Angels & Assholes for September 9, 2022

Hi, kids!

It’s time once again to turn a jaundiced eye toward the newsmakers of the day – the winners and losers – who, in my cynical opinion, either contributed to our quality of life, or detracted from it, in some significant way.

Let’s look at who tried to screw us – and who tried to save us – during the week that was:

Asshole           Volusia School Board Attorney Ted Doran  

We all make mistakes. 

But not all of us learn from them.   

God knows the long and winding path of my life is littered with the wreckage of what happens when hubris and stupidity collide, and I have the scars to prove it. . .   

As an uneducated bumpkin, I have never participated in a curriculum of structured and systematic learning, but like most graduates of the prestigious School of Hard Knocks, I have a wealth of experiential learning – the most expensive education one can achieve – and during my professional life I became an accomplished mimic of those traits I admired in others.    

What I know of leadership was gained from those I respect, imitating those qualities I revered, and sidestepping their faults and foibles.

The one universal attribute I have found in true servant-leaders is humility – the ability to embrace introspection and self-analysis, to recognize and learn from their mistakes, and a willingness to humble themselves to constructive criticism – coupled with the self-awareness to understand how others view and interpret their character, personality, and motivations.     

Most important, they have the courage to accept responsibility for their actions and create a culture of openness and honesty within an organization, rather than pointing fingers, blaming others, or fostering divisiveness and distrust.  

Last week, the Volusia County School Board did what its predecessors had not done in the past forty-years when members conducted a performance review of their attorney.

You read that right. 

Despite the fact a rule requiring that the board’s attorney be reviewed and retained at the first meeting each July has been in place since 1974 – Mr. Doran has somehow escaped formal scrutiny during his long and often controversial tenure.

The results were telling. . .

According to an excellent article by Jarleene Almenas writing in the Ormond Beach Observer:

“School Board Chair Ruben Colon, who gave Attorney Ted Doran an overall score of 9 out of 19, called the results “concerning.”

“You should be given the opportunity to adjust them with each of us and see if we can make it better,” Colon said. “There’s a lot of work to be done. Forty-five out of 95 is not good, and I don’t think anybody in this room can say that’s good.”

To skew the results away from the obvious, Doran apologist Linda Cuthbert was the only member to award him a perfect score of 19 (really?), with Carl Persis rating Doran an 11, Anita Burnette gave him a 4, while Jamie Haynes expressed her displeasure with a 2.

Concerning indeed. . .

During the discussion, Burnette and Haynes pulled no punches, with Burnette voicing concerns that Doran did not treat each member equally and that she felt “intimidated” by Doran’s “rough” communications.

“I don’t feel like I can trust our attorney to have a professional conversation because of things that were said that I’ve trusted him to keep between us at a meeting,” Burnette said.

Ms. Haynes reported a similar experience. 

According to the Observer’s report, “Haynes shared an incident where she said she was threatened by Doran and received a text message “trying to skew what was said and turn it into a different type of statement.” Haynes claimed Doran also reached out to one of her family members in his attempts to speak with her, a move she said she didn’t feel was appropriate, and that he sent an email to the board when he was not able to get in contact with her.”

“So I have some issues with trust, professionalism and being threatened,” Haynes said. “If I were a principal and a teacher threatened me, how would I take that? That’s kind of the situation we’re in.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Doran is serving under the relative safety of a three-year employment contract – a protection that directly contravenes the School Board’s long-standing policy of an annual review and reappointment – in essence preventing Mr. Doran’s clients (the School Board) from firing him should they lose confidence in their attorney.    

In my view, either the rules govern everyone – or they should apply to no one.

For Mr. Doran’s part, rather than humble himself to the process – he blamed “misinformation” – then turned the tables on his bosses, claiming “…not one of you has ever privately or publicly criticized me before tonight, and not one of you called me and asked me any questions about any of the decisions that you were making.”

Bullshit.

