Kisela resigns, Riverwalk vote tabled

Published: Monday, June 30, 2014 at 9:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 30, 2014 at 10:22 p.m.

After city leaders tabled a vote Monday on tax incentives for Riverwalk, City Manager Greg Kisela quietly turned in his resignation letter and accepted an offer to manage the Panhandle city of Destin.

Kisela’s resignation wasn’t connected to the Riverwalk vote, or unexpected, as he had been approached by Destin officials, where he formerly worked. He will leave the city on Sept. 2 unless council members decide to approve a shorter notice period.

Kisela is the fourth city official to resign in two weeks. Fire Chief Joe Pozzo resigned last Friday, following resignations by the city’s purchasing manager and public utilities director after the discovery of an error led to $411,510 in unauthorized water meter purchases.

“We knew it was coming,” Port Orange Mayor Allen Green said. “This is only the tip of the iceberg. To be able to replace the quality of this manager will be almost impossible.”

Green said he predicts even more resignations.

Council members and Kisela were often at odds over the daily operations of the city but the discovery of an overspent water meter contract last month created further tension between department heads and the council.

Green said he is in the process of finding interim city manager candidates, which must be approved by the council. He attributed the recent resignations to interventions by some council members in the city’s daily affairs and a small group of citizen activists who are heavily critical.

“Who would want to work in an environment like this?” Green asked

Earlier in the meeting, after two hours of debate, the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency board decided to table a vote on whether Riverwalk developers should receive a portion of property tax revenues generated by the estimated $125 million development that includes condos, a restaurant and a marina along the Halifax River. If approved, the city and developers would split an estimated $20 million in tax increment revenue over the next two decades.

City Attorney Margaret Roberts informed board members that before developers could receive any tax increment funds, the city would have to pay off nearly $6 million in bond debt that was previously used to make improvements in the redevelopment district. The board — made up of Green, the other four council members and two residents — decided to have the city’s bond advisor review the proposal before moving forward. The CRA will revisit the vote again on July 22.

Nearly a dozen residents and council candidates shared mixed opinions about subsidizing the development with taxpayer money. After two decades of stalled efforts, several residents urged the board to move forward with the proposal to spur economic development and improve the city’s tax base. Others shared reservations about giving tax money to developers and possibly creating a precedent for future projects in the district.

The project’s lead developer Buddy LaCour said that unlike the majority of tax increment deals, he wasn’t asking the city to float a bond for his project and would be paying upfront for everything from construction fees to marketing condo units, which are estimated to cost $375,000 each.

“We are spending the money,” LaCour said. “There’s no risk to the city.”

Councilman Bob Ford said he was hesitant to approve the tax deal but other board members expressed willingness to consider the incentives upon the bond advisor’s recommendations.

“If we want to get investment there, we have to change the demographics,” said Vice Mayor Don Burnette. “But we have to do it right. We have to be methodical.”

City manager resigns, Riverwalk vote tabled |

5 thoughts on “Kisela resigns, Riverwalk vote tabled

  • June 30, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Hey its Deja Vu! The Lifesaver is very photogenic. For as many people as he has screwed in his career he sure knows how to play the wounded deer part well. Daddy Allen Green predicts that their will be more resignations. Does that mean that Allen Green’s political importation of retread FCCMA managers for his personal agendas is now resulting in organizational implosion? This nervy old jackass is now trying to blame this on council members. What a Schmuck this he is by trying to deflect what he has brought on and try to blame the only councilman that fight for transparent governance. Allen Green needs to be voted out before he destroys Port Orange totally.

    • July 1, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Allen Green is the common denominator in the years of fiscal failure, employee turnover and overall general negativity. The City Council has been pretty much turned over (with the exception of Kennedy who will go bye bye). Ken Parker is gone, only Green is left.
      Maybe a recall or citizen call for his resignation is in order to complete the cleanup and a fresh new start ?
      I hope that the hiring of the new City Manager and vacant department heads can wait until after the November elections. It’s only fair that the new council (after the elections) be involved in the decision making process. I don’t care to have bobble head Kennedy having a hand in these decisions then riding off into the sunset.

  • July 1, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Yes Mayor Green like you said it’s going to hard to replace Kisela. I think next time around the council members are going to do due dilligence, get on their computers, check the candidates more thoroughly and not rely on the opinions of Allen Green or the Range Riders to make the appropriate choice for what is good for the city, Their selection will also be closely scrutinized by the citizens who truly want a City Manager they can trust and look up to.

    • July 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      I had heard that it would be hard to replace Ken Parker and now it will be hard to replace Greg Kisela.
      If we want the same kind of city manager as those two were, following the orders of the 2 percent King Pins in this city, then indeed it will not be hard to replace the kind of city managers which I guess most cities have.
      City Managers when they come into a city need to first find out who will protect them and whose orders they should follow. I suspect that city council people should look out for the welfare of all citizens, and city managers just follow orders and cater to the people who will keep them in office.
      What is so upsetting to Mayor Green is that now he sees there is a new factor in politics, something which politicians have seen all over the world, something that Green never thought could come to Port Orange. Interested, skeptical and questioning citizens, spear headed by a few. The movement will grow. Mayor Green, leave before you have no clothes on. — hank

      • July 2, 2014 at 8:07 am

        Did the mayor say he was looking for interim management replacements? Are we sure that we want his selections? I heard complaints at council meetings from council and citizens about management at department level and the CM not being forthright in his communications. They have been proven to be legitimate complaints. Maybe the mayor thinks council should not perform their duties and citizens don’t have a right to transparent government. I blame the mayor for creating the situation that we now find ourselves in. Look in the mirror mayor and you will see the root of the city’s problems. Now do us all a favor…Go away!


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