After 10 years as Palm Coast’s city manager and months of mounting friction with most of his bosses, Jim Landon has lost the confidence of four of the five city council members. His departure is now a matter of when, not if.
The when is a matter of weeks or months at most–and possibly days, though Landon is asking for two years. The difference depends on whether the council is willing to tolerate a protracted “transition” on Landon’s terms, as he has been trying to impress on them behind closed doors in the past few days, or whether the council will cut the knot now to do what a majority of members have been wanting to do since the last election, and some of them for much longer than that: start fresh with their own manager, on their terms, rather than those imposed by a council that has since turned over completely twice in 10 years.
At least three council members have no interest in a protracted, two-year exit plan. Two of them want it over now. One of them is willing to go no further than February, if that. A fourth is considering the two-year plan only as a means to avoid paying severance, but even that council member prefers to get rid of Landon now if the votes are there. The council member was not aware of colleagues’ positions, nor was made aware in interviews. In other words, it may be all over but the voting.
The four council members all agree: Landon shepherded the city well through the recession. But the recession is long over and Landon’s methods have not changed: he has not been an ideas man, but a caretaker. Council members credit the administration for running well because of a cadre of well-heeled directors, but on automatic pilot, with Landon stuck in his ways and worse: his arrogance is intensifying. His interactions with the community are diminishing. He has been publicly and privately insulting and dismissive of at least two council members, and at one point placed the responsibility for mending the relationship on one of them, underscoring the criticism across the community that Landon thinks he’s in charge of the council, rather than being its subordinate.
It is that dynamic that the council has been chafing under, to the point of inadmissibility, according to four of the five council members.
The four council members who no longer have confidence in Landon would vote to fire him today if it weren’t for two issues, both of which hold them hostage, but only up to a point. One is a severance package that would cost the city around $227,000. That package was negotiated under former Mayor Jon Netts more than 10 years ago, before state law changed to make such egregious golden parachutes illegal. The current council is not responsible for the terms of the severance except by inheritance, and some of them resent having their decisions tied by the reckless action of a previous council.
The second issue is the fact that Landon has been secretively negotiating the terms of his exit with each individual council member behind closed doors since returning from a two-week vacation with his wife in their RV after July 4. (His secretary referred to the meetings as “very secretive” to one of the council members.) Landon has done so by exploiting the sunshine law at the council members’ expense and stacking the deck in his favor where it counts: he has all the information about how each of them thinks. They do not. Landon has kept them collectively in the dark, never broaching the subject in open meeting, knowing that council members are barred from speaking with each other about it outside of an official meeting, and betting, correctly so far, that none would bring it up in a meeting just yet.
“He has clearly understood that his time in Palm Coast has come to an end.”
They have not done so, several of them have told me, because the line between opening the discussion publicly and being placed in a position to fire him is thin, and since each individual member who wants to get rid of him doesn’t know whether the votes are there to get rid of him, none wants to be in what amounts to a Milissa Holland situation. Holland is the mayor. When she was a Flagler County Commissioner, she had lost confidence in Craig Coffey, the county administrator. She moved in 2010 to fire him, thinking she had the three votes. Absent breaking the law by speaking to commissioners outside a meeting, she had no way to know ahead of the vote whether she did in fact have the votes secured. She did not. She had two.
The difference between the Coffey and Landon situation is this: at the time of Holland’s move against Coffey, what tension may have existed with commissioners was much less clear or restrained, there had been no publicly reported issues as there has been with Landon, and there was no independent reporting about commissioners’ positions. Much of Holland’s approach was speculative.
In this case, what is known about the Palm Coast council members’ positions is based on a dozen extensive interviews with all five of them—including repeated interviews with most of them—adding up to some eight hours over recent days. They agreed to speak with me once I learned of the series of closed door meetings. I did not share the substance of any conversation from one council member to another: I was not interested in being their conduit of information. I wanted to learn what they and Landon were discussing behind closed doors. The aim was to publish information that should have been in the public domain all along. Council members were fully aware that I would be reporting on the conversations collectively, with the only caveat, which I offered, being that I would not name them individually. They are public officials and what they say should normally be attributed to them individually. I offered the caveat because I wanted to hear their perspective as candidly as possible, unfiltered by what reserve they’d feel from being called out at this point. They will themselves make those positions clear in open meetings soon enough.
None of this would have been necessary had Landon not been maneuvering behind the scenes over what amounts to one of the most central and public—and, to taxpayers, costly—issue regarding city business. The manipulations are a reflection of imperious and controlling methods that have become a norm of conducting city business. “They’re 100 percent about control,” one council member said of the serial meetings.
