"Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we're free at last."
Try not to gloat -- advice I would always give whistleblower and other civil rights plaintiff clients, especially at transformative moments, e.g. while I was demolishing their wicked corporate and governmental management oppressors (usually questioning them Mano a Mano, in direct examination conducted as if on cross-examination), during depositions and in 138 days of trial, 1989-2004.
Never got to cross-examine "ODD TODD," but watching this insecure caterwauling developer-coddling critter has been entertaining -- worst City Commissioner of the 21st century?
More of my comments below, and on blog, 2014-date. Good riddance.
Vice mayor won’t run for re-election
By Sheldon Gardner
Posted Apr 5, 2018 at 12:01 AM
Updated at 6:32 AM
St. Augustine Record
St. Augustine Vice Mayor Todd Neville said he won’t run for re-election to the Commission, pointing to frustration with city management.
His seat is up for election this year.
Neville on Wednesday described what he sees as a series of failures by the city since he joined the board in 2014, including bungled projects and missed goals. He said the responsibility lies with City Manager John Regan.
Neville also said Regan has failed to hold certain people accountable and is hindered in managing by his desire to be liked and to be friends with everyone.
“The biggest [problem] I have is we have known issues we don’t address,” Neville said.
Regan is in charge of executing the policies agreed upon by the city’s five commissioners, and he’s in charge of hiring and firing. The city has 360 active employees, with 326 who work full -time, according to Donna Hayes, city human resources manager.
Regan disagreed with Neville’s characterization of his management. He said city employees have high morale, and he said his management style is inclusive and different than Neville’s approach. Neville is co-owner of the business Neville Wainio CPAs on Anastasia Island.
Regan added, “We’re all not going to agree, but I will always be committed to do my best. ... I work for five different individuals, and not everyone will be happy with me at all times. ... My job is to provide the leadership I think is needed for the community to move forward.”
Neville said the city needs a different kind of leadership to reach its goals. In January, he called a meeting to float replacing the city manager, citing some of the same concerns. At the meeting, other commissioners disagreed with Neville and voiced support for Regan.
But by that meeting, Neville said he had already crafted a letter of resignation from the Commission because of unresolved issues in the city. He said his parents convinced him to fulfill his duties, and he said he plans to serve the rest of his term.
Neville listed a number of concerns.
He said the Florida Department of Transportation rejected the city’s idea for shuttle lanes on San Marco Avenue because the city failed to communicate to the public the benefits of the project early and properly. As a result, the people who controlled the message to the FDOT and the public were those who were opposed to the project because it would have removed on-street parking.
The city’s idea for the project came up because FDOT will repave San Marco Avenue, which opens the door for redesigning traffic lanes.
“For three months I pleaded with [Regan]: Where’s our strategy? ... We’re failing at our communication,” Neville said.
Neville also raised concerns about Regan choosing Mike Cullum to become the new public works director on May 1. Cullum’s salary will be $107,250 a year with a $325-per-month car allowance and and inclusion in the city’s pension plan, among other benefits.
While Neville said he believes Cullum is qualified, he said he’s concerned because Cullum and Regan are friends.
“They’re setting things up for a situation where you can’t really hold [Cullum] accountable because [their] wives are friends [and they’re friends],” Neville said.
Neville said he doesn’t know who else applied for the job, and he said Cullum hasn’t led a public works department before.
Thirty people applied for the job, some from out of state, according to the city’s Human Resources department. Those applicants include the city’s Deputy Public Works Director Todd Grant and Mobility Program Manager Reuben Franklin Jr.
Regan said when it comes to engineering circles, there are few people he doesn’t know. He said he also knows Cullum through a local running club, where he also met Neville.
“Mike’s a friend,” Regan said. “He’s not a close friend.”
Regan said Cullum has led major divisions in private consulting and with the St. Johns River Water Management District — as of March, he’d been the technical program coordinator for the district for more than two years, according to the city. And he has expertise in sea level rise and stormwater issues.
Regan defended his performance, pointing to a number of accomplishments. The city’s finances are good, the city successfully navigated through two hurricanes and is getting reimbursements back for projects, and the mobility project, which has had setbacks, has also had successes.
“Last year was a tough year, but we have a strategic plan, and we made progress on every single item,” Regan said.
It’s not clear when Neville might reappear in the political scene after he leaves the Commission. He said he’s involved in different circles but doesn’t plan to run for another office this election season.
As for future possibilities, he said being a state legislator doesn’t pay enough because he’d have to leave his accounting firm.
“If it’s anything, it will be at the federal level,” said Neville, who helped introduce Marco Rubio in March 2016 at a rally during Rubio’s campaign for president.
Neville said he still plans to serve on the city’s audit committee, which he suggested forming. The audit committee has been meeting to allow the city’s auditor to candidly voice concerns about city finances that might arise, Neville said.
As of Wednesday, only one person had filed to run for Neville’s seat: Jill Pacetti, a staunch supporter of keeping Confederate monuments in their current positions in the city. Pacetti is related to a Confederate soldier listed on the city’s Confederate monument in the Plaza de la Constitucion.
The story was updated about 2 p.m. on April 5 to include details about salary and benefits for St. Augustine’s new public works director, and details on other applicants for the job.
From Historic City News: