Deric Feacher (Business)
All right. Thank you. Thank you so very much. Um, as she stated, I'm Deric Feacher and I am privileged to have this opportunity to come and sit with you all today about how being the next city manager of Daytona Beach. I think I have the qualifications and the credentials to help to continue ( inaudible). I try not to stand behind the podium.
Thank you, sir. To keep the trajectory of, of this community going forward. I spent a lot of my, pretty much, my entire career, 21 some years, working in local government, helping to transform the very fabric of communities and neighborhoods, helping to grow development in area, bringing in. Individuals from for commercial. And industrial, that has been part of my, my career. And, and so I, I want to have the opportunity to, to serve this community. Um,
I'll just be very clear. I'm not running from anything. I have a great job, have a great elected official. I have a community that is truly thriving. I mean, it is, it is thriving. We've got over 50. It's the business area in front of try to tailor my comments.
So you went with 53 new developments coming into our. We're, we're going to have over the next three to five years, 10,000 new residents. Coming to our community. We have an industrial park that is thriving and bustling.
Within one year the carvana distribution center. I was a$30- $40 million development with 400 employees that they said it was going to take five years ago is already at full capacity. You have workers working and that development is an operation in less than a year. And the question that if you were to talk with. The Carvana team, they would say why in the rural, uh, how, how are we able to do that? Because I understand the value of making sure that the tax burden, is not placed on the citizens, that if we can bring in these types of commercial developments, it helps us with the ad valorum taxes that come helps for us to create change in our community.
We had that it's, an accelerated permitting process. And although we have citizens that are, Oh God, they have, the traffic is bad and all that. The value of what they were bringing to our area was something that I knew our development team had to, not put barriers up, ut put things in place to help them move forward. but not only. Those types of things that, development in the larger industrial places, but commercial development is coming here, our master plans, and we are going to be doing, just tell the plans just came in last week, that.
It was with two hotels, eight additional restaurants, townhomes, single family homes, condos to the area. That that's going to spur areas within the CRA that will help that CRA to thrive. Um, it's something that we can. Focus on and that I focused on, but not all not forgetting the small businesses that are already opening, how do we help them to build up and expand their offerings that they can go from having two or three employees to maybe six to 10 and eventually grow. And so those are the things I've been focusing on and in perspective to the business is removing barriers, and giving bridges for people to do work. And not only with, large businesses, but small businesses. And bridging the gap between communities.
I have a large African-American Hispanic population that I work with and there are small businesses that have been in a community on what I call the similar to the Mary McLeod Bethune area that needs to thrive. And then I have a similar area like the beach. Street that needs to thrive, in the community. And so I know the area, I've been here and walked around and actually met with some people in the bu siness. Community over the last, um, they said what does Brown and Brown, Brown and Brown.
Provides us with our risk management and our insurance. And actually my CFO, serves as the chair of their consortium for risk management, from Haines City. So those areas I know in the development of that taking place in what we do of removing barriers for people to do business. Um, and I think the chamber is aware. I have a great track.
To be honest with the local chamber and the EDC. In Winter Haven, they are still trying to at times to see if I would come back to the area, but my working relationships. With, with the winter Haven chamber, um, economic development council, the central Florida development council, it's been good, but also with.
Smaller groups. And so regardless if you are with a, the CEO business alliance or with the Midtown redevelopment group is all about how do we bridge the gap and improve all of the community in every area of that. So I will stand.
For, for, for questions that you may have. Um, that's just an opening. I didn't want to go over all of the background of who I am, but I spent 21 years serving local governments, trying to help them transform the trajectory that is taking place in Daytona. There's great work happening on the west side of the County, from the new outlets to the Dave and busters, the latitude Margaritaville areas. The new single family homes. And now how do we work with our neighborhoods,
from the beach side onto to, to the Midtown, to the downtown, to Derbyshire. To Jimmy Ann and areas to really, bring growth for a living, but also some commercial and industrial users and some of those who do I do, I select the people. So go ahead, start, give me your name. Rufus Johnson I own the local Geico insurance company in town and a member of the chamber as well. I just question you have a great job relationship as city manager of Haines City, why come here. Like I said earlier, not running from anything. I mean, I have a great commission. Um,
I had a great city. It is growing when I got there downtown. Um, I was trying to find a place to eat now. Different restaurants and wine bar coming a cigar lounge coming in. I thought it was really at first, just, uh, you know, a hot dog and beer now doing wine and cheese. I'm really getting in there. [Inaudible].
