NEOGOV Application System which sends an advertisement to Indeed.com and other search engines as part of our subscription. We advertise for two weeks,” Pamela Wu, Cameron’s HR director, said in an email today. Search engines? Indeed.com? Indeed.com?
That’s why the county got that motley crew of applicants: A fire protection engineer from Denver, an attorney in the Orange County jail system, a magistrate in the Supreme Court of Virginia Office of the Executive Secretary, a “capacity building advisor” in Washington., D.C., an assistant director at Ernst & Young in Dubai, a PR flacker from Texas (that one would fit right in), a PR flacker and special operations manager from the Miami Dade Fire Department, a general manager at a real estate company in Daytona Beach, a fire inspector at an Ohio burgh a bit larger than Flagler Beach, a hospital administrator from St. Augustine, a division manager in a parks department in Washington State, and so on. And that’s just the A’s and some of the B’s. Sheer padding.
Second, Cameron never spoke of hiring a chief of staff–not publicly. Nor did the county commissioners. They never publicly approved the position’s salary, whose top end goes to $175,000 (more than Cameron by $10,000, more than ex-Deputy Administrator Sally Sherman’s salary by about $35,000). It was all done between Cameron and the commissioners, behind closed doors. I heard of it because someone emailed me that it was going on.
Julie Murphy, the county’s public information officer, sent me the applications and answered a few questions, then clammed up. When I asked last Tuesday who was doing the interviewing, on what day, at what time, whether the commissioners were involved and whether any of it was open to public or press, she simply ignored the public record request. She ignored it again two days later. She’d gotten her orders (and had been well trained in tactical haze by Cameron’s predecessor). Thursday in late afternoon I renewed the request, this time copying Al Hadeed, the county attorney, and asked why the previous two were ignored. The next day I got this gem from Murphy: “I was asked to get with Al about whether your request as stated constitutes a records request, which did not happen before the end of the day.”
Murphy, who was once a reporter, knows very well that asking for calendar dates and names is as public a record as it gets. But Cameron was stonewalling. He didn’t want his Friday sandbox messed with. Hadeed of course directed her to release the stuff. She did. But about an hour after the last interviews had completed. Cameron had pulled off his ploy. Which brings us to…
Third, Cameron didn’t want to let on that he’d brought down his buddies to be part of his sham. That panel of three objective eyes who interviewed the candidates, aside from the commissioners? Hunter Conrad, the St. Johns County administrator, Joy Andrews, the deputy county administrator in St. Johns, and Jeff Prevatt, the St. Johns County fire chief (who on Aug. 10 hired the husband of Flagler’s HR director as a fire inspector), all of whom Cameron worked with before, when he was an assistant administrator in St. Johns, where he still lives. Talk about contempt for Flagler County. Cameron is obsequiously praising Flagler every time he’s near a mic, but he didn’t have even one local name worth the panel? Cameron’s contacts are so narrow that he couldn’t even get someone that wasn’t in St. Johns County government? None of his buddies at Flagler Hospital, maybe?
Finally, there’s the county commission’s role. None of this would be happening if the five enablers–Dave Sullivan, the chairman, Charlie Ericksen, Greg Hansen, Joe Mullins and Don O’Brien–hadn’t let it happen. They not only took part in closed-door meetings with Cameron and the candidates. They had an active role in the process, ranking the five candidates, a role that supposedly contributed to the shortlist of five going down to three, making it an official act of the commission, therefore an act they had no business conducting behind closed doors. (Recall what attorney John Kaney, a Sunshine law expert, said of the Palm Coast City Council when it was appointing a new member in 2012: “When they create a ranking of the candidates without having a meeting to do that, I believe that ranking them is an official action that must be taken in a sunshine meeting.” The council redid the rankings in an open meeting.) Other local governments have held closed-door one-on-one meetings with future hires, but always as part of an otherwise open process where all decisions are made in the open. None of that for Cameron and his fab fives.
There’s also a bit of unexplained shenanigans. Murphy today responded to my request for the interviewers’ notes, which included the rankings, and hardly any notes, which suggests the interviewers knew the score. Of course none of the notes and rankings were identified by name, so we don’t know who ranked what–and there are nine ranking sheets, though there were eight interviewers in all. I could ask who that mystery ninth was, but at this point, we, too, know the score.
The county had a chance to move forward with this appointment. Instead it made Craig Coffey, the former administrator, look like Boris Yeltsin. And you know who came after Yeltsin.
Maybe Petito can clean up after Cameron (she’s been her husband’s fire rescue long enough to know). But Cameron likes his tassels braided, his tributes paid. This is where the next segment of his lucrative method kicks in.