Council members, ultimately, have enabled the method, though this is not the first council that has done so. It is the first council that is looking to break the vise. In the words of one council member: “This reign has to stop. The current methodologies, the current ways, have to end.”
Another council member put it this way: “He has clearly understood that his time in Palm Coast has come to an end.”
The momentum to end Landon’s tenure picked up several weeks ago.
One council member put Landon on notice that he had to bring his tenure to an end. He told him so shortly before Landon began his RV vacation in late June. Landon said he’d use the vacation to speak with his wife about his future. By then, he was well aware that dissatisfaction had been growing. He has put up his house for sale. He bought the RV, suggesting that his days were numbered. “When men of a certain age start shopping for RVs,” one council member said, “retirement looms large.”
He has also been whittling down his accrued unused personal days. By February, he’d accrued 160 of them. As of this month, he’d whittled them down to around 137. There’s a reason for that: in his severance package, Landon is entitled to six months’ pay and whatever benefits correlate to that. He’s also entitled to a cash payout of unused personal days, up to 130 days. (He gets 30 personal days a year and is required to take at least 10.) So he’s been taking a lot of paid vacation time in order to use up days he would otherwise lose in a severance settlement. That, too, has been an indication of his thinking, or disengagement, as he was not big on long vacations previously.
Upon his return, however, he summoned council members to meetings with him and made the following proposal: he would spare the city a severance payout if the council allowed him to retire in 2019—in two years. He wants to ride out the next two years until his granddaughter’s graduation, at which point he’d be willing to retire. He told council members that he would then help the city execute a succession plan. He wants Beau Falgout, his director of economic development, to be the next city manager. And he wants to make the announcement of his retirement on his terms, at an August meeting.
Each council member reported a version of that plan. One council member, who does not see “any huge divide” between Landon and the council, found it reasonable, though Landon had been less specific with that member than he had with at least some of the others.
The other four council members were taken aback by the plan, and some of them were floored by what they described as brazen presumptions, particularly the assumption that he would use private family matters to dictate a retirement schedule at the city’s expense, or that he would assume that the succession is in his hands. None of them are interested in Falgout as the next manager—not only because Falgout, though a nice enough man, lacks the gravitas of a leader, but because the council wants a change in culture.
“I would want something brand new,” a council member said.
“That would be kind of crazy and kind of bizarro world,” another said of the succession plan.
To at least two council members Landon justified the notion of such a succession plan by comparing it to the succession plan in the works at the Palm Coast Fire Department, where Fire Chief Mike Beadle is retiring in less than two years, along with several ranked members of the department. Beadle has been developing an extensive plan to ensure the succession.
Landon’s comparison, as one council member noted, reveals the extent to which he’s lost sight of his role and the council’s role, confusing his administrative authority with the council’s authority. The council alone hires and fires two people, the manager and the city attorney. The manager has no say in those decisions. But he’s maneuvering to do just that. “It’s not up to him,” the council member said, echoing others.
When it comes to finding a replacement for Landon, whether he is still in the manager’s seat or not, four of the five council members want the search to be completely independent of him: they say they know he will try to control the process, and they are adamant that they will not let him do so, assuming he’s not already gone.
But if the four council members all say independently that they want him gone, they disagree over the manner of separation, primarily because of the severance cost. Landon knows it, and has been holding the severance over council members’ head as both carrot and stick: to those who bristle at the severance cost, a form of transition plan is appealing if it avoids the payout. Two others are beyond the point of making a decision influenced in one way or another by the severance cost. They are Landon’s biggest fear, because they are ready to call for his removal immediately.
But he’s put it bluntly to some of the council members: “Either way, it really doesn’t hurt me,” he told one of them. “If you let me go, I get my severance.” (The measure of their disagreement is in large part driven by their ignorance of their fellow council members’ positions on the severance issue. They were not told what those positions are during the interviews.)
But even the two other council members who are uncomfortable with the severance package are almost embittered about his continued presence: “I personally feel that he does no good for the city anymore,” one of them said. “There’s such a dark cloud over him in the city.” That council member, who at one point had spoken of not being able to abide the cost of the severance package—which is why Landon clearly played on that council member’s vulnerability by playing up the “succession” plan and his tenure through 2019—also spoke of preferring to end it now regardless, despite the cost of severance, “but I don’t think the votes are there.”
“I want the announcement made now and I want the search to begin now.”