“Every board member I’ve ever worked under would tell you that I did everything in my power to protect them both legally and politically,” Doran said. “And that’s true today. I don’t want to publicly air or respond in a public way to some of these things — I would rather explain them to you privately, and if you still feel there’s an issue, then we can come back and talk about it.”

Wow.  So much for removing ego from the equation, eh? 

In my view, openness and transparency in the process of evaluating and setting expectations for one of the most highly compensated positions in the district demands that any further discussion be held in the public eye.  

Something tells me this isn’t over.

According to reports, School Board Chair Ruben Colon “encouraged Doran to set up meeting with each board member, with a mediator if necessary,” and said Policy 103 governing the attorney’s annual review will be discussed at a future meeting.

I hope so, because many Volusia County taxpayers are curious how Mr. Doran obtained a multi-year contract. . . 

The attorney-client relationship should be based upon trust and confidence, built upon a foundation of professional ethics, sound counsel, and accepted norms.  I am not sure terms like “intimidated,” “rough” communications, and feeling “threatened” are normal – especially when the attorney is compensated with public funds. 

In the view of many, it is time for Mr. Doran to do the right thing and voluntarily step aside.

This abysmal performance evaluation signals a loss of confidence in his representation and advocacy by his client – an irretrievably broken relationship – an unfortunate distraction that adds to the shambolic and dysfunctional administration of a district that continues to hemorrhage talent and face financial catastrophe with a budget now in excess of $1 billion.

Asshole                       Protogroup

I don’t know much about construction, and I am certainly not a metallurgist.  

In fact, I don’t know which end of a hammer you blow in. . . 

But I can look at a severely corroded steel reinforcement and question its integrity – the intense rusting of exposed metal bars meant to strengthen a concrete foundation supporting a high-rise building in the corrosive environment of salt air and ocean spray – and determine whether the structure is a place I want to enter. 

And, as a long-time resident of the Halifax area, I know a suppurating eyesore when I see it. . .

Anyone paying attention will remember those heady days when a colossal “game changer” beachfront condominium and convention center was announced – another panacea project that our ‘powers that be’ promised would cure all the social, civic, and economic ills of our blighted beachside.

With great trepidation, local officials bet all our hopes and dreams for the revitalization of our core tourist area on what was colloquially known as the “Russian project” when the twin towers began to slowly emerge from an ugly gash in the sandy dunes. 

The developer, then known as Protogroup, hung a seemingly permanent “Under Construction” sign and proceeded to block traffic, obstruct beach access, construct an unpermitted “contra-lane” on Oakridge Boulevard, swapped contractors mid-stream, ignored deadlines, extended estimated completion dates, and refused to respond to the legitimate questions of the working press amid reports of IRS investigations and a mysterious financing scheme.   

While the south tower of the promised dual span convention hotel struggled upward in fits and starts, the foundation of what was to be the north tower – an ugly group of stained concrete pillars with their crowns of rusted rebar – sat stagnant and exposed, for years, as Daytona Beach and Volusia County officials nervously shuffled their feet and put on a brave public face, while secretly worrying what would become of the beachside’s most visible project. 

Then, in June 2021, the Champlain Towers South, a 12-story beachfront condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed killing ninety-eight people, and all eyes ominously turned to the corroded foundation of what was to support the tallest building ever constructed in Daytona Beach. . .

Last week, the City of Daytona Beach took bold action to eliminate this festering eyesore and protect the public from potential disaster.

At least it looked that way. . . 

According to a report by Eileen Zaffiro-Kean writing in The Daytona Beach News-Journal:

“Late Thursday afternoon, the city’s chief building official issued a condemnation order for the hulking Protogroup company structure that has been stalled out in the foundation construction phase for the past three years.

City Chief Building Official Glen Urquhart wrote in his condemnation order that portions of the unfinished structure are dangerous and “likely to partially or completely collapse, or to become detached or dislodged” due to faulty construction, neglect, abandonment, exposure to the elements, damage and decay.”

Wow. 

