Deltona city government is beginning to mirror Port Orange’s ?

Last Modified: Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 9:19 a.m.
Deltona city government is beginning to mirror Port Orange’s. Until recently, that would have been considered a compliment.
For many years, Port Orange was a model of efficiency. But over the last several months, it has suffered from crippling political dysfunction. It appears a strain of that governing bug has migrated to Volusia County’s westside.
After City Manager Dave Denny retired in August, Deltona city commissioners agreed on how to search for his full-time successor. The city would put out a request for proposals to hire a consulting firm to run the search, a process that would take about 30 days, concluding before the Nov. 4 elections. Afterward, the consultant would meet with commissioners to write a job description and other materials that would be used for a help-wanted ad in government publications. A new city manager would be in place early next year.
That timeline jumped the rails in October, though, when only two search firms applied. Vice Mayor Heidi Herzberg criticized city staff for advertising the RFP in just one online forum. Herzberg said several executive search firms told her they didn’t apply because they didn’t know about it.
Other commissioners expressed disappointment in the slim pickings, with Chris Nabicht saying they were “misled” into believing they had to choose between the two applicants rather than having the option of rejecting both.
So it’s back to square one. That fundamental sloppiness was an avoidable error that set the process back weeks, if not months.

Next came a dust-up involving Deltona’s human resources director criticizing the city’s contract with the firefighters union. Tom Acquaro, who helped negotiate the contract that was adopted in September 2013, sent an email last year to an attorney and a human-resources consultant that said the City Commission “folded at the 11th hour” and that “Deltona has the worst contract in the state (from a management perspective)!!”

A city firefighter presented the email to commissioners during an October meeting. Nabicht, a retired firefighter, expressed outrage at Acquaro’s missive and urged Acting City Manager Dale Baker to investigate.

After a 23-day inquiry, Baker declined to take action against Acquaro after noting that his predecessor Denny had already given the HR director a “stern verbal warning” about the email. The incident, though, was not mentioned in Acquaro’s personnel evaluation, in which he was rated outstanding.

However, at their Nov. 3 meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to direct Baker to fire Acquaro. Before the vote, Mayor John Masiarczyk feared the motion would invite a lawsuit against the city. Meanwhile, Mike Williams, president of the West Volusia Branch of the NAACP, told the commission he was appalled by Acquaro’s verbal reprimand and expressed concerns about the city’s handling of African-American workers.

Herzberg threw caution to the wind. “If we don’t get a lawsuit this way,” she said, referencing the motion to fire Acquaro, “we’re going to get a lawsuit from the NAACP or someone else, so bring it on.”

What a mess.

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4 thoughts on “Deltona city government is beginning to mirror Port Orange’s ?

  • November 11, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Deltona has always been a mess, is still a mess, little match box houses that would blow over in a real storm, inadequate shopping, high crime , no job opportunities, lot of churches with people praying in foreign languages hoping that things will get better. and a bunch of dummies running City Hall. Who the hell in their right mind would want to live there???

  • November 12, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Take a look a POGTV. At Tuesday night’s council meeting, the Mayor clearly instructed the head of code enforcement to take action against the abandoned church off of Williamson. Council members are not allowed to direct city employees, the only one council can instruct is the City Manager and the City Attorney. The direct instruction of the employee is a violation of the charter? Will someone please tell the Mayor to stop harassing employees and telling them what to do. Why didn’t the City Attorney tell him to stop? Is the Mayor out of control?


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