In fact, the four votes appear to be already there, though council members remain reluctant to make moves without more complete information. Timing is still a variable, with three ready to see him gone now and a fourth looking for a more planned approach. That member, who is ready to be done with Landon despite struggling over the severance, put it this way: “I don’t want anyone calling for a vote right now until we have a discussion and talk about our options.” In other words, the council member wants to level the playing field and take back the control of information that Landon has abrogated through the process.
The council member who’s been concerned about the severance has sought to negotiate it with Landon, or find ways to negotiate down the severance, but Landon is unlikely to willingly weaken what would be his last means of leverage, once the veil on the secrecy of his meetings is lifted. Yet that same council member has also said that in the end, while severance is an issue, the fault does not belong with this council and the cost should not be a deciding factor.
The council member found it absurd that Landon would hold out for two more years, at a cost of nearly half a million dollars to the city, when the city could be done now even at the cost of severance. (Even if the severance package were more restrained and in line with current state law, he would still have been owed 20 weeks instead of 26 weeks’ pay, plus accrued personal days as a cash payout, plus benefits. So the cost would have been less, but not much less.)
“I want the announcement made now and I want the search to begin now,” the council member said, adamant about going through the search process and ending it by February, before the next election season.
To yet another council member, the mere fact that Landon is talking about retiring, whether in six months or two years, proves that he has already checked out, and that stretching out his tenure, even to avoid paying severance, would be untenable: it would place the city’s immediate needs at the mercy of his coasting toward retirement. If Landon is already having the retirement discussion, the council member said, “it doesn’t make sense” to continue. “I don’t think he has the passion,” the council member said, though he’s holding back the passion of the youngest and most energetic council in the city’s history.
“If it gets brought up in a council meeting, my recommendation is going to be to move on now,” the council member said.
Landon’s two-year deal and succession plan, in sum, is risible to a majority of the council, and his attempt to control his tenure’s end appears to be itself the first casualty of his closing days, as council members are clearly done with complying with his closed-door methods for that reason: his obsession with control is part of their disenchantment.
One council member’s proposal appears to be a likely next step: a special meeting for the council to discuss the issue, possibly without Landon’s presence, to more openly figure out where each council member stands and how to proceed. Only then will it be clearer if Landon’s end days are in fact here or if the council will again turn to clay.
Pay the severance or leverage one of the many conflicts of interest he has facilitate discussion or ignored in the past and explore prosecution. Get him gone ASAP.
Kendall C Acques says
Although I don’t live in Palm Coast, I have kept up on Landon’s dictatorship. In my opinion, his departure is way overdue! He should have been fired years ago!.
I do hope the Palm Coast City Commissioners will read and really take in the comments that are sure to be posted here.
Next. . . we need an end to the Craig Coffey dictatorship. Are you paying attention Flagler county commissioners? . .
Get rid of him. You don’t get to “appoint” your successor. Make him sell his house and buy one on the old Matanzas Woods course. Try hitting a ball through the weeds. I believe he had a lot to do with renovation of Cypress before Matanzas. Never did make sense to renovate the worst course in the county before the best unless you live on the worst. Just my humble opinion.
Netts put this city in a bind in more than one way.
Pay the next town manager based on a factor of the median income of this area.
That BS of we pay based on size is a load of crap. Pay based on the economics / incomes of this area.
In fact there should be an adjustment of all salaries in the city government. People making well into the 100,000 dollar range is obscene.
Furthermore the town council should not be complaining about the payoff to to show Landon the door because they are throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars away on that golf course and tennis court.
Phoenix Saldaña Sarmiento-Araneta says
The problem is the City of Palm Coast has to pay him severance pay plus hire a new City Manager whose two years salary would cost the city just as much as Landon’s severance pay in two years. In other words it will cost the taxpayers twice just so we’ll have a new city manager…how bad has this Landon guy been that the taxpayers have to shoulder this expense just because the City Council wants to replace him NOW? If what the Council wants are all good and legal, why can’t they impose their will on him, sue him if there’s any misconduct instead of letting the taxpayers suffer the loss of taxpayers’ money? Just saying…
Kendall C Acques says
He’s damaging our city. He doesn’t need to remain in charge.
Nancy Nally says
So the answer is to effectively let him hold the city hostage? I don’t think so!
Brad West says
There are other costs to leaving ineffective leadership that is not invested in place which could be far far greater.
john dolan says
Landon and Coffey should go and pay back all monies earned under their mis-leadership. They should be denied from holding office of any kind in any civilized society on the planet. Surely, we can make better choices than Lady Melissa.
He gets a phat raise THEN send him packing?Politics does pay, oh I mean crime.
Peaches McGee says
As stated in the article, he’s a caretaker. We need an idea man to get PC into the next decade.
Kick his butt to the curb most lickedy split.
