There was something of Captain Renaud in Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon today.
Landon, who is due to retire by next year if the council doesn’t get rid of him first, has just awarded his loyal second an extraordinary $15,000 raise without informing the council about it. Today, he said he was “offended” that a council member would suggest that he would hand out raises to his staff on his way out the door.
Landon and the council member, Heidi Shipley, sniped over the matter at the end of a council workshop this morning as other council members sat mostly silent, with one of them only vaguely suggesting how the problem might be avoided in future, but without clear resolution. But Shipley was not alone in finding that Landon had “misrepresented” the raise in question to the council, a word Council member Nick Klufas used to describe how Landon spoke of it—or, in fact, did not speak of the raise itself—when he announced the appointment of an assistant city manager last week.
Mayor Milissa Holland after the announcement said she had not seen it coming, either, though today she remained mostly silent on the issue.
The issue arose from Landon’s misrepresentation of the appointment of Beau Falgout, which Landon described at a council meeting last week, and in a release his office issued, as the result of suggestions by the council and the facilitator hired for the charter review exercise the council went through last year. The council and the charter facilitator had suggested no such thing. The council was interested in having a designee who’d act as the manager in Landon’s absence.
Landon since last year had been trying to convince the council that Falgout, one of Landon’s most servile and toadying lieutenants, should succeed him as manager, a proposal all council members privately said they opposed.
At a January workshop, Landon steered the conversation to his ends—appointing an assistant city manager, and in effect restoring a position he’d eliminated in 2009. But at no point he spoke of awarding a raise. To the contrary: he repeatedly described the appointment as a formality that would change little. FlaglerLive disclosed last week that the appointment carried a $15,200 raise, resulting in a $110,000 salary for Falgout, not including benefits.
“I would like to make some kind of motion that nobody gets a raise without it coming through us,” Shipley said today, other than for employees’ “usual raises, only because at a time where Mr. Landon is on his way out, making a raise for somebody—not that you would—but he could give everybody a raise. Just so that we don’t seem like we’re taking taxpayer dollars for granted, just to put some kind of hold on that so that they know we’re aware of it and we’re handling it.”
Holland reminded Shipley that they were at a workshop, where motions and votes are not taken, but where issues are discussed. Holland proposed to Shipley that she could place the matter on a coming meeting’s agenda. Shipley wanted to discuss the matter at the workshop.
“I would love to discuss it now because that’s extremely offensive,” Landon said, “to suggest that I would on my way out give everybody a huge raise—”
Shipley cut him off. “It’s still something that has to be addressed,” she said. “I mean, I can’t worry about offending people when it comes to what I’m supposed to do for the residents of Palm Coast.”
“We look at salaries all the time to make sure that we’re competitive,” Landon said. He never mentioned Falgout by name—no one did—but in yet another one of Landon’s trademark mischaracterizations of discussion items, he placed the raise being discussed in the context of routine “annual adjustments to the pay plan” and the merit system, which he called “automatic.”
Not exactly: the council at budget time approves or rejects the size of employee raises, which in 2016 averaged $700. Only the top administrative staff may be handled differently, though Landon himself in the past, when lobbying for his own raise, claimed he was seeking nothing more than what his employees were getting.
Today he said that positions where “people leave on a regular basis” may command more pay “to make sure we’re competitive, and make adjustments based on salary surveys and based on our pay plan, that’s my job, we take it very serious.” (There was never an implication that Falgout was leaving.) “So for you all to then say you want to just put a hold on all wages, evaluations, to stop pay raises period–”
Shipley cut him off again. “No, I’m not saying to stop pay raises, just for it to come through us.”
“Ma’am, may I speak without being interrupted?” Landon said.
“You’ve interrupted me plenty of times in the last three years,” Shipley replied. “I’m just saying that what I’m looking for isn’t for all raises to be stopped. Obviously I wouldn’t say that. But it should be coming through us if it’s something like $1,000 a month.” (In Falgout’s case, it’s $1,267 a month.)
Council member Nobile felt “uncomfortable” about making a decision about somebody’s raise, but he said there should be “a little report of raises, no names,” provided the council and that indicates raises on a given week, “so if something flagrant pops up,” the council can be informed. Landon provides a “week in review” report to the council every week, but it’s mostly public relations materials boasting about one thing or another. It does not include matters of substance, let alone information about employee raises.
Still, Landon said, referring to wages, “it’s a constant thing.”