When he retired in St. Johns and failed a run for the county commission there a few years ago, he secured himself a consultancy worth $142,295 for seven months’ work, according to the St. Augustine Record. Expect a similar deal here in a few months. He’ll hand off the reins to his new “chief of staff,” then the commission will gift him a transitional consultancy worth a half dozen figures. Last year he sold his sugarbuddy Mullins a piece of land for just over $400,000. By February he’d have been here two years, kachinging him $325,000. That brings his winnings to $725,000. Now that his protector Sullivan got reelected, he might stick it out until the end of next year then get his consultancy, and by the time it’s over, his Flagler stint may have netted him close to $1 million. Not bad for a tea party conservative on pensions, Medicare, Social Security.
Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here.
Roy Longo says
Well done FlaglerLive. When I was still working for Flagler County Fire Rescue I, along with a couple firefighters, was at an event in uniform. Cameron came sat in front of us. Before he sat down he looked as and and sat down without even an acknowledgement. For all of Coffey’s faults he knew most of by name and would always say greet us. Cameron is a snake and can slither back to St. John’s.
Gina Weiss says
Roy Longo: Cameron is absolutely disgusting not to acknowledge our first responders just like he attempted to place a friend of mine on a bogus committee just to shut him down, he very cunning and manipulating but we were wise to him.
Nailed It says
Thank you Pierre for exposing Cameron for what he truly is. This one nailed it!
Nailed It says
Time for John and Jarrod to run and hide with their tails between their legs. Their egos must be so hurt.
SASHAY AWAY says
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMMM
Also Julie Murphy another paid shill: The hours of operation which you put for Flagler Executive Airport flight schools onto the Next Door fb site are the hours listed on paper only, these planes fly well past midnight!
The Voice Of Reason says
The moral of this story, vote out of office ALL of the county commissioners ASAP. As each comes up for reelection, vote them out. Do your research for a better candidate. DON’T vote for those who have the most political signs along the roadsides. (those should be outlawed.) While we’re it, rename the local Flagler airport “Daytona Beach Flight School Airport’. There is nothing executive about it. 90% of all air traffic here originates from Daytona Beach International Airport. Flight school operations that pay no rent here or buy fuel here. They generate ENDLESS noise and air pollution in our airport neighborhoods. At all hours of the day and night, we suffer the deafening noise of touch and go take off operations and the inherent danger of crashes. Our elected commissioners have allowed this to go on with no noise abatement in place. We are a toxic waste dump of flight school operations from Daytona. Go to flightradar24.com a free site that shows the exact routes of air traffic in and out of our airport. Ormond Beach, Spruce Creek, St Augustine, Palatka are all airports that don’t have this problem. The local airport manager here is a fraud. He is a flight school worshiping puppet whose motivations make me think something smells fishy here. (personal speculation on my part but I bet i’m correct.)
SASHAY AWAY says
Voice of reason: You are so right, just was in Ormond and didn’t see one flight school plane and when you come into Flagler and hit Winn Dixie you see tons of them flying all over our community all the way to Quail Hollow this is BS with this FCBOCC and their rotten closed door deals only for them and their buddies to make money and eventually leave us in the worst possible state of affairs with this madman Roy Sieger who lives about 2 hours away from here!
SASHAY AWAY says
PS : David Sullivan- this question is addressed to you. Is this some of the part of the Sullivan Republic which you do not have to tell your constituents? And I’m sure there is much much more!
Well said Pierre and the FCBOCC continue wasting our hard earned taxes. I am still wondering how the two pulled it away in the primaries with all the county voters rejections of these commissioners voting record. The 5 are not receptive to the peoples pleas and are re-elected? Hard to believe!
Anti Transparency says
For any of the internal candidates it’s simple. Take a poll of their staff and you’ll get the sense of the kind of leader/manager they are. Some like putting a bunch of letters in their email signatures, some like to wear shirts boasting their titles an making sure you know who they are, etc.
Brower – No prior management (an Analyst c’mon) yet was in line to be a deputy. Most of his department could care less for him.
Shupe – Guy is a tyrant who stepped on anyone in his way to make sure he could get his way. Think “Fast Talking Eddy” car salesman who his staff if given the choice would commit hari kari versus working directly with him, with the exception of a couple.
Petito – A bottom to the top person who is not without faults (who is) but is a reasonable person who is respected in the County. She directs a large department so I’m sure there are some malcontents. Hopefully she stays independent and keeps her own set of ideals.
Since when do you get to hand pick your successor? This is outrageous and requires a criminal investigation.
Great piece Pierre exposing the backroom shenanigan’s. A $175,000 salary! Jerry Cameron, Chief of Sham, NEEDS TO GO! And, take that shyster Joe Mullins with you.
THE GAY RANCHER says
Robert: yes Mullins a person who divides this county calls people “thugs”, “panda”, body shames women, ridicules gays and carries around a giant Trump doll at town halls, becomes inpatient and takes on a bitter tone with people who try to have a healthy debate with him and is doing more campaigning for Trump than doing his his job as a public servant down here!