Ben Hogarth says
Although I don’t really have a desire to leave my current place of residence (Stuart/St. Lucie)and return to Flagler County because opportunity here is so bountiful, and the people are incredibly warm and welcoming…
But with an opportunity to bring fresh ideas and a real long term vision.. I may actually be interested in the position.
I believe Palm Coast is a younger City now that is struggling to identify what it wants to be when it grows up. But if job growth and economic development are the keys to the right environmental conditioning..
I’m your guy Palm Coast. And don’t worry – as a former Flagler County insider, I may just be the guy you need at that negotiating table.
Landon Ian long overdo for an early retirement. The people of Palm Coast deserve better.
It is about time – Landon is not worth the severance package he receives much less the salary. A bad person to help the citizens of Flagler County. He deserves nothing more than to leave immediately and seek nothing else from the County. Get rid of him sooner than later and be done with his “rein” its long overdue!
South Florida says
Timothy McInnes says
By planting perennial plants along Belle Terre Parkway in the medians instead of planting and ripping out plants every 3 to 4 months we could probably pay his severance within 2 years with the savings!
Crystal Schuh says
Its about time!
In this day and age, most HR professionals would not recommend keeping staff for more than 2 weeks (at the most) from when the decision is made to terminate their employment. Most employees are actually shown the door on the day that decision is made. . . especially for senior staff. The reasons are several:
1. Access to computer systems and the data therein
2. Access to confidential information
3. Confusion among staff regarding authority of a lame duck employee
4. Greater Legal Risks for decision making from an employee whose motivation will likely be in conflict
and on, and on, and on
Suggest the city commissioners consult with an attorney/consultant who specializes in Human Resources laws and ethics post haste!
Deb Brogan says
It’s about time!
Vinny Reevrs says
Like many in Palm Coast, I am a newcomer; and, I am not cognizant of the political intrigue that preceded my arrival here. That is why I voted for Mayor Holland. She has been here from the start. I trust she and city council will always try to make the right decisions for us!
And we have outstanding law enforcement with Sheriff Staly and his deputies.
If the former mayor gave the current manager a sweet heart deal, at the city’s expense, there may have been some quid pro quo that could render it unenforceable.
And it should be attacked on the grounds that these type of deals have been declared illegal.
In any event, we have new, dynamic leadership.
Make a clean sweep now and get on with the city’s business.
The voters ARE ready!
wishful thinking says
One down – one to go… next step: to stop the ‘Coffey Breaks’ or just send Coffey on one long permanent break….. Flagler County needs an administrator not a deal broker who pulls the wool over the commissioner’s eyes via his beloved ‘Consent Agendas.. Yes, I guess this is just wishful thinking…..
Arrogant a-hole, should have BEEN gone
Bubba Gina says
Dump him and don’t hire anyone connected to him. Take out the trash
Isn’t time to follow tradition from the North and have a properly compensated, elected working Mayor in place of a contracted city manager?
Heading North says
I was a Palm Coast resident for years. I have lived in several cities, towns, and villages over time, and have never seen any manager, mayor or commissioner as arrogant and overpaid as Mr. Landon! He is long overdue for removal, as is Mr. Coffey in the County Administrators position. They take and take, and give nothing back.Unload them both as quick as possible! Then work on getting rid of Mayor Holland. With all her baggage, and now this ridiculous lawsuit over her failed marriage and divorce, when all she wants is to be kept comfortable by taking her soon to be ex husband’s money, which she has gotten for years.
Start fresh all around!!!! Take out the trash!!!
I wish you luck citizens of Flagler County!!!!
James Roach says
Cut your loses now and get him gone! This action is way overdue.
Nancy Nally says
Meaning, WTH employee who is about to be fired thinks he gets to dictate all of those terms about his exit? This is a prime example of why he needs to be gone – he thinks he’s the council’s boss!
Landon should have been gone years ago.
Kyle Totten says
Let him go. It may cost us money up front but if is that bad he’s costing us more money to stay.
Lonzo brown says
Its about time council wakes up,find out he has loafed and cut his pay
Why not treat him the way he’s treated others like when he fired over 100 city employees……. and had the cops there to make sure they left. Some of whom where told their jobs where not in jeopardy…… then a few weeks later took a large bonus for doing such a great job….. just kick him to the door….. the tax payers owe him nothing….. he has lined his pockets enough!!
Elizabeth Debarbieri says
Drain the Swamp!
David Schaefer says
Landon and Netts what a damn joke.
Finally!!! What took them so long to awaken? Just hope they don’t dally around and take as long to fire him….whatever it costs, it will be well worth it.