“I also felt surprised,” Council member Nick Klufas said of the Falgout matter, again without naming him. “I was taken aback a little bit and felt misrepresented from the way Mr. Landon represented it at the last council meeting.”
But the council left it at that.
Linda Johnsen says
Corruption of course. Many live on less than 15 thousand a year with no benefits.
Ken Dodge says
Kudos to courageous Heidi Shipley, the ‘Nikki Haley’ of the PC City Council.
For the last 5 or 6 years lt’s been a free cash spending spree.What the hell it’s only taxpayer money.Counsel awarded Landon a big raise and 3 months later wanted to fire him.They all are in kahoots with each other.
Thank you Council Lady Mrs Heidi Shipley for at least trying to stand up for the residents taxpayers and against the non sense of a “shockingly offended” manager that has been interrupting you since you were elected but he does not want the same treatment.
Of course he may try to give millions in raises before leaving if he “decides to do it” no doubt about it. Jeeze a $15,000 raise in a small city were the average income in $40,000 a year, if so? And he doesn’t want to also raise some eyebrows becomes may get offended? Hello?
Definitely we need to elect more people like Heidi Shipley in our Palm Coast Council.
…Again…’…Here she comes to save the Day…’.
Honorable Heidi Shipley had my vote and now definately will receive it again . Thank You.
Mary Lynn Crosby says
If this council doesn’t think the residents aren’t watching, think again. The mayor needs to immediately reverse these huge raises. Raises should be based on the cost of living. Get Landon out now before he gives away the “farm”.
Exactly how much more do we need to get rid of Landon. He should have been fired long ago.
Heading North says
The council members are so afraid of Landon it’s absolutely pathetic!
They sit silently and take whatever he dishes out, and bury their heads in the sand. Unfortunately mayor Holland is no exception either.
I sincerely hope the citizens of Palm Coast wake up soon and get rid of then entire bunch and try and start fresh, with some forward thinking council members instead of the spineless ones they have now.
Palm Coast would certainly be better off!
It’s the City Manager’s job to give raises and promotions. The City Council’s job is to set policy and establish a budget. If the Council doesn’t like the day to day decisions of it’s manager, then they need to fix that by getting a manager they trust. The last thing this City needs is a Council trying to micromanage day to day activities, including raises.
Percy's mother says
I was thinking about it this morning . . .
This is the epitome of an abusive relationship; however, with this scenario, its abusive in the form of the city manager abusing the city council and the citizens of Palm Coast.
Unfortunately, the city council doesn’t realize it’s in an abusive relationship and so keeps coming back for more abuse; hence, the typical serial abusive situation with the victim (s) thinking it will get better “only if. . . “
I am sure Mr. Landon is offended by these negative comments.
Fire the manager now,getting rich off tax payers, who mostly earn 15,000 a year or less to live on
The entire lot needs to be fired!
Why do we have a mayor? Obviosly just a figure head. City manager appears to be running the show right down the political toilet and most of the council are willing participants.
Do you know how many people are fired in the military for a “loss of confidence”?
Just the truth says
LANDON YOU CAN BE OFFENDED ALL YOU WANT, WE THE PC TAXPAYERS ARE OFFENDED THAT THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL HAVENT GOTTEN RID OF YOU YET.
Steve Vanne says
Why can’t we boot this idiot out of office…
Pat Patterson says
Karen, you have said it best. The whole lot of them need to go. Heidi has finally started to put forth an effort to do better; but, then she fizzled. Melissa is a complete embarrassment as a Mayor.
John Brady says
Please,please, please Ms. Shipley at the next Council meeting make a motion to fire Landon. Let the taxpayer see how your feckless your colleagues are.
Robert Lewis says
Councilwoman Shipley found her voice; conveniently right before an election. Shame on her for this show she put on. Where was she the last 3 years? Just sitting back and doing nothing. Except vote for a pay raise and demand benefits.
John dolan esq. says
Landon you are a disgrace.
Heidi shipley says
My voice has been here right along. Maybe not newsworthy that I fought for TNR and got it passed, that I wanted Holland Park better and safer, that I didn’t want Kemper to get another shot at our Golf Course, that I wanted our lighting program to start up again, that I didn’t want the unwanted FPL path and once they voted it in I started the request for lights for safety, for citizens academy to be online for those who cannot make it to our city offices, and of course hoping to speed up the process of hiring a new city manager. Those are a few I’ve been vocal on.
Most things are done as a team and I assure you my voice has been heard on all things big and small. My VOICE probably hurt me more than it helped me but I was doing my job.