I would expect nothing less of Flagler County. With all the financial blunders, one more blunder was to be expected. Everything is corrupt in America. Everything.
Flagler is permanently cursed. Nothing will ever change.
IT IS and I am Free of it. As soon as my Sisters health improves we will all be in better places . Too bad. I agree with Trailer Bobs opinion but its a shoulda woulda coulda too little too late for me. Once C19 tails off a long road trip in my future. Good Luck going to need it. After 20+ years in the area I really do Hope for the Best for you Folks. GOD BLESS
Sick and tired of the good ole boy mentality, and until that goes away, Flagler county will remain corrupt and pre-historic! Wait, don’t tell me…must be Trumpies!!
Dennis C Rathsam says
It seems to me most of our elected officals in Flagler County, are good people. With that said, Cameron, needs to go! He is so full of himself, he thinks he’s gods gift to politics. Why are the wrong people are always ellected? Bunnell’s doing the best job, not much BS here, Flagler Beach too many unhappy citizens,that dont stick togeather. Palm Coast…It’s just a royal mess! People think about your vote in November. We moved here when this was a quiet place, now, we are being invaded,by so called progress.
What better way to keep the corruption alive and well in Flagler County!! Petito was Coffey’s minion, and is just like him. Murphy is another hand picked minion and she too must go. We don’t need people in our local government that we can’t trust. We may have gotten rid of Coffey, but sadly Mullins and the rest of the BOCC failed us when they didn’t finish the job of getting rid of the rest of the mold in the county administration like Heidi Petito, Al Hadeed, Murphy and others. Heidi was trained by Coffey and the games will continue as long as the VOTERS let them. They knew what they were doing when they hired Cameron…they needed a player and he already had a reputation from St Johns County, so they knew what they were getting before they hired him. Mullins should be forced to resign, and the BOCC should make a recommendation to the Governor to have him removed from office! It is past time for the people of this county to put pressure on the BOCC to take such action. Write letter, make phone calls, complain to the press, show up at BOCC meetings, and contact the Governor yourself. If he is any kind of a Governor he will see that the corruption in Flagler County is investigated and properly dealth with. It is my opinion that if funds for grants and emergency money from hurricanes, FEMA and COVID were audited by a forensic audit that heads would roll in this county. Yes, and sadly we all pay for this, and voters keep voting the same into office so it will only continue. GRANT money is OUR TAX DOLLARS! Flagler County is filled with stupid, and you just can’t fix stupid. The FBI has been here more than once, but just like the Epstein case the FBI closed their eyes for 10 years after Ms. Farmer went to them and the abuse continued, and it continues in Flagler County.
DeSantis knows all to well about Flagler County and its dirty deals-before he became Governor and has turned his head-he had a home here, and he should be held accountable. DeSantis will soon be up for reelection so maybe he will listen or get voted out of office. He hasn’t handled the COVID-19 very well for the state of Florida, so maybe he can do something to restore our confidence and show the people of Florida that he doesn’t condone and support corruption. Give DeSantis a call or write him a letter and make it a public record-Address: 400 S Monroe St, Tallahassee, FL 32399 Phone: (850) 488-7146.
It is way past due for the FBI to get on the ball and do something about the corruption in Flagler County. Contact the FBI (904) 248-7000, and insist that they come back to Flagler County and get to work and stop ignoring the wrong doing like they did in the Epstein case. The City of Palm Coast issues with Mayor Milissa Holland is just the tip of the iceberg. Holland was a former Flagler County Commissioner-and yes, Craig Coffey was an employee of hers too. If the walls could talk!! Vote incumbents out of office–we know what they are made of.
Yapos you seem to conveniently ignoring that when current Palm Coast mayor was a county commissioner she called and voted to fire Coffey quiet often and the other four in the commission voted against her motion, She could not get rid of Coffey in the county until few years past Obrien BOCC chair made the motion again and then was done. Also to the clamor of the citizens of Palm Coast she also fired city manager Landon after his management style was not longer responsive to the residents and council. Holland is the incumbent we need to retain as she made in her first four years city government “responsive to Palmcoasters request”. When it comes to the county and all the days and hours we Palmcoasters also spent in meetings and demonstrations against Captain BBQ county’s give away’s, The Garden project, The boat storage in the middle of a residential area being fought with the residents paid lawyer, the waste of our taxes in all those useless real estate purchases to be sold at a huge loss, the allowed airport pilot students schools kicked out from Volusia county and invited to make our lives miserable since they regale them with our taxes that control tower for touch and goes making hell the lives of those residents around the airport and so many more bloopers like the buying of the useless Plantation Bay cancerous utility to benefit their developer Houseini and now with a 15 or more million tab in our county credit and pockets. All that was from Hass, to Coffey to Cameron…all under the green flag of also totally unreceptive (to the residents) one after the other elected county commission from Darby and Seay on down to today’s. They waste our hard earned tax dollars like drunken sailors as you can see in your ad valorem (house yearly) taxes we palmcoasters pay the county double of what we pay the city that gives us 70 percent of our services, so they have plenty money to waste and they do it. Maybe we need to pull a fast one and take over the county like Jacksonville did with Duval so we can get a fair deal for what we pay to the county then and their Hass’s, Coffey’s, Cameron’s their deputies and also legal teams costly wrong doing will be reduced finally.