C Granderson says
It’s about time Greed Greed and more Greed! These guys get in there and they think that there are more powerful than the elected officials. They have it made and they don’t even realize it. When in reality all as these idiots have to do is run the city, or the county According to the vision of The people that are over them not their own. It never fails in the end they all have to get voted out in a hostile meeting! They don’t have enough common sense to know when to just leave Now it’s time to do the same thing over at the county!
Bob St Clair says
Overpaid arrogant bum, about time.
August Maxwell says
Well, do unto others.. he did.
Pat Ferrell Patterson says
Doesn’t appear that anyone will shed tears over his departure. Way past due!
Ray Douglass says
About time! He will still need to explain Palm Harbor Golf Course and Tennis Center losses.
Shelly M Shields says
It is about time! Get him out of here now! Even paying the severance pay we would save money in the long run! BYE FELICIA!
Paul Arcusa says
Wow… a lot must have happened in the four years we were away! I remember all the great things being said when he was hired, wha’ hoppened??
Anonymous says says
I like some one to explain to me how come MR Landon makes 227,000 a year . And the Mayer Melissa makes 1,000 a month ? is that because she’s a WOMAN ? you got to love Palm Coast !!!!!
jersey exit 82 says
P.C. population is about 80k. For less than $10 per person we can get rid of this arrogant weasel. Where can I mail my check to?
Citizens of Palm Coast, STOP beating a dead horse. Landon is finished. Can you come up with a proposal to avoid another similar bad situation 10 years from now? Lets be part of the solution and not part of the problem. …..we have enough problems we don’t have to add to it…………
Erika Amodio says
Still waiting for lights on Belle Terre Pkwy. How long does it take him to get the job done???
BOB S says
LANDON,COFFE SHOULD BOTH BE FIRED AND COSIDER THEMSELVES LUCKY THEY ARE NOT GOING TO JAIL FOR ALL THE PAYOFFS FROM VENDORS AND CONTRACTORS .
If Landon termination is decided by majority vote of this council and given his high severance pay…then I will put all my PC taxpayer confidence that they will search and hire a totally non connected new manager (that could very well be a woman, to break up the male trend only so far ) and at least NO MORE than $110,000 starting salary a year plus usual vacation and other benefits. In this way the severance pay will be recovered soon by the city coffers and taxpayers will be satisfied with this staring salary saving us funds after the $227,000 plus severance recovered. I see many current city administrators making very high salaries totally disconnected with the average income of the Palm Coast taxpayers.
Next we should expect our county commissioners do the same with County Administrator Coffey!
South Florida says
I can’t stand Jim Landon. I once called him and he was rude, abrupt and told me how much he loved pc. Yeah, on that salary any one could be comfortable.
Please get rid of him council for once and all.
Brad West says
Sunshine laws. By mentioning the positions of each it would taint the vote and decision making process. The important thing now is to reach out to Council Members and express your opinion.
Ben Hogarth says
Although I may have already “thrown my name in the hat” as someone who could easily come in with a new strategic vision, I think a few points still need to be made irrespective of my own interest in the leadership position:
1. It sounds as if the work culture and administrative environment in the City has diminished to a point where perhaps new and creative ideas are for all intent and purposes – being flushed down the city sewer system. My experiences interacting with city staff in the past were certainly indicative of a corporate culture aimed at constantly glorifying Landon. Not healthy….
2. The City Council is publicly admitting their desire for something and someone new – and a new vision which Mr. Landon could never deliver.. nor any of his chosen successors. His demands to the council should be viewed for what they are – more arrogance and self preservation.
3. Landon has already been at the helm for far too long. If I came in as the City Manager the first request I would make before being hired is to term my contract and employ with the City to a maximum of no more than 8 years. It is abundantly clear that any leader and vision, even if healthy and successful, has a level of diminishing returns after 8 years. I fully believe in term limits even for a management position and if my opinion is not admissible as evidence, please allow the reign of Landon and the current County Administration as the case-in-point.
4. A line of succession as Mr. Landon desires – is as ruinous to healthy government as anything I can think of, particularly in a work environment where considerable change is needed. No City in this nation should be ruled by quasi-emperors. If the Council feels as if Landon has so much control over them currently, THAT alone should be the spark for the powder keg.
5. Palm Coast’s public opinion of the current management has on this forum and others been near-rebellious. Their tolerance was also clearly waning as the last election has proven that they demand radical reform. In truth, it seems politically it is the only issue that both sides of the political spectrum can agree on! If that is not telling enough, perhaps then only a referendum to oust Landon could ever prove beyond any doubt.
