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Two added top canton managers additionally accept accustomed apprehension they will leave at the end of the month
BUNNELL — Flagler Canton Ambassador Craig Coffey, who has been adverse accessible termination, will instead abandon as of the abutting of business Friday.
At a appropriate affair Wednesday, canton commissioners agreed to a arrangement alteration Coffey formally proposed beforehand in the day as a action of his resignation. The alteration preserves Coffey’s severance amalgamation alike admitting he won’t be fired. Prior to the change, alone his abortion would accept accustomed him to collect.
“What I’ve put afore you is a way to allotment means on a absolute agenda for everyone,” said Coffey at the alpha of the meeting.
The vote was 3-2 with commissioners Greg Hansen and Charles Ericksen dissenting. Both had advocated for a alteration aeon of up to six months, which Coffey adopted but did not accommodate in his proposal.
Hansen acclaimed that the canton had about 35 projects underway and predicted that, afterwards Coffey’s input, things would abatement through the cracks.
“I anticipate we charge somebody attractive over that and I anticipate he should stay,” Hansen said. “I anticipate we should alpha the chase for a backup immediately, and as anon as we accretion one, again that’s aback the alteration would booty place.”
Coffey told the agency that if they needed, they could still alarm him.
In a appointment alarm with bounded account media beforehand in the day, Coffey said the agency would account by accepting him to abandon as adjoin to battlefront him, suggesting it would attending bigger to abeyant approaching job applicants.
Coffey had initially sought a alteration aeon of two to six months, which would accept accustomed him to about duke off the job to his replacement. However, he adumbrated that some commissioners didn’t favor that plan and capital him to abandon added quickly. Commissioners Joe Mullins and Donald O’Brien said as abundant at Wednesday’s meeting.
Commissioner David Sullivan bedfast his acumen and accommodation accurately to Coffey’s proposal.
“This is Mr. Coffey’s accommodation to appear advanced with this alteration and accordingly I will abutment that alteration as drafted,” he said.
In a accompanying development, two key administrators accept signaled that they intend to leave their jobs by the end of the month. Coffey characterized one departure, that of Community Casework Director Joe Mayer, as a retirement and the other, Assistant Canton Ambassador Sally Sherman, as a resignation.
Either would acceptable accept been in band to footfall into Coffey’s shoes on an acting base aloft his departure. The abrupt accident of all three sets up a affectionate of authoritative vacuum.
Ericksen said he had advised to acclaim Sherman to ample the acting canton ambassador role afore actuality told of her ambition to resign, which he alleged “a abundant accident to this county.”
The agency will conduct a appropriate branch affair at 9 a.m. Monday to actuate who will be called to advance the administering until a abiding backup for Coffey can be hired.
It is alien if the added commissioners would accept sided with Ericksen apropos Sherman, who represents one of Coffey’s best criticized decisions.
In 2018, he captivated her job accessible for seven months so that she could acknowledgment to it afterward a acting retirement, which accustomed her to aggregate on retirement investments. During that time, she formed for the canton as an absolute consultant. Waiting seven months to acknowledgment accomplished altitude of a accompaniment law arty restrictions on such a acknowledgment aural six months.
The accepting Wednesday of Coffey’s arrangement alteration came aloof canicule afore the Canton Agency was appointed to accede abortion of his contract, an affair aboriginal aloft during a Dec. 3 agency meeting.
Coffey is paid an anniversary bacon of $163,550 and receives $400 per ages for a car allowance. His severance includes a agglomeration sum acquittal according to 20 weeks’ bacon – about $62,904 – and 20 weeks’ bloom benefits. The adapted arrangement additionally includes a “non-disparagement” clause.
As afresh as aftermost week, Coffey denied planning to resign. Wednesday morning, he explained his accommodation to accomplish the offer, calling it the appropriate affair for the county, his agents and his family.
“If there is a separation, I’d rather it action in a absolute address for everybody involved,” he said.
