Jack Howell, the Palm Coast City Council’s blunt and crusty voice, resigned today after less than two years in his District 2 Seat, saying a recurrence of cancer requires his full attention and less stress. He dismissed claims that his resignation was related to other issues such as internal wranglings that have occupied the administration and the council over the last few months.
Howell handed in his resignation through a brief letter he gave City Manager Matt Morton this morning at City Hall.
“I had radiation treatment last summer, and so I’ve got some issues, I don’t need any stress. As you well know, stress is not good with cancer,” Howell said this evening. “I have to deal with it, I’m optimistic, but at my age, 77, these are the things that happen. Some of this is the effects of Agent Orange.” Howell is a decorated Vietnam veteran. Agent Orange was a highly toxic defoliant the U.S. military dumped on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos between 1961 and 1971. It causes cancer, birth defects, psychological and neurological problems.
“Everything that’s happening to me is related to Agent Orange, and as a former commander of the Purple Heart there, I had to close the chapter because most of my members were dying of Agent Orange issues,” most of them of cancer, Howell said. “This is the time in our lives when this stuff really starts to percolate, so I just don’t need the stress right now of what’s going on. That’s why I decided to hang it up. When I got the news, I said OK.”
Howell said his prognosis was “favorable, but I’ve got to get on it. If I ignore it, then it ain’t good, so I’m not ignoring it.”
Howell’s resignation, falling several months short of the two-year mark of his term, means that the council must appoint a replacement within 30 days, pending an election held for that seat in the next election. The city charter reads: “If, for any reason other than recall, a vacancy occurs in the office of any Council seat within the first two years of a term, the office shall be filled by appointment within 30 days following the occurrence of such vacancy by majority vote of the remaining Council members. Such appointments shall last until the next regularly scheduled election, at which time the seat shall be declared open and an election held for the remaining two years of the original term, thus continuing the original staggering of district seats. ”
That places the city in the position of having to hold a special election in conjunction with the regular election scheduled for August and November, with barely a few weeks left before the August 18 primary. The council is likely to forego an appointment, given the closeness of the election and precedent.
That would mean four seats will be up this year, with at least two new council members joining the panel: Bob Cuff has opted not to run again for his seat.
Howell has been the voice most skeptical or questioning of Mayor Milissa Holland as her job with Coastal Cloud, the Hammock tech company, and Coastal Cloud’s connection to the city through non-paying work has raised recurring questions and internal turmoil. Asked if his resignation had anything to do with that, Howell said: “No, look, I can’t solve that mystery. People are going to have their opinions. I’ve been a critic of what’s going on there, I don’t feel comfortable, but you know, I’ll let whatever happens happen.”
Howell chairs the board of Teens-in-flight, the non-profit that provides flying lessons to children of parents who have died or been injured in recent wars, or are the children of first responders. Howell said his executive director will keep the operation going, and he will remain involved. “I’m going to be back to flying status, that’s my goal. I want to fly the new airplane we got,” Howell said.
Nanci Whitley says
Jack we will miss you and your needed voice. But you must take care of yourself. Glad you are doing what you need to do.
Sorry to hear of your health issues. You will be greatly missed,, I am sorry to see you resign.
Best of luck to you Mr. Howell!
Heidi Shipley says
It’s sad to hear Jack is leaving after almost two years, but his health is more important.
May he fight this thing head on and be with us for years to come.
Christopher Lemke says
Jack is such a stand tall guy. I can see how he has problems with the current administration’s shenanigans. I think that we’ll be replacing more than Jack in the near future. Best wishes Jack.
Martin Matthews says
Great man and lots of respect I wish you the best Sir and Thoughts and Prayers you got this 🙏🏻
WILLIAM NELSON says
Jack Howell: One of a “select few” that have ever responded to a citizens concerns, is going to be a tremendous loss to the people of Palm Coast. Be safe and well Jack. I, for one, will miss you.
Mike Cocchiola says
Jack Howell served Palm Coast honorably as you would expect of a Marine. I hope Palm Coast elects another honorable citizen to his council seat.
The best way to honor Jack is to elect a candidate who speaks for the people, not for special interests. And one who will not bring their culture wars to our city’s leadership team.
I know Jack’s many fans and supporters will all get behind a good, honest and ethical candidate.
E. Hoffa says
Thank you for your hard working serving the people of Palm Coast! As a Veteran of the US Navy Submarine Force, I thank you for Supporting the USS Liberty Memorial and Standing Up Against the Very small Anti-Veteran Groups! The SSN Submarines have replaced the USS Liberty type ships for special operations but they face the same possible dangers! Just Read:
“Blind Man’s Bluff!, “Hunt for Red October”, and “Red Tide Rising”!
John R Brady says
I hope Jack stays well. I love that guy
Lance Carroll says
Strength to you Jack Howell….may the currents flow in favor of your health and well being.
Good luck God Bless We appreciate your Service.
Thank You for your service, and hope you have a speedy recovery.
Pete Celestino says
Wishing you the best my friend.
Dennis C Rathsam says
Sorry to see you go Jack, your voice of reason will be missed. I hope everyone in our city says a prayer for this patriot!!!!
Mr. Howell thank you for serving our community for the past 2 years. I always respected your upfront honesty and admired how much you cared about our community.
You will be missed for sure, my thoughts are with you.
Sims Jones says
I want to say thank you for your service. I was looking forward to working with you when I won the election. I will be Praying for you and I know God will bring you through. Be Blessed.
Celia M Pugliese says
Thank you Jack for your services you were “Our Councilman by the People and for the People” You will be missed for sure as the future is unknown for some of our requested issues still to be resolved preserving our quality of life in Palm Coast. Keep up your brave fight against your illness and defeat it, so we can enjoy your presence for years to come.
Concerned Citizen says
From a former Airman to a Marine.
Mr. Howell I thank you for your life of service. Both military and civilian. You have done an awesome job and I have a lot of respect for you. We are thinking of you while you are dealing with your health issues. If there is anything WE can do for YOU let us know.