I will get off my soap box now, but I sincerely hope that Palm Coast Council members are listening. Even if I’m not the right person for the job, I can assure you that given the opportunity – many highly qualified and able men and women will put their names forward.
Palm Coast deserves that opportunity.
We were not impressed with him at the meeting regarding the concerns of citizens regarding the proposed bike/walking path behind our home. We of course are against it. For the life of me, cannot justify all the expensive costs of Palm Coast for so many trees and shrubs, etc. also a brand new City Hall building are a priority over sidewalks, streetlights and the general safety of the population? The sidewalks and lighting on Old Kings Road are an afterthought and behind these unnecessary purchases. The pathway will be putting our children in danger. It was just a quick fix for them to keep the public from being upset. Well, it’s not a good fix, we need the sidewalks and the lighting. Your priorities are screwed up!
Bill harvey says
If you want the same circus that goes on in City Hall but with a different clown then you put Beau ( and believe me he is another Clown)in charge if not they should look outside of the city for a new manager
HAPPY PALM COASTER says
This town I enjoy is better now than it was 10 years ago. I believe it is better now then when Mr Kelton was here. Talk about a man that tried to rule with an iron fist and would mainly only allow things to be done his way. People complained about him and were happy to see him go. Mr Landon came in here to straighten out what the council and the citizens did not like.
When all was good, why were you all not making positive comments ? Why were you not at the council meetings helping with suggestions and volunteering your time to help ?
Mr Landon does a decent job. The city council has the obligation to make things good for the citizens. If the citizens are not happy, then be there to say something to their city council. It is always easier for lazy people to complain after the fact. Why are more of you not blaming the city council since they have the final say if they are doing their job the run the city.
We put our trust in them is why we vote for them to do the right thing. We have flushed the council for new views. Unfortunately, if Mr Landon leaves, they better do a darn good job hiring a new manager. Good luck finding one that everybody will accept and never complain about……….
You complain about is salary. Have you compared his job to private sector jobs of the same position ? That many employees and responsibilities. We do not hear you complain about CEO’s of companies making millions of dollars. When you are a public entity everyone sees the money.
I could go on and on. Simply stated people. Be happy with life. If you do not like all in your life you make changes. We are about to make a change either soon or in 2 years.
Contact your council person. Help them do a good job. They try to make decisions for the good of the people.
Jack Howell says
It must be Christmas in July! When I read Pierre’s article, I felt like a kid opening a Christmas present on Christmas morning! You made my day.
I believe it was Will Rogers who stated that “He never met a man he didn’t like” I’m sure Mr. Rogers would amend that statement had he met Jim Landon. In the years that Jim Landon has been the city manager he has proven himself to be arrogant, selfish and a bully. For the life of me, I can’t understand why it has taken the city council to grow “a set” and stand up for what is right. Getting rid of Landon is the right thing. Don’t let that guy hold you (city council members) hostage by trying to blackmail the council with the severance pay issue. The council needs to find a lawyer that is capable of finding the loopholes, in contract law and show the council how to deal with this golden parachute the Nett’s crew gave Landon. Landon needs to go now! He has long outlived his usefulness by nine years. My advice for our city council members is that you need to be as sly and cunning as Landon if you want to win this issue.
E man says
I agree with everything at Jack Howell said!
Finally, NEXT !, Craig Coffey
Landon says he wants to stay 2 more years so he can see his granddaughter graduate. He can still be fired and live in Palm Coast for as long as he wants, so the 2 years doesn’t “cut any ice”
No thanks says
Pay the severance. Don’t spend money attacking the ironclad severance. Start a nationwide search for a suitable replacement at a fair compensation and limit the number of severance $ and allowable vacation rollover days.
Pull the scab off now and move on. However PC residents feel about his tenure is all moot now that he has checked out. Move Forward!
Landon wants his Economic Development Manager to succeed him? just what economic development has the city seen in the last ten years? We left Palm coast after 23 years there, it has gotten much worse over the last 5-7 years. No offense but as a city PC is going down the crapper, the area has become littered and some of the people are undesirable. We were there last month to visit friends and that Racetrack gas station was really creepy at 10-pm. The same story looms over PC and Flagler, no industry to support the job market, therefore you have a lower grade of people who move in, I know it sounds offensive, but it is the truth.
If I was the Palm Coast City Council when it comes to replece Landon, I would not hire either anyone with ties to the Flagler County Government currently or in the past.
I will never forget that we had to incorporate because under the county government as an unincorporated districtbefore 1999 and after ITT left us, the county was not providing us for the services we were paying them in our taxes even when we were for this county the tax revenue 800 lbs gorilla!