Coffey, 52, who has captivated the county’s top authoritative position for 11 years, said Wednesday he would action the canton his casework for consultation.
Coffey has been acutely criticized over several issues during the accomplished year but conceivably none added atomic than the ambiguous cachet of the Sheriff’s Operations Center, which has been abandoned aback Sheriff’s Office advisers were abandoned in June over bloom apropos accompanying to accessible toxins in the building.
Over the accomplished 15 months, 37 advisers accept filed workers’ advantage claims, alleging that ailing altitude central the architecture had acquired them to become ill. Tests were conducted, but no antecedent of the botheration could be found.
However, the after-effects of a contempo analysis appear all-encompassing damp below carpeting and asphalt throughout the architecture and the accessible attendance of cast and bat droppings.
The bearings at the Operations Center has been a point of altercation amid Coffey and Sheriff Rick Staly, who said he has been allurement for months that the canton accessible up the building’s drywall to attending abaft the surface.
Coffey has said he’s captivated off on that action to accede with a cloister adjustment to bottle the bounds until an ambassador assassin by the advisers can appraise the situation.
Relations amid Coffey and Staly accept aback soured on this and added issues. At some point, the sheriff cut off all absolute acquaintance with the administrator. Staly appointed an agent to represent him in affairs with Coffey.
During Wednesday’s appointment call, Coffey accustomed he’d occasionally fabricated mistakes and said he admired the bearings with the Operations Center “had gone differently.”
The Canton Agency had been planning to altercate the accessible abortion of Coffey’s arrangement at a affair appointed for Monday, afterward an attack by Mullins at a Dec. 3 lath affair to blaze him. That motion bootless for abridgement of a second, but the affair remained on the table afterwards O’Brien bidding annoyance with Coffey’s job performance.
O’Brien declared the bearings with the Operations Center as “ground zero” for that frustration, admitting it was not his alone complaint. He said Coffey “has approved a abridgement of affinity and caring” and larboard O’Brien with the consequence that the canton ambassador believed some of the Sheriff’s Office advisers were actuality untruthful.
In fact, in a Dec. 20 announcement to the commission, Coffey bidding a acceptance that abounding of the advisers were absolutely ailing but that none of the illnesses were accompanying to the architecture itself. He went on to accompaniment his acceptance that added advisers were not ailing but were “banding calm as a appearance of abutment for their adolescent aggregation members.”
O’Brien’s criticism resounded with the abutment apery the sheriff’s deputies, which appear in a letter to O’Brien that it had taken a vote of no aplomb in Coffey. The floodgates opened afterwards that. Flagler’s firefighters abutment additionally bidding no aplomb in the canton ambassador in its own letter. The agency accustomed belletrist calling for Coffey’s battlefront from the bounded Fraternal Adjustment of Police abode and the canton teachers’ union, admitting there is no absolute able accord amid canton administering and bounded educators.
Wednesday morning, Coffey complained about “a abundance of awful chatter” adjoin him on amusing media and accustomed that, had the agency agreed to accumulate him on, he would “never get some of those bodies back,” calling them a “vocal minority.”
But, he said, “there’s a ample non-vocal majority that’s out there that like the way this canton is and like the way it’s run, like the projects we do and absolutely are beholden of canton agents at abounding levels.”
Acknowledging the criticism he’s accustomed from some associates of the public, he said he accustomed it as the aftereffect of chargeless accent and tries not to internalize it.
“I account abandon of speech,” he said. “I aloof adore abandon of accent in a civilian manner.”
Asked to account some of his accomplishments over his time as canton administrator, Coffey said he championed Flagler Canton through two hurricanes and a above fire, as able-bodied as the Abundant Recession. He additionally listed three abutment affairs with the blaze department, architecture of the Matanzas/Interstate 95 altering and “tons” of new roads, accretion of esplanade acreage and the architecture of a new jail.