Dedicated American says
Pierre, I wish to commend you on this article. People must know what has happened many years ago and still going on to date. When Hutch King was commissioner he mentioned that the FBI was in Flagler County and their response was, “there is a little bit of corruption in every county”. You see what the government is doing to all of us with the corona virus. That is called CONTROL And the sheep follow. (They continue to vote for these criminals). Instead of doing research as to the real picture.
Been There says
The Commissioners ARE the problem. Jerry Cameron was hand-picked to do their bidding. There is a lot more at stake here and fingers are in development, business, chamber, pies. The business of this Commission is to work with the City to make certain people richer at the expense of the tax payer i.e. back office land deals that involve swapping County property for property of lesser value because some has a client that wants it and can’t afford to purchase if the property were to go to bid as it should ETHICALLY speaking.
The corruption goes deeper than you could ever know and there is a spider web of political, public and private that combine to make up this particularly devious skein. They are all (except Hansen) in bed together.
The State Attorney General really needs to get involved.
Charlie F Ericksen says
You finally have gone over board
Looks like it’s time to contact the State Board on just what you are using the ” tax free: 501c Trust” for
Sure looks like you have selectively chosen any County employee to respond , to be denied access to this crap writing by rejecting my prior comments and refusal to even mention the passing of a 16 year tenured County employee and senior military person
Shame on you.. You have gone batty!!!
Go ahead and reject this
My best wishes to your wife
Pierre Tristam says
Charlie, spare me the crocodile wishes and stick to public business, hard as it is for you to understand the meaning of “public” anymore. You should check your statements before you make false accusations. No comment of yours has ever been withheld, including your last one about Flagler Beach. Funny that you accuse FlaglerLive of (falsely) denying you access while you, in fact, are the one denying the public access and knowledge about public business. But your commission has never been too keen on irony. As for the passing of your employee, whose last day on the job we recognized with a nice image as part of a larger account four years ago: we’d have run the county notice about his passing had we received it. But you seem to forget that it’s your county administrator who’s forbidding Julie Murphy from sending county releases to us. You told me you thought that was nuts. I agree. But you’ve done nothing about it (what exactly have you done lately on the commission?), and now you blame FlaglerLive for not running the release? I don’t think I’m the one going batty here. Shame you’re tarnishing your final year on the commission this way. You could’ve been remembered for better.
SASHAY AWAY says
Pierre welcome to the ” people with voices that the good ole boys don’t like club”, they don’t like to be called out for their shenanigans and corruption. I have been to BOCC meetings where Ericksen with his stoic nose up in the air attitude has never shown any compassion left alone comment to “we the people’s ” issues. They all have the mindset that they are above the law and can pass agendas without public knowledge, address or input for their friends and buddies gain $$$$. If they made a giant cardboard doll of Ericksen and put it in his chair at the meetings he would not be missed. Just look at how pissed off he got with you when the truth hurts and just look at the audacity , boldness and threats he makes calling you and us “batty”, (I say us because this is how ” we the people ” feel also. He was called out with the rest of the BOCC and when one speaks the truth he calls us batty as they cover up and hide behind closed doors. WTH he’s leaving he was better off remaining quiet as this was his mo throughout his stay and now he has a big mouth? And then with all of his BS he truly wishes your wife well? Hypocrite!
Concerned Citizen says
I would pay closer attention to the commentary of the article. We The Peopel who you are supposed to represent have grown tired of the corruption and shennanigans. It’s something new every day. And you spend more time on nonesense and crooked deals than busniess. So don’t be so offended when you get called out. Thankfully we have local media to let us know of shady dealings.
In regards to the “temporary wink wink nudge nudge” Jerry Cameron we knew that was a scam forced on us in the first place. The man didn’t even meet certain requirements to be hired permanently. So you thought you could fool us with a long term “temporary wink wink nudge nudge deal”
Secondly a simple background investigation of Mr.Cameron raises some questionable busniess practices in St. Johns. And an independant reference check seconds that info. As a former Deputy Sheriff Retired FF I always do my due deligence on others. Did the BOCC on this one?