According to the report, on Friday, someone at the site covered the bright orange condemnation signs with plywood – out of sight, and out of mind, I suppose. . .   

My God.

Pursuant to the city’s original order, Protogroup (now d/b/a PDA Trading Inc.) must repair the rusting concrete structure “to a safe condition” within three days or demolish it and clear the site within twenty days.

In addition, the News-Journal reported that the recently completed 455-room Daytona Grande is facing foreclosure, “The mortgage company is currently seeking foreclosure on the south property for lack of payments,” Urquhart wrote in an email Tuesday to City Manager Deric Feacher.”

Uh-oh. 

Let’s hope our collective fears aren’t coming to reality.

In an October 2018 piece in The Daytona Beach News-Journal by reporter Jim Abbott, Tony Grippa, the former chair of the ill-fated Beachside Redevelopment Committee said what we were all thinking:

“The city still lacks an overall strategy as it relates to A1A and the beachside corridor, and this is what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket.”

At this point, however, completion of the project is imperative, Grippa said.

“It would be absolutely devastating to have, in addition to all the old boarded-up buildings, now a new partially completed building,” Grippa said. “That sitting vacant and empty would really hurt the beachside, optically, economically and emotionally.”

Perhaps that sentiment is why city officials announced midweek that Protogroup is getting a reprieve, of sorts, on the condemnation action so long as they agreed to meet the requirements – like removing all debris on the site by today, reapplying for expired permits, and developing a plan to test the foundation and certify it can support the enormous weight of a 31-story building. 

Oh, and the City of Daytona Beach has now allowed the bright orange “condemnation” notices to be removed from the site, apparently to salve the fears of prospective condo customers and those already under contract.

Weird.

In my 31-years in public service, this is the first time I have ever seen a notice of condemnation removed before performance demands were met simply to appease a real estate broker. . . 

According to a follow-up article which appeared in Wednesday’s News-Journal, Sheriff Guindi, vice president of Residential and Commercial Sales for Realty Pros Assured, was quoted:

“We’ve got all our contract holders calling us,” Guindi said.

He said he has lined up $63.75 million in gross sales so far, including one individual sale for $7.85 million to a man who bought both penthouses. Guindi said that’s the largest residential condo sale in Volusia County’s history and more than $1 million higher than any house sale in the county.

Guindi said sales have been going “really, really well,” but he worries about “misconceptions” people may have about the condo tower project. He said Protogroup sunk the pilings into the site to “get a jumpstart on construction,” but needed to secure sufficient condo sales before diving further into building the tower.

“I think it was premature for the city to slap the condemnation on it without talking to a structural engineer,” Guindi said.”

Premature?  Really? 

This enforcement action was literally years in the making.

Clearly, Mr. Guindi could sell ice to an Eskimo – but is he qualified to bet his customer’s safety on the strength of those rusted hunks of rebar protruding from the structure’s footings? 

Caveat Emptor, baby. . .

Look, I applaud the City of Daytona Beach and Chief Building Official Glen Urquhart for working hard to ensure public safety and protect the best interests of residents and visitors – but given the many setbacks, stagnation, corrosion of structural components and lack of responsiveness to the concerns of officials and the public – many are asking if the pernicious effects of Halifax area “politics as usual” is undermining the Chief’s efforts? 

Time will tell.

Angel               Ted Teschner & Mr. Dunderbak’s

After an incredible 47-year run, Ted Teschner, the proud owner and operator of the iconic Volusia Mall eatery Mr. Dunderbak’s, has announced he has listed the business for sale. 

In my experience, given the transient nature of things on Florida’s Fun Coast, few things last – especially locally owned restaurants – which seem to have a lifespan of about six-months.    

Thanks to the love and care of Mr. Teschner and his wonderful staff, Mr. Dunderbak’s survived food courts, economic downturns, and the painful demise of major retail anchors, as the mall slowly fell victim to online shopping and the pull of “new” commercial centers on Boomtown Boulevard.

My hope is that the new owners will keep Mr. Dunderbak’s just the way it is – and has been – for nearly five decades. 

Last week, Mr. Teschner announced the potential sale in an emotional social media post that touched the hearts of many long-time residents:

“The time has come that we will be listing Mr. D’s for sale very soon. After 47 years of serving our great community it is with a degree of sadness and a bit of satisfaction that we have survived through thick and thin. My great staff has been the number 1 reason for our success and our great customer base. Hopefully a buyer will be found that will carry on all of our great traditions.

Ironically my Father always said my biggest fault was I could not stick with anything for any period of time. I doubt anything will transpire before the end of this year and I have volunteered to stay on as a consultant for up to 1 year in any type of transition. I will keep you posted on any future developments.” 

In my view, small businesses and those who put their blood, sweat, and tears into their success, form the very backbone of Volusia County’s economy.  Everyone at Mr. Dunderbak’s can be exceedingly proud of their service to generations of Volusia County residents. 

Thanks, Ted.  Best of luck for the future.   

We’re glad you passed our way. . . 

Quote of the Week

“The politics of this is just absolutely unreal,” Post said. “The stuff that keeps coming up and keeps coming out, the ridiculous, ridiculous dwellings on certain things is so political. It’s not even funny. This place is a circus.”

–Volusia County Councilwoman Heather Post, as quoted by The Ormond Beach Observer, “Councilwoman Heather Post defends herself against rumors surrounding her April injury,” Tuesday, September 6, 2022

The ugly ‘Politics of Personal Destruction’ that now dominate the political landscape reached a new low this week at what passes for a Volusia County Council meeting when former at-large candidate Sherrise Boyd took to the podium and launched a clearly coordinated attack designed to discredit and marginalize Councilwoman Post.

Why? 

In my opinion, because Ms. Post represents an independence of thought that those lockstep conformists who represent a few entrenched insiders and their hand-select candidates fear.

And it was sad to see Ms. Boyd taken in by their sham. 

According to Boyd, questions are swirling (in what I am sure are a few political fishing camps) over the disposition of a firearm legally carried by Councilwoman Post when she fell down a flight of stairs in a public area of the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Building in DeLand.

Councilwoman Post unequivocally denied the accusations and attempted to tamp down the feeding frenzy she knew was coming.  

According to the Observer’s report, “…Sherrise Boyd, brought forth allegations that when Post fell down the stairs, a firearm dropped from her purse and onto the ground, and, that it was picked up by a citizen whom Post instructed to hand the gun over to emergency medical services personnel.

Boyd said that she was told the gun was transported with Post to the hospital in a biohazard bag before it was turned over to Post’s husband.

“I don’t know if this is true or not,” Boyd said. “I’m very honest. I don’t know, but it has come up to me and it’s been going around and if that is the case, then I do believe that at the council [chambers], the metal detectors that were put up here, they shouldn’t just be for the public.”

I found it odd that – by her own admission – Ms. Boyd did not know if the rumors were true or not, yet she began her persecution by asking if anyone on the council wanted to step aside? 

What a crock of shit. . .

I guess if you can’t get your slate of malleable candidates elected on the strength of their merits and platform – just run-off those duly elected elected officials who actually represent We, The Little People, eh?

My God.

I can’t think of anything more un-American.

The diversionary melodrama continued with County Manager George Recktenwald providing a full explanation of the non-event – including the testimony of Interim Public Protection Director Mark Swanson – who corroborated Ms. Post’s version of events.

Clearly not satisfied that the wind had been taken out of the choreographed attack, Councilman Ben Johnson assumed his weird Perry Mason persona and launched into a cross-examination of Ms. Post from the dais – making not-so-veiled accusations that she intended to unlawfully carry a firearm into the commission chamber that day. 

How sad. 

And how telling.

Come on, Ben. End your long and distinguished elective service to the citizens of Volusia County on a high note.

You’re embarrassing yourself, sir.

In my view, some very important people – insiders who have purchased a chip in this very lucrative game – are becoming increasingly frightened by the very real possibility of losing their iron grip on power this November. 

