Armando Martinez alleged that Bunnell ended his contract in 2013 because it didn’t want a Hispanic individual in that position. He has until mid-June to file a lawsuit against the city.
Armando Martinez charges that when Bunnell Commissioner Elbert Tucker spoke of not wanting another manager from Miami, he was discriminating against Martinez’s Cuban heritage. Tucker says he was merely opposing hiring another big-city manager.
The Bunnell City Commission in a tension-filled, four=-hour meeting Monday voted 3-2 to eliminate code enforcement and the humane society, among a list of cuts, but delay eliminating the police and grants department for two weeks, giving department heads time to make their case for survival.
In an unexpected and significant reversal of fortune for an incumbent candidate for the Bunnell City Commission election set for March 4, Jenny Crain-Brady has not qualified for the seat she had gathered petitions to run for. Brady failed to pay the $96 state assessment fee required of all candidates, whether they have the necessary number of petitions or not.
The City Commission late Monday evening voted 3-2 to hire Lawrence J. Williams as its next city manager. It was the culmination of six months of change and turmoil in Bunnell government, ending the tenure of Armando Martinez.
The 75,000 to $80,000 position to replace Armando Martinez was advertised barely two weeks, but it’s drawn 36 applicants from 26 states and the District of Columbia, with the balance—47 applicants—from Florida, a dozen of them from Flagler County.
Three Bunnell city commissioners would not give Manager Armando Martinez more than $80,000 a year. He would not accept less than $97,500. The difference was only one of the cleavers that produced another ugly, late-night wrangle on the commission, featuring offensive language and a commissioner walking out.
Both Flagler Sheriff Jim Manfre and Bunnell Manager Armando Martinez had heard the rumor that Martinez was preparing to run against Manfre, a friend, for sheriff come 2016. After a meeting with Manfre Wednesday, Martinez categorically said that will not happen.
On a 3-2 vote, the commission agreed to negotiate a new contract for the manager it fired six weeks ago as Baxley’s move to appoint an interim fell flat and Mayor Robinson took advantage of an opening that Baxley himself had given here.
Bunnell Finance Director Cynthia Bertha–Cissy to friends and colleagues–blamed the new majority of the Bunnell City Commission for undoing City Manager Armando Martinez’s “hard work” as she explained her resignation. She is the third high-ranking administrator to either resign or be fired since that new majority took hold.