You got called out on shady and possibly illegal busniess. Suck it up and start doing the right thing. DOn’t stoop to personal attacks. If it wasn’t for FL you people would have sold this County out to Captains BBQ and other special interests long ago. And we are sick of it.
I do not always agree with your politcs. But as an invested citizen of this county. One who volunteers countless hours in the emergency services field I appreciate your concern for us. I am tired of the actions of this BOCC. And ask that you keep the investigative journalism rolling. Crank up the heat and get the AG and FDLE involved since threats have been made. We will back you up.
Edith Campins says
Shame on you for that personal attack. What have you accomplished? Just another low for a public official taking a page from the trump handbook, when you can’t dispute the facts, insult, name call and ignore the issue. Maybe when you call the State Board you can ask them about the government in the Sunshine Law and how you and the commission have made a mockery of it.
Our community says
Yeah Charlie Ericksen we also know that you were one of the original advocates who secretly allowed more flight schools into our community what do you care about us they are not flying over you or your family’s heads as you rub elbows where you live with Mori so goodbye and good riddance to you and yours, wish we could say nothing lost but certainly nothing gained under your stay!
Mike Cocchiola says
At the risk of “politicizing” this mess, Flagler County has had numerous chances to fix the BOCC. Yet we keep electing or reelecting these guys and they keep corrupting our County. We don’t have to let hard-line Trump/DeSantis Republicans spread their corruption. We can stop them. Just band together and vote them out of office every chance we get. Even one at a time works!
But we don’t. Beause we don’t band together. We don’t vote as a block as their voters do. We think too much but we don’t go do what it takes to change Flagler back to honor and ethics. Anybody that wants to talk about this, contact me.
Concerned Citizen says
I have been fighting to get people to change for a long time. I purposely voted no incumbents this election. And will continue to do so. It takes a community though. So hopefully you and I can start persuading our fellow citizens to vote more responsibly.
Florida law requires County Administrators to be residents of the county. Cameron and the Commissioners have simply ignored that law.
Concerned Citizen says
I have said it before and will say it again.
The time has come for change in this county. I have been an advocate of cleaning house for a long time. Let’s call the State AG’s office and FDLE. Light up those phones!! If we have residents who are comfortable with corruption and refuse to vote them out then we force them out.
Jerry Cameron was an issue from day one. You only had to look and see their his “temporary wink wink nudge nudge status” that he was going to cause problems and not give a damn about us. He doesn’t even meet a lot of the requirements to work here. And one only has to run a simple back ground investigation to see his track record in St.Johns.
This man is a con artist and will wreck this county before he is thru. And we will have no one to blame but ourselves. If you don’t demand change and keep re-electing the same enablers how can you expect different?
All the secretive meetings behind closed doors, the media coverage of the hypocrisy of Jerry Cameron (who should know the legalities of his position) and WHAT IS BEING DONE ABOUT IT? This is arrogance at its finest snubbing his nose at the citizens of Flagler County and all the applicants who spent countless hours submitting resumes for his position only to learn he, (Jerry Cameron) has basically already picked his successor. Does the “Sunshine Law” even exist anymore or is it now called “Jerry’s Law”?
What is the Sunshine Law? (FROM THE FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL’S WEBSITE)
“Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine law provides a right of access to governmental proceedings at both the state and local levels. It applies to any gathering of two or more members of the same board to discuss some matter which will foresee ably come before that board for action. There is also a constitutionally guaranteed right of access. Virtually all state and local collegial public bodies are covered by the open meetings requirements with the exception of the judiciary and the state Legislature which has its own constitutional provision relating to access.”
What are the requirements of the Sunshine law?
“The Sunshine law requires that 1) meetings of boards or commissions must be open to the public; 2) reasonable notice of such meetings must be given, and 3) minutes of the meeting must be taken.”
Only Me says
Flagler County taxpayers deserve to get rid of this corruption in these County Officials, stop voting for them in office and get new blood in that really will make good quality changes for our county.
Trailer Bob says
Wow…sounds like a mess here in Flagler. But most of the commenters totally throw Flagler away with the bath water, if you will.
Flagler is a beautiful county. Most the people are nice and fairly educated. We have a beautiful oceanfront, though it has become pretty much a home to New Yorkers and those from New Jersey how didn’t come here to acclimate, but rather to change the area to fit their habits and views.
I sometimes wish we could annex Bunnell from the rest of the county…but it sort of is already, really.
And yes, we have the good ol boys running things here, just as it was up north, only it was the Democrats who were the majority, so that is were the dirty deeds arouse from.
Mullins? How the hell did that one happen? It’s all about him and his. Bizzare to say the least.
But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water, like I said earlier.
If one feels that Flagler is so bad of a place to reside, please allow yourselves to a place that is more desirable to your needs and wants.
In the meantime, vote with your brain, read up on the candidate, and if you feel qualified…run against the dinosaurs in office.