To that end, those political operatives who prosecute these baseless attacks continue to put more dust in the air – cutting into Chairman Jeff Brower and Councilwoman Post at every opportunity – deflecting attention from the serious issues of overdevelopment, impact fees, transportation infrastructure, and the exploitation of our wild places and natural resources so speculative developers can haul even more cash out of the pine scrub across the width and breadth of Volusia County. 

Councilwoman Post is correct – this is a circus – a cheap distraction we can expect will continue until the November election. 

And it is a horrible disservice to the citizens of Volusia County.

I hope you will vote accordingly.   

And Another Thing!

“I guess there was a post or something that Tyler didn’t like, so Tyler (unfollowed) Brian,” Ed Kelley said. “They do differ on politics…. Brian is a conservative businessperson who believes in less government, and I guess Tyler believes in something else.”

–Former Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley, as quoted by The Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Political divide won’t break up Florida Georgia Line, Ed Kelley says,” January 20, 2021

Then, last week, the other shoe dropped. . . 

“Whatever disagreements they have, we were hoping they’d be able to pick up and tour next year,” said former Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley, the father of Florida Georgia Line singer Brian Kelley, a Volusia County native who was raised in Ormond Beach.

“We were holding out hope it wouldn’t be the last one,” the elder Kelley said of a Wednesday show by FGL at the Minnesota State Fair that reportedly was the duo’s final performance. “I know Brian was hoping they could work it out.”

–Former Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley, as quoted by The Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Is Florida Georgia Line breaking up? Brian Kelley’s Ormond Beach dad responds,” September 6, 2022

Normally, I wouldn’t mention this.

But given that the tabloid-like bruhaha that became the waning days of the “Bro Country” duo Florida Georgia Line played out on the frontpage of the News-Journal’s “Local” section – and the fact former Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley is now serving as his son’s spokesperson (?) – the “local connection” piqued my prurient interest. . . 

Mercifully, the painfully protracted Florida Georgia Line melodrama has finally – humanely, compassionately, benevolently – come to an unceremonious end.

After months of denials, it appears the corrosive divisiveness of what passes for “politics” in this age of scorched earth partisanship has cleaved asunder what was arguably one of the most wildly successful – and horribly maligned – musical duos of all time.  

This tragicomedy has played out, ad nauseum, since the 2020 presidential election when political friction between Floridian Brian Kelley (who supported Trump) and his bandmate, Georgia native Tyler Hubbard (who supported Biden and carried the bulk of the vocals) went public on social media. 

Then, Ed Kelley weighed-in on the controversy, explaining to a News-Journal reporter in January 2021 that while his son was a “conservative businessperson who believes in less government,” his business partner Hubbard “believed in something else. . .” 

According to an article by Marcus K. Dowling in Nashville’s The Tennessean last Friday:

“On a July 2022 appearance on Bobby Bobes’ podcast, Hubbard noted that the breakup occurred because Kelley initiated them going solo, though there is “no bad blood between the two of them.” Hubbard did add that they “might revisit getting the duo back together 10 to 15 years down the line.” He then joked that they would not reunite before then, “even if they were offered $1 million to play a wedding.”

Yeah.  That.

Look, I was never a fan of FGL’s music.  In fact, I have publicly lamented that the incredible popularity of the “Bro Country” genre and other pop/rap/hip-hop “music” wrapped with a twang is a certain sign of the coming apocalypse. . . 

But I hate to see anyone fail due to a stupid political disagreement – especially a pair that has seen unprecedented commercial success in a difficult industry. 

Besides all the artsy-fartsy bullshit we hear from today’s “stars” – usually “20-something” trend chasing created personas in $1,000 ripped jeans, strategically placed tattoos, and a carefully coiffed hairstyle selected by their labels marketing group – the music business is just that – with hundreds of moving parts working behind the scenes to sell a product. 

And a lot of livelihoods depend upon it.

I don’t know why I care. 