Pierre, thank you for pulling the plug on Palm Coast’s swamp. A lot more drainage is in order.
Keep up the good work.
Landon should have been gone long ago, and shortly after the 2016 elections at a minimum! If the laws have changed it is my suggestion to update city policy immediately and then show him the door. A good lawyer (not Reischmann) needs to be contacted to see what it the best way to show Landon the door with as little financial gain as possible. Unfortunately the city council members have all been played for a fool and because the private meetings were made known to the public (and city council members) on this site the sunshine law may very well have been violated. It does not have to be an unintentional violation to be a violation. The First Amendment Foundation or the State Attorney would be best to ask these questions; the State Attorney has an obligation to prosecute sunshine law violations. It is crazy that we even pay a city manager when the elected city mayor should be doing what the manager does. Here in Palm Coast our city mayor is just another council member. Now that we have a city mayor who claims she has been raped and is scared for life, she needs to resign and work on restoring her mental state and allow us citizens to have a representative who is whole and mentally competent to represent us.
Fire him, pay the him the severance and tell him, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Just Wondering says
Is the meeting between the author and each council member then publishing the results of said meetings a type of violation of the sunshine law? If not awesome job Pierre and members of our council on finding a way to communicate about this situation and getting an idea of what each other’s desires are so that as Lou said the swamp can be drained or at least started.
Let no one forget that our former mayor, Jon Netts, tirelessly, continuously and enthusiastically over years subserviently promoted and enabled this self-serving, conniving, money grabbing and destructive manipulator.
Palm Coast is a markedly poorer place due to both of them.
Arlene Monahan-Cheyne says
Trailer Park Nation! says
Time to part ways with the last of the good ole red light camera posse!
John Boy says
When a new City Manager is hired the salary of the position needs to be adjusted “DOWNWARD”. There is no rational reason, justification or explaination of why the City Manager of Palm Coast, Florida should have a salary and benefit package that exceeds those of City Managers in Cities such as Los Angels, Miami, Jacksonville.
Brace yourselves folks if you think the council is going to hire someone for significantly less pay than what Landon makes. That pay is the standard now and the next hire is going to want close to, if not more than, what Landon makes. And just having recently given him a pay raise the council is OK with that pay scale.
Giulio Lancia says
I would love to see vote of confidence from the city Council to see what they think
Aside from the sensationalized story, let’s see if I’ve got this right. The City Manager is under contract, a contract negotiated with him by the Palm Coast City Council including his pay and benefits. If any Council Member disagrees with the terms of the current contract, they have the option to either renegotiate the current contract or vote to terminate the contract. The article talks about “Dismissing His Secretive “Succession’ Ploy – both the City Manager and Palm Coast City Council know that only the Council can hire or fire the City Manager. Having a recommendation on who might be qualified to fill this position is a far cry from establishing a “succession” plan. To all those including members of the City Council who either want to terminate Mr. Landon now or not allow him to leave at a time agreeable to both parties, be careful what you wish for for the result may be far different than you had hoped. I worked in the City of Palm Coast for 4 years as an employee of the University of Central Florida while managing the Small Business Development Center and the Palm Coast BAC. I know what Mr. Landon did to support small business development, to championing efforts to develop new initiatives such as Women in Business, Business Outreach (a program designed to support minority owned businesses), Hire a Hero (an effort attempting to bring together business owners and veterans), The BAC To Business Expo (an annual education event attracting 225 attendees), and most importantly, an initiative which brought the BAC into Flagler Schools to work with ‘at risk’ students in the high school, and work with business students on business planning or marketing. Because of the relationship between the SBDC and the City of Palm Coast, I was able to work with businesses that had problems with City Codes to help them get compliant, or to express business concerns directly to the Building Department – we did not always agree yet I know everyone listened. Dialogue works! So don’t count me as one who would ever say that the City Manager Landon doesn’t have new ideas or a vision for a better community. If you’re going to evaluate the City Manager, then ask yourself if the City is financial sound – has the City population and services increased and how has that growth been managed – and has the Palm Coast economy grown and more people working.
Robert Lewis says
A new vision begins with a new search. Just as the board had done years ago, it is time to do a search of professionals. A city manager should not be the news, their job is to facilitate the work of the city. Much admiration is due to Larry Newsome in Flagler Beach, who does a magnificent job. It is about the vision and work they do, not the news they create.
Good riddance,, I agree totally with Jack Howells post!!