Just stop confusing people with the piece of land called Flagler County. Unfortunately, bad news always spreads further and faster than good news.
Hell, my name might very well be included on the ballot in a couple of years. And I agree that we do need to get rid of the dead weight and put people in office that are there for one reason and one reason only…to make and keep all of Flagler County all that it can be. It’s really IS a great place to live.
Dedicated American says
How is it possible that a county administrator, engineer, and attorney make over $150,000. dollars a year WITH PERKS when the income of most residents per year is around $50,000. Our county commissioners only see one issue, the developers and special interest groups and very high salaries with increases. Mind you the county Attorney Al Hadeed has an assistant and a secretary and to add to that he has to have Attorney Mark Heron from Jacksonville to handle the counties ethics suits. Engineer Faith Alcatheb has three or four under her collecting large salaries. Commissioners pass every issue on the agendas and they do not read any of it. They take very good care of big contributors that fund their campaigns. Look what happened in Plantation Bay when two people went before the Board of County Commissioners to stop all building ICI was doing because of their contaminated water. Joe Mullins, who by the way, represents the residents of Plantation Bay was the deciding vote to allow Mori Housanni to continue his building. What does that tell you Voters?
CB from PC says
I do not agree with the underhanded way Cameron handled this.
But, having worked in the Private Sector, posting an executive level job is usually just a formal BS exercise by management and HR.
They already know who they want for the position, and many times there is no posting.
It is a “newly created position to accommodate our changing business needs”.
Also, job titles are changed specifically to better “qualify” the pre-determined recipient of the job.
These tactics are nothing new.
Try applying for a job with the City of Palm Coast, the “until filled” expiration date postings mean the job is open until someone who is a friend or relative of an employee is available.
Why is Flagler County govt such a cess pool of irresponsible commissioners and its county leaders. We had Coffey, now we have this part time leader in Cameron who didn’t fare to well in St Johns County, but we in Flagler hired him, and so far he has been a do nothing leader.. He’s just another Coffey in different shoes. This county needs to get smart and do some real diligence on hiring, but voters need to get out a vote and stop hiring their buddies .
Debra Clark says
Heidi Petito is the last person who should be promoted to any position in Flagler County. She should have gone the way with Craig Coffey. The way she handled the whole debacle with Captain’s BBQ was a disgrace! She, along with Cameron, decided that the current building should be demolished. Much to my surprise, we actually have an engineer on county staff who has the authority to condemn buildings and yet he was not even called upon the inspect the building. He stated that, in person, before the BOCC. That whole thing stank to high heaven and sure smelled like corruption to me.
What Else Is New says
Folks, Cameron, the FCBOCC and more are all Republicans. Republicans have shown complicity reigns. Evil, sinister, racist autocracy is the name of the game. And don’t expect DJT’s son, DeSantis to offer any assistance. He’s deep in it as well. Flagler county is worth saving. Why can’t voters see that?
Hey it’s a Trump county run by Con-servatives…..comes as no surprise.
@Bullseye – pass me a cold one and amen
While we’re at it – have some peanuts. They’re not mine but they’re pretty damn good:
Following a terrible smell, a curious child entered the tent by way of a small hole in its side…
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Unless I am mistaken the only 2 county positions which are directly hired by the BOCC are the County Administrator and County Attorney. An assistant or Chief of Staff can be fired at will by the County Administrator at any time without commission approval. ( The commission can request the Administrator to fire his Chief of Staff and if he doesn’t well the commission can fire the Administrator!).
Cameron has openly bragged about Heidi being one of the best and dependable county employees since he began regardless of his ( eyebrow raising) sale to Mullins of his land which was listed on HMLS at the time anyway). Jerry Cameron made the mistake in my opinion of not just choosing her outright as he wanted to and let the chips fall where they may..
Heidi Petito knows more about Flagler County ( she is not perfect – are any of us??) than all 5 commissioners put together and pray that she will prove herself – if not she can be FIRED as I stated previously.
As far as Joe Mullins – yes the commissioners can vote to request the Governor remove him from office but I do not think that is going to happen since there will not be a quorum of 3 but that does not stop the people, en masse, petitioning to meet with the Governor asking he be removed prior to November. ” We the People”, Democrats, Republicans, Non party should go as a united group, loaded with all their threatening posts, texts and e-mails with defaming libelous, racist, sexist, age related insane remarks, as well as continual stalking and harassment to many constituents who pay his $56,000+ salary and perks , not just the undersigned.
Mr, Mullins more than anyone in my opinion, followed secondly by the hapless (my opinion) County Attorney who costs us over $700,000 ( including salaries) for doing nothing other than subcontracting his legal obligations out to his pals ( my opinion) while he sits quietly and watches the commissioners make the mistakes resulting in all the lawsuits he happily and immediately farms.