Both Hubbard and Kelley – regardless of any future success as independent acts – will live extremely comfortably for generations to come off FGL residuals and ancillary businesses. 

Perhaps I see the demise of Florida Georgia Line as a metaphor for what we are becoming as a nation – as a people – a place where the line “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible” has become a quaint notion whose time has passed.

A once united national identity, now replaced by warring factions in blue and red, brother vs. brother, a growing hatred bankrolled by behind-the-scenes billionaire puppeteers with both an ideological and profit motive – and fueled by narcissistic elected assholes and lockstep radical operatives on both sides of the political spectrum. 

Now, even music – which was once the great uniter, the universal language that spoke to our emotions, something that drew us together in cheering throngs, artistic expression that transcended that which divides us – is falling victim to politics.

God help us all.   

That’s all for me.  Have a great weekend, y’all! 

16 thoughts on “Angels & Assholes for September 9, 2022

  1. Not serious to you however this concerns many, many citizens Mark :

    >>>> when Post fell down the stairs, a firearm dropped from her purse and onto the ground, and, that it was picked up by a citizen whom Post instructed to hand the gun over to emergency medical services personnel.

    >>>>>Councilwoman Post at every opportunity – deflecting attention from the serious issues of overdevelopment, impact fees, transportation infrastructure, and the exploitation of our wild places and natural resources so speculative developers can haul even more cash out of the pine scrub across the width and breadth of Volusia County.

    Like

  2. I had to look up “suppurating.” Thank you! I have resolved to use it in my everyday exchanges! That suppurating social media platform Facebook seems like a good place to start.

    Like

  3. What prompted Heather Post “Slip and Fall”…..?
    Was she startled by seeing Alvin Mortimer in a
    “Bullet Proof Vest”, yes it’s a Circus…🤡s
    And more importantly is this a case that “Morgan and Morgan” is handling…
    I can remember when this blog wasn’t that supportive of Heather Post ….
    And I can also remember when it was supportive of Sherise Boyd.
    Sherise Boyd once thought that Richard Thrippsst was a uniter!🤡🤡s

    Like a Dark Comedy 🎭 it’s all Laughable……
    So I laugh at it…

    While the little Assholes are showing their Asses, the big Assholes like FPL and Matrix are considering buying News Outlets and funding Ghost Candidates so they can rig elections and give us more of the corrupted same……

    Like

  4. Will miss Dunderbacks and Post.Got a flyer in the mail from Partington.Anyone knows if Bridger is in this state.?Drive around a lot and all I get from his opinions are 5 signs across Ormond Beach and the smallest signs around.You lost twice so why are you running a third time and give the election to Partington if you dont get off your ass for a debate or a meet and greet?You may be the most useless candidate in my life and ruining it for others who dont support Partington.Do you give a shit about this election or just give it to Partington.?You already lost so take a vacation in California.Approve a speed bump in your HOA.I am not going to your website to read the same crap for the third year.Shame that we call this an election.Have to vote for Partington and would vote for anyone but the spoiler.

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  5. You nailed it again! Would anyone in their right mind want to live in that condo, providing it’s ever built?? My Gawd!!! As for me, I prefer living in our humble abode and not a high rise but that’s just me. As for FGL, again, My Gawd!! Who really cares what they do? Sure, I enjoyed a couple of their songs and the good old boy “local boy did good” but time and again the “NJ” makes their controversies front page news. Thank you again for have the cajhones to always put in print what I’m generally thinking!!

    Like

  6. Just to be clear, I was lawfully carrying a concealed weapon during my lunch break no where near chambers. I fell down a flight of stairs in the stairwell outside the county managers office…. No where near chambers. And most importantly, I am an extremely responsible gun owner. At NO TIME did a gun EVER fly out of anywhere onto the floor. No one would have even known I had a gun on me except Corrections Director Mark Flowers came to check on me in pain on the floor and I told him I had a gun in my possession and gave it to him so that I wasn’t bringing it with me to the hospital. More people are being added to the payroll to harrass and perpetuate lies about me and it will no doubt get worse before the end of my term in January. One might wonder why they still consider me such a threat even when I’m not running go re-election. 🤷‍♀️🇺🇸 #Corruption

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The question is: have you ever had the gun in your possession while in chambers? If so, the law was violated. Your published quote is “there’s no evidence,” but you should actually just answer the essential question. Your silence here on the actual concern people have is quite interesting!

