Former Port Orange City Manager Greg Kisela resigns his position with the City of Destin just hours before he was to be fired.
BREAKING NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
By Savannah Vasquez
Posted Apr 14, 2016 at 5:35 PM
Updated at 5:37 PM
Destin City Manager Greg Kisela announced plans to retire Thursday morning via email to city council members.
“I appreciate the opportunity of having served the citizens and community of Destin,” the letter reads. “The city has a tremendously talented and dedicated staff working tirelessly to make Destin a better place to live, work, and play. I have been honored to have served with you and them during my tenure as your City Manager.”
But at least one councilmember said Kisela “retired” as members were discussing whether they had confidence in the job he was doing.
“I know there’s been a lot of issues pop up in the last week or two that has put a lot of pressure on the city manager and staff and there has been discussion of a vote of no confidence that would have been brought up at council, but obviously now it’s mute,” said City Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell, who for several months has been feuding publicly with Kisela. “We are just facing a whole bunch of controversial issues, and he’s definitely been feeling the heat.”
Kisela did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.
This will be Kisela’s fourth career move in five years as he moved from Destin city manager to Walton County administrator to city manager of Port Orange, Florida, before returning to Destin in August of 2014.
Kisela’s announcement comes just four months after he received a 1-percent pay increase, boosting his annual salary from $119,704 to $120,901.74. Many council members said that they were surprised by Kisela’s retirement, but could feel the tension rising.
“We go through city managers pretty fast in Destin and I don’t know why,” said Councilman Cyron Marler. “Kisela has been the best city manager I’ve ever worked for. I’m sad that he’s going to leave us, but you know life goes on. I texted him (Kisela) back and forth and he said, ‘It’s all good. There’s no major problems,’ so I just figure he’s had enough and I don’t blame him.”
Councilman Jim Foreman said he remembers Kisela’s first time serving as Destin’s city manager from 2003 to 2011.
“We go back a long ways. I was on the selection committee on the council the time he was first hired,” Foreman said. “The fact is I think he is a great city manager and has done a lot for the city of Destin.”
However, Foreman said even with all Kisela has done for the city, he believes some issues on the comprehensive plan are what ultimately persuaded Kisela to retire.
“He’s been caught up in some of the controversial things,” Foreman said. “We have really struggled over the last years with our comprehensive plan, particularly in land use, and I think this current bunch of new council members largely came in trying to force those issues. I hate to see him go, but I could almost see it happening.”
According to the city’s employment agreement, Kisela will remain in office for 60 days until June 16. Moving forward, the council will now look toward finding a new city manager.
New councilman Chatham Morgan said he wants to invest extra energy into this selection process.
“Typically, the council will launch a head hunting search but I don’t know if that’s our best approach,” Morgan said. “What I would like to see is for us to look at cities that have parallel challenges to Destin and see how they have reached success and try to learn from them.”
Some Destin Citizen Comments
A little more history on Destin’s City Manager, Greg Kisela, and what he does when elected officials speak out against him.
“This is how Greg Kisela operates as a PAID with YOUR TAX DOLLARS city employee when YOUR elected officials question his management of the City. Remember they are elected and donate their time to make YOUR city a better place for you and me, and they depend on him and city staff to give them transparent guidance, not back door deals for those few he favors.”
“During his last tenure in Destin, he attempted to get then Councilman Dewey Destin in trouble for violation of the Sunshine Laws, after Destin made a Motion for his dismissal in a Council meeting.” It is our understanding he filed a formal complaint against Dewey Destin with the State’s Attorney’s office that never amounted to a thing.
“While in Port Orange, he attempted to file Sunshine violation against one of the Councilmembers there, Bob Ford, who was one of his most outspoken critics AND also against another man, Ted Noftall, who was on City of Port Orange Audit and Budget Board.”
“On June 30, 2014, Greg Kisela resigned with the City of Port Orange and began his employment with Destin in August 2014. But nearly two and half months later from his resignation date, on September 15, 2014, he is writing a follow-up to his August 1, 2014, request about Mr. Noftall and clearly stating he is turning it over to the State’s Attorney for violation of the Statute and law.” Two more failed attempts to give those who speak out against him a black eye.
Note: Bob Ford is still a seated Councilmember in Port Orange, and Ted Noftall is running for Mayor of Port Orange.
“Now, on October 21, 2015, in Destin, Florida, Greg Kisela, who is once again the City Manager, haphazardly turns in another elected official, Councilmember Ramswell, to the State’s Attorney’s office for misuse of a City issued credit card. But by week’s end, it is discovered that he himself has also used his own City issued credit card for personal purchases. When that appears to fail, 10 days later, same Councilmember receives a threatening letter from the very individual(s) Kisela favors in Destin. Now Councilmember Ramswell will receive legal representation at the cost of the City, through the use of YOUR tax dollars, all because of a witch hunt by Greg Kisela and those he favors.”
Note: While we do not believe Ramswell has ever spoken out against Kisela, we fully believe she has gotten too close to information neither him, Matthews or Bos want the public to know about.
“How is it this one man, YOUR City Manager, paid with YOUR tax dollars, has not been fired by YOUR elected Mayor and YOUR elected City Council? He is an employee of the citizens, not a dictator to YOU or YOUR elected officials.”
Write your Mayor and City Council today and demand answers to these questions. This one email address will deliver directly to all their inboxes.
The Destin Revolution has begun.
We The People of Destin