He says ” Mullins and the Commissioners are MY boss” – well maybe they can tell him to take a hike at the same time they pass a motion to request the Governor to remove him, which is the exact wording my proposed ordinance ( which none of them read) clearly stated: Second offense by any elected official board should vote to ask governor to remove).
Nobody is a saint and yes the airport situation is disgraceful; the some salaries and perks and carte blanche open accounts as well as the corruption is disgraceful; the equal campaign expenditures reported by 3 candidates for consulting services of one of the commissioner’s sons , in 2018 as well as 2020; the phony campaign expense reports – it is all degrading and yes, we need to put a stop to all this but but
Please let’s start with an effort to have Mullins recalled, Hadeed fired and O’Brien not re-elected as the most important. Jerry Cameron did not break any Flagler County Hiring requirement procedures ; Yes, he has not yet proven he has a grip on the airport situation with the piss ass planes destroying people’s lives which is still at unacceptable noise levels. He has tried to salvage Plantation Bay facilities and did so with the help of Heidi Petito.
No, Jerry Cameron is not a saint but in my eyes he is the least of the ‘sinners’ we need to get rid of ASAP.
Thank you Flagler Live once again for allowing a comment section. It also helps lower blood pressure……
Gina Weiss says
Mr. Ericksen: STOP WITH THE ” GAS LIGHTING” we do not need you to throw titles in our faces as we are sure that those individuals of which you have spoken are hard working and dedicated and have served our country and we are thankful, what we don’t need is for you to use people’s titles to benefit the BOCC shoddy behind close door deals, you purposely misinterpreted Pierre’s talking points which is of no surprise since all of you use the “see the shiny coin” approach when caught and are exposed for wrongdoings! All of you may think people in this county are stupid but we are not so don’t insult our intelligence!
Edith Campins says
Sunshine Law? The arrogance of the Commissioners is appalling. We have got to vote them out. It is the only hope for our county.
Corinne Hermle says
Bravo Pierre! Thank you for shedding some sunshine on this.
I believe the citizens of Flagler County deserve good governance, accountability and increased transparency. It is very obvious now that decisions made yesterday and decisions being made today will impact our County for decades to come.
Our County Commission needs to have a variety of viewpoints and voices:
– A voice to push for accountability and transparency.
– A voice moving our County away from knee-jerk decisions in favor of long-range planning.
– A voice to move us all to confronting, rather than avoiding, the hard questions about growth management.
– A voice calling for better stewardship of our tax dollars, so our hard-earned tax dollars are spent wisely (as they are a finite resource).
– A voice for preserving our natural resources BEFORE they are lost.
Our County can… and MUST… do better for its citizens.
As a current state government employee, I am very familiar with Florida’s Sunshine laws and I strongly support them.
I believe in honesty and accountability from our government officials.
I believe in sustainable growth that results in a resilient community.
I believe we can protect our environment while supporting our local businesses and attract new businesses to our community.
And finally, I believe governing by surprise is NEVER a recipe for success.
I believe the citizens of Flagler County deserve to have a choice this November.
Visit http://www.hermle.us if you wish to learn more.
Looks like current commissioner Charlie Ericksen want to be remembered as one more bully harassing our local media and also disrespecting while making a reference to the editors wife. Shame on you commissioner Ericksen! I wish all your years in the FCBOCC instead of using all this energy attacking with totalitarian intimidation a local editor for doing and excellent job in keeping the community informed, you should have instead worked to preserve the county and city residents quality of life, safety and their pursuit of happiness as well as not have raised our taxes so much to waste our hard earned contributions as you did. Your post here today seals your pathetic legacy of totalitarian intimidation to reach your obscure former banker goals. Please do us a favor to those that feel guilty as long ago voted you in office and …Apologize!
E. Hoffa says
Palm Coast was developed in a Pine Swamp with the blessing of Swamp Good Old Boys! Corruption is alive and well here! Before you vote, read about the corruption!
Had it all wrong? says
I’m a big fan of your writings, but I think you got this one wrong. Yes, there may be issues within the county and yes, we know you don’t care for Jerry Cameron.
But, your first article suggested this was a political ploy to move the IT Director forward into the position. When he got cut, you claimed the position was meant for Petitio. According to the Palm Coast Observer, you were wrong on both of those assumptions. You posted the individual score cards of everyone on the panel, it seems Jerry Cameron made the right choice with Jorge Salinas.
It’s very sad that county employees are providing you biased, non-factual information. In order to be a reputable writer, you have to remove this stigma amongst the county workers. County employees have verbally commented “let’s call Pierre, he will spin it”. They find comedy in winding you up and watching you spin out out control off false information they provide you.
It’s best to work on your credibility so you can establish a better relationship with the new Chief of Staff. If he’s reading this, this not the best “first impression” for you.