      Like

  7. KUDO’S to Daytona Beach resident John Nicholson when he told Council members they had wasted 40 minutes “on something that’s really irrelevant”, referring to Ben and Sherise’s character attack on Heather Post, reported in NJ!
    Bens distinguished career, that Mark referred to, ended when he retired as Sheriff, since then he’s been the pocket puppet of the local rich and famous, total BS!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. William cant get your Daytona News Journal.I unsuscribed.Orlando cable stations were at the Mainland High lockup at 12:45 PM Way before I had to
      email the editor of DBNJ what was going on.Saw Wesh ,Spectrum 13 News 6 and Fox 35 .Orlando before the DBNJ .Took a crying lady at a restaurant we were.at who was getting horrfic emails telling mom she loves her even if she dies.Daytona needs to get their shit together.

      Like

      1. Peter, DELAND — Moments after tumbling down a flight of stairs inside the county government’s large administration building on April 5, Councilwoman Heather Post realized she was going to be taking an ambulance ride to the hospital.

        As Post tried to wrap her head around what just happened, she remembered she had a gun in her purse and knew it could be a problem having it in the ambulance and in the hospital. She saw county Director of Corrections Mark Flowers standing nearby and asked him to take her firearm and give it to her husband when he could.

        As Post spent the weeks after the fall outside the county manager’s office focusing on healing, rumors about her gun started to swirl.

        At Tuesday’s County Council meeting, the rumors that had been wafting around social media and the gossip of private conversations landed on the dais and at the lectern where people make public comments.

        Volusia County Council members got into a discussion Tuesday about the gun Councilwoman Heather Post had in the county’s administration building in DeLand one day back in April. Council members pictured standing are Ben Johnson and Billie Wheeler. Seated left to right are Post, Barbara Girtman, Jeff Brower, Danny Robins and Fred Lowry.
        Councilman Ben Johnson and Post tangled over whether she has ever had a firearm in Council chambers.

        Johnson, the former sheriff of Volusia County, recounted how Post had left the Council meeting room on that day in April and went to another part of the building.

        “You were rushing back to Council and had a gun in your purse,” Johnson said. “The concern was where was that gun going.”

        Another fight among Volusia Council members:Volusia County Council explodes in anger over environmental meeting

        Other Volusia government news:’A priority’: Volusia County adopts plan to increase affordable housing

        Read more about Volusia County Council decisions:’Quality of life’: Volusia to study impact of explosive growth

        He asked her where she was going to put the gun between the steps she fell on and the short distance back to Council chambers. He said it didn’t make sense for her to go all the way to her car, and there were no gun lockers near her.

        “You honestly expect me to announce in public where I put my firearms?” Post asked. “I’m not going to do that. There’s no evidence of me ever bringing a firearm into Council chambers.”

        Johnson ended his remarks by telling Post, “Your answer is an answer in itself.”

        “Your behavior is an answer,” Post shot back.

        ‘No firearms fell off of me’
        Post, who is not seeking re-election and will be off the Council in January, said she’s just the latest Council member targeted by “ridiculous stories” fueled by political motivations. She said security video from inside the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center backs up her account of what happened that day five months ago.

        “No firearms fell off of me or my bag or anything,” she said in response to rumors that her gun landed on the floor when she tripped. “That did not occur.”

        Rumors have been swirling about the gun Volusia County Councilwoman Heather Post had in her purse the day in April she fell down a flight of steps outside the county manager’s office.
        She said she began a career in law enforcement 30 years ago, and she knows how to handle guns.