Peter a cerreta says
From the mayor on down, it seems politics provokes silence even Nobile isn’t heard. Landon has you where he wants you. You, are silent, acting like puppets really, dancing in the shadows while Landon leads the music. Why?
He can’t be out of here soon enough.
That's The Facts Jack says
Keep speaking out Ms. Heidi Shipley and do not allow the Mayor or others intimidate you. You are bringing up many issues that are concern for residents who have moved here from the big cities looking for a better quality of life.
100 years ago they would have tared and feathered him and rode him out of town for good.
Nancy N. says
How did we get to the point that this council is so dysfunctional that it is viewed as an act of bravery to speak up against someone who is supposed to be THEIR employee?
Landon must go. NOW. There is no excuse for the fact that the council has not summarily dismissed him. Not a single one of the current council members will be getting my vote for re-election because of the way they have just let Landon run right over them and do whatever the hell he wants, council and voters be damned. Not sure why we even have a council or elections anymore. Landon’s got his own little dictatorship going in Palm Coast.
Shipley is running unopposed at this time so I guess whatever she does or doesn’t say or do is of no consequence, as she could retain her seat by default. No contest in district 2 race, too bad. Same thing with district 4.
Get um hiedi ,because the other puppets wont you have more backing then you know ,
Fernando Melendez says
Let’s be clear on one thing here today, there was no mischaracterizations today coming from Mrs Heidi Shipley when she said that nobody gets a raise without it coming through us,” ( the city council ) As far as I’m concerned, she’s the only one that directly addressed Mr Landon. And the fact she wanted to discuss the matter at the workshop, speaks volume to me compared to the others that were just sitting around silencioso. By the way tulip running unopposed usually means that her constituents in her District are satisfied with the job she’s doing. By the way and not in her District.
K. Schure says
I can’t understand why the city manager is getting paid more than the governor. Get rid of him and his so called new assistant. Who gets $15000.00 raises.
Robert Lewis says
The Shipley voice has been for raising her own pay.
“It was City Councilwoman Heidi Shipley who raised the issue of council member pay at the workshop, suggesting the city offer its health insurance plans to council members and consider raising council members’ pay annually to keep pace with cost-of-living changes. “I know it’s a touchy subject, because we would have be the ones to do that,” she said. She asked what the council would have to do to provide annual cost-of-living adjustments for council members”
Honorable Heidi Shipley – when we in Palm Coasts’ Levitt and I.T.T. historic ‘ Showcase Golf Course Neighborhood’ had / have an issue we contact her and she tries to ameliorate the issue as best as a single City Council Member can.
She had my vote and will have it again.
granny of 4 says
If you were working a job and everyone was unhappy with your performance and wanted to get rid of you would you be allowed to tell them when you are planning to leave, demand a raise, give a big raise to one of your friends? Hell no!!! If your boss wanted to get rid of you he/she would just fire you!! Landon has wasted so much of “our money” it is time for him to go–like 3 years ago!!!!!
Correct Fernando…We need more like Heidi Shipley and is great that she runs unopposed. Who is going to opposed the only voice of the residents in these meetings? What we need is to replace the others in this council so in 2019 our taxes will be spent repairing or replacing our obsolete infrastructure other than expansion expansion to benefit new developers plans. Now they are geared to Colbert and Robert Roads given the new developers commercial plans in that area. Meanwhile Palm Coast North of Palm Coast Parkway lacks total maintenance attention from the manager when it comes to public works, landscape and utility repairs and improvement to resolve blight and hazards.
Also if we want change of the current status we may think about start attending these city council meetings and let them know what we need in our 3 minutes at least.
Ben Hogarth says
Ms. Shipley, while I’m sure residents believe you are fighting for their best interests, I would pose the question do you feel you are really fighting? The comments I have seen come from this commission through the years are often half-hearted and do not illustrate a commitment to solving problems, but rather drawing attention to them. Not solving problems is being part of the problem – not the solution. Palm Coast fir the better part of ten years has been the laughing stock of Florida and arguably – the nation. A once prospering commmunity with a growth rate unparalleled in the nation, it has now slipped into stagnation and decadence. Yet, a county just north (Saint Johns) that was once in stagnation, is now among the fastest growing and prospering communities in the nation. Why I’m sure many would ask, could this be?