Keep up the great writings!
THE GAY RANCHER says
TO:HAD IT ALL WRONG ERICKENSON MAYBE or OTHER BOCC CRONIES: Pierre looks like we have a flyng monkey here, you know the kind that takes the side of the narcissists cause that’s what they all are, the enablers, who support, defend and encourage wrong doings and very bad things which this BOCC and the rest of them are doing, we had much “cognitive dissonance”, it’s either their way or the highway and this person sounds like one of the back ups! Sill thinking people are stupid enough to by this ones BS and blaming the county employees is absolutely stomach turning on their disgusting back room crooked deals. They have gone to a all new low which is not a surprise when caught with their pants down!
Pierre Tristam says
I appreciate the comment, and while I prefer to leave infallibility to popes and PR departments, I do prize accuracy, so your points deserve an answer.
The first article never alluded to any of the five candidates being favored: they were merely named. I honestly thought that given Cameron channeling Dali, any of the five would have not shocked me, so there was no point predicting. The second–an opinion piece after all–did place Petito as a front runner. Cameron’s appointment, very possibly prompted by the backlash of belated attention to his shenanigans—he does make decisions on a dime, particularly when stung—was a nice surprise. Petito is nevertheless the interim chief until January, as Salinas apparently isn’t taking over until then (assuming he does).
It’s always been acknowledged that Cameron could (and in fact should have) hired the assistant unilaterally. That would have been more proper. But once he did two things—defined the appointment as that of a potential successor and directly involved the commissioners, he kicked the process into a different category, requiring openness. Otherwise he and the commission are making a de facto successor hire by circumventing the requirements of an open process—what they in fact did.
The county’s favorite talking point has been that Cameron went above and beyond by including commissioners. That of course is another red herring: a deception with the ring of legitimacy (I was sorry to see Commissioner Belhumeur in Flagler Beach, the same commissioner who sees a staff “conspiracy” working against his commission, bite into the herring in another thread today). Commissioners are not allowed by law to get involved in administrative matters. There’s a red line between them and employees, made explicit in local government charters and such, that should never be crossed for a reason. We already have a couple of hothead commissioners who think they run the county. Do you really want one of them leaning on Salinas one day and saying, “Hey, I got you this job, I can take it away”? By letting commissioners cross that line, Cameron—who’s never led an organization before and never will again—clumsily and short-sightedly opened that door. It’s no more appropriate than if the commissioners had gotten involved in the hiring of, say, a janitor, to borrow from Sullivan’s not quite graceful analogy. Cameron and his commissioners are trying to have it both ways. They can’t, though of course they did. They disagree (viz., PR will not be denied). But their defense of clubbish secrecy as opposed to a basic public accounting of the process would be perplexing only if the default setting of this commission weren’t so pre-’68 sunshine.
I don’t doubt that county employees, and not only them, manipulate and play me as they would any reporter going back eons. It’s the nature of the whorehouse, and johns will be johns. We try to minimize the manipulations. I often get screwed. But aside from the fact that I relied on no county sources for this particular story at any point (I’m terribly gullible, but not lobotomized yet), if your colleagues are knowingly feeding false information, it’s not really me they’re hurting so much as maliciously hoping to plant lies for our 20,000 readers to read. If I mistake their lies for sincerity, of course it’s my fault, but my conscience is clear.
Finally you make two assumptions that misread me as a reporter. You assume that like, say, John Walsh, I have skin in any of this. I frankly don’t give a camel’s hump who’s appointed where. They’re all the same to me–community theater actors in an absurdist soap I’m merely reviewing after each day’s lurid episode. The last thing you’ll see me do is hinge my credibility on their judgments, or worry about what impression any of them, including poor Salinas, have of me. For thirty years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve done it for readers at large. The second a reporter hinges his reputation on the opinions of the people he covers, he’s no longer a reporter but their flacker. You might direct your advice at Cameron and his crew: it’s their own credibility they should be worried about. Of course I’m just a blogger, so why any of them should be hung up over FlaglerLive is beyond me.
SAY WHAT: says
Had it all wrong: I find a couple of things troublesome with your interpretation, first of all who knows if you are telling the truth about what happened since you do not leave your “real name” and how do we the people know how much of the truth is feed to county staffers by the good ole boys , I mean practically all of them are a bunch of dinosaurs who have been at this game for a long time and know how to purposely mislead and play dirty as we the people have witnessed by their countless closed door deals. Secondly, maybe Jerry Cameron folded at the 12 o’clock hour because of public pressure. And this is just the point when no press and no public are invited into your secret society. Furthermore we the people do not have to worry about how the freedom of the press as well as ourselves are judged,( and there goes that “your crap don’t smell attitudes again”) and hopefully this new Chief of Staff is beyond that!