        County Manager George Recktenwald spent some time at the end of Tuesday’s meeting laying out the facts of April 5. He said no EMS workers involved with Post’s fall reported handling a gun.

        “I received a report of what happened, and I felt there was no reason to have any kind of investigation, because to my knowledge there were no laws broken,” the county manager said. “It was just people trying to help people.”

        Mark Swanson, the county’s interim director of Public Protection, said Post’s gun was given to the corrections director, who gave it to Post’s husband.

        “No weapon ever went inside an EVAC ambulance, and no ambulance delivered a gun to anyone,” Swanson said.

        Recktenwald said everything he saw and was told by county employees lined up with Post’s recollections, but that didn’t stop two citizens from insinuating that the true version of events is more nefarious.

        Daytona Beach resident Sherrise Boyd told Council members she has been hearing that the gun fell out of Post’s purse when she took the spill, a local resident walking by picked up the firearm, the citizen handed the gun to the ambulance driver, and the driver put the gun in a biohazard bag and took the councilwoman to the hospital.

        “A lot of people know about this, so I don’t think it’s not true,” said Boyd, who recently finished fourth in the four-candidate primary election for the at-large County Council seat.

        Boyd said the Sherriff’s Office needs to launch an internal investigation, and county staff members and elected officials should join the public at metal detectors used to screen people entering Council chambers.

        ‘You should be in jail’
        Volusia County resident Wendell Dallarosa also called for an internal investigation when he stepped up to the microphone at Tuesday’s meeting. He said the GPS recordings of the ambulance that transported Post should be closely examined, and the emergency medical workers who helped the Councilwoman should be interviewed.

        “This is not a diversion,” Dallarosa said. “People want to know the facts.”

        Dallarosa also mentioned that he requested a copy of the security video showing Post’s fall, but was denied.

        “I want to see the Academy Award-winning fall,” he said.

        Former sheriff and Volusia County Councilman Ben Johnson questioned Councilwoman Heather Post Tuesday about a gun she had in her purse back in April at the county’s administration building.
        The county allows people with concealed weapons permits to have guns in county government buildings, but not in the Council’s large meeting room.

        State law says a license to carry a concealed weapon does not authorize the license holder to openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed weapon or firearm into a number of places including “any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality or special district.”

        Right after Boyd spoke, Post said she didn’t have “any kind of firearm” in Council chambers. But Dallarosa apparently wasn’t convinced.

        “You should be in jail,” he told Post.

        “If I brought a firearm in chambers and it fell, you’d arrest my (expletive),” he said.

        Dallarosa also said Post should resign.

        “You have 120 days left on this Council. It would be in the county’s best interest if you just walked away,” he said.

        ‘So political it’s not even funny’
        Just four weeks ago, several Council members got into a screaming match over allegations that County Chair Jeff Brower was manipulating a planned environmental meeting to promote candidates he hopes fill four Council seats next year.

        “We keep hearing, ‘let’s not be political, we all need to get along,’ but the politics of this is just absolutely unreal,” Post said. “The ridiculous dwellings on certain things is so political it’s not even funny.”

        Brower called it the politics of personal prosecution.

        Post said even some Council members are repeating the rumors about the day she fell, and she contends the stories are being spread “to take attention away from important matters.”

        “It’s very evident that there are those in the community who are trying to take the spotlight off of things that should actually be discussed and are focusing on things like this, which are ridiculous,” she said.

        Some have even questioned if Post was drunk or high on drugs the day she was injured, and she said tests at the hospital proved she was not.

        Daytona Beach resident John Nicholson told Council members they had wasted 40 minutes “on something that’s really irrelevant.”

        “This stuff is preventing you from doing what you have to do,” Nicholson said.

        You can reach Eileen at Eileen.Zaffiro@news-jrnl.com

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  8. So it s okay to Linda Cuthbert for Ted Doran to treat other woman like sh!t, as long as he doesn’t treat her that way??? I am so glad that soon ANYBODY other than Cuthbert will represent NSB. Both need to go!!!

    Like

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