It’s simple. Administration. In Flagler Coumty, you have two warring administrators who would rather goose step their commmunities into misery by funding money pit parks rather than investing in economic development. And by the way – tourism is NOT true economic development, but rather a small piece to a rather complex economic puzzle. People need high quality jobs and there are plenty of successful models out there of communities dramatically changing their fortunes. Palm Coast and Flagler as a whole are not one of them!
But go ahead and talk about how hard this a commission has fought for the people’s interests. I suppose placating the masses could last a bit longer – just long enough for Landon to pull the ripcord on his golden parachute. After all, isnt he truly the only one calling the shots?
just me says
Well thats FINE IM “offended” that this little town pays a city manager as much as he gets. Along with what in this County that is a LOW paying place to live pays its other “top” people in the City of PC and the County.
Fernando Melendez says
I’m just saying that, when and if a city council is doing the job it’s supposed to be doing, and reflecting each and everyone of their constituents values with their votes and advocating, why not propose a raise. Council should vote on a proposed legislation that has probably been “long overdue.” As a proud new resident of Palm Coast, I like the involvement I see, I also like the comments and valid points that everybody makes. This makes for great changes in the future and great new leaderships can come out of it. Attending the meetings more often and getting involved is the key.
Heidi Shipley says
@ Ben I have no answers for how to bring high paying jobs into the area. We have people who are assigned to that task and I never promised that to be my forte. I hoped when elected to make the city more business friendly which I feel it is. We also attempted hiring a company with proven experience in bringing companies in or at least identifying good matches but that failed.
I can’t answer to why we fall behind other counties. I would be open to helping any big company that wanted to come here. I feel the business picks the location not us picking them. We can only make it as welcoming and business and family friendly as we can. Again, I never promised to have the answers for bringing in big business.
For if I feel I’m fighting , I would have to say no. It’s a power struggle that comes with every job this one just has different dynamics. All I ask is that we do what the residents want in a timely fashion and that we don’t get hit with surprises. Despite what it may seem I think all council members bring something special to the table. Each one has their own strengths that I think you will see in our next years budget plan.
Vincent A. Liguori says
Heidi-Keep up the attack, you are winning. As for those who give profuse and inaccurate comments: this is what you get when citizens”don’t vote.. I have made many presentations before the council, the silence during public participation is pronounced.
HEIDI FOR PRESIDENT!!! :)
President Trump would say “you’re fired”.
Ben Hogarth says
I appreciate the dialogue Ms. Shipley, but the Council needs to do more because I believe it has lost the luster and support of the community. To many, the plague of crime and fatal traffic incidents are symptomatic of a greater issue and one that was years in the making.
For those of us who remember Palm Coast from the early 2000s, it is hard to imagine how the community devolved so far from where it was pre recession. If the Council is unsure of direction, then perhaps rather than concerning yourself with a Charter review and rather looking at a wider strategic vision would be far more beneficial as a municipality. But again, don’t do it just to check it off your list – believe in it and own it. Don’t allow Landon or any other future administrator to govern and dictate without checks and balances.
There are good administrators out there who have more creative solutions and can provide a new vision for the City with the guidance of the Council. But in the case of Landon – you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. The time to move on is yesterday and Palm Coast is a year late, and a lot of tax dollars short. Everyday the Council gives to Landon is another day stolen from the taxpayers of the City for a new future.
I think that needs to hit home for your colleagues on the Dais.
Why is 1 person designated to reward pay raises without the Mayor’s & city council approval! Everywhere I’ve worked (Army, federal & county government) my raises/promotions had to go through various channel. Like someone else stated what’s the sense of having a mayor if the city manager runs the show, and the mayor has no input or authorization to retract something done without the mayor’s knowledge. No one person should be given so much power as Mr. Landon has been given.
“But the council left it at that.” Exactly what I would expect from this lame city council, afraid of their own shadow. Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon has the only set of balls in this city, he does what he wants and the City Council does nothing.
Chris A Pickett says
PErhaps money would have been better spent repairing the street on Pritchard Dr where the town put a big steel plate cause the road is failing and sinking in. It has been like that since the hurricane. I guess that is how Landon “fixes: stuff.
Bill harvey says
Heidi , the sheriff department needs to do more traffic enforcement on old kings road north , speeders are constantly speeding especially in the 50mph zone I don’t understand , they don’t do accidents with personal injuries they do not do fatality accidents, the state police does that , they do not issue any parking summonses in the shopping districts COP takes care of that they do not issue any tickets for swale parking at night, Code eenforcement takes care of that . They have delegated a lot of their basic law enforcement duties away . It’s time for a city police agency