It seems not too many residents will miss Mr Landon. All things are possible without him. He still needs to explain the losses at the tennis center and Palm Harbor GC. Perhaps, those at a higher level will look into those chronic losses? This is a subjective opinion of the man; I have met with governors, state representatives, congressmen and the CEOs of hospitals and insurance companies and none of them had the imperious and haughty demeanor of Jim.
Jim Sheehan says
Can’t happen soon enough! Useless and overpaid!
Netts was worthless – just a landon lackie
Mayor Holland has never held s job before politics and is not qualified to be mayor/manager. We don’t need a manager, we have council members and department heads and it’s time for them to work and serve. Landon for too long has kept them in the dark. It’s sad it has taken Landon to initiate this ordeal…..council members and the mayor should have brought it up after the last election if they really gave a shit. I call it asleep at the wheel…..disaster crash.
Just give him a raise and things will be fine.
Just the truth says
Who is Landon to think he can pick his replacement.
Get rid of him asap, and thank God Netts his side kick is finally gone, they drained the swamp long enough.
The people speak when is the lazt time you’ve seen 80 responses
Should have been fired long time ago!!!!!
Pierre Tristam says
There’s been a little misinformed stone-throwing about the legality of this article under Florida’s Sunshine law. It’s worth setting the record straight. Reporters can interview elected officials all they please and even report on how they’ll vote on any issue–or on whatever position they take–if the officials are inclined to tell them. Reporters may even report conversations from one council member to another if they want to in the course of interviews (we’re not in North Korea), and even report how council members are inclined to vote, all through interviews before publication. The law has no say, either pre-publication or post-publication. In other words, the Sunshine law has no say on how reporters do their work. The Sunshine law–and I’m quoting from an Attorney General’s opinion citing the law itself here “applies only when two or more members of a public board deal with some matter on which foreseeable official action will be taken.” Reporters are not, needless to say, members of those boards. The only time Sunshine is violated is when either an elected official or an elected board covered by Sunshine purposefully designates a reporter to be a conduit of information or a liaison. At that point, the elected official doing that is in violation (but again, not the reporter). Needless to say, none of that took place here: no council member initiated any of these interviews, let alone “designated” me as their conduit, knowing better. reporters are free to interview at will, with no limits on what questions they pose or what information they convey from one council member to another. That said, and as the article makes clear (illiterate trolls notwithstanding) in this particular case I purposefully did not carry over one council member’s position to another in interviews in any way–not because it would have been illegal: it’s not. But because I wanted a more honest understanding of each council member’s positions (as would readers) until the interviews and the article were done, so the interviews weren’t skewed by information they did not yet know of their fellow council members’ positions. That’s how we found out to what extent they had trepidation about taking this or that position–because they did not know how their fellow council members would vote. Now they know. Now we know. The frothy ignorance of a couple of errant readers, of course, can’t be helped. But citing the reigning AG opinion on the matter to settle it can.
Ben Hogarth says
Pierre – I would like to add a couple of points, but otherwise this is an accurate reflection of general practice and applicable law “until a court says otherwise.”
Meaning the law is still ambiguous enough to have some room left for interpretation. I agree personally with the AG opinion that unless you were acting on behalf of a public official in order to skirt the sunshine laws, you still have full “freedom of the press.”
Similarly, if a Commissioner/Council member wants to state their opinion or intentions to the public/press befor a meeting… this constitutes both an act of freedom of speech, and freedom of the press without violating sunshine rules. Of course this rule apples to legislative actions by the elected body – any quasi-judicial proceedings require the voting members to recuse themselves in situations where they cannot remain a neutral and “open minded” party to the case.
A Sunshine Law violation would occur however, if board members while not in a public meeting, made their opinions or voting intentions to one another on an issue to come before the elected body.
I hope this helps to further clarify the issue as is generally accepted today.
Big fish in a little pond. It’s like the Napoleon Short-man complex of politics.
Pierre, You have missed it buddy. You are free to report, but when elected officials choose to speak knowing you are going to report and share information before it is made public it is not legal. When elected officials do this, they are using you to be a conduit between them and other council members. Now, because each has spoken to you, and you have reported, all council members know how the others feel and what their expected actions will be before they ever taken action on the matter. If the elected officials choose to speak with you after they have taken a public action that is perfectly legal and expected. At no time, should a public official speak of what they will do before they do it….not even to a reporter. How about having the mayor or council members submit a formal opinion request on this specific matter and then let us know what the conclusion is? You wrote your response from a reporters view, not from the elected officials perspective. No matter what you say, the information of what the council members have said would never have been shared between the council members and the mayor before they take an official action on the matter had you not been a conduit.
Pierre Tristam says
Thank you, but you are as misinformed about the law as you are about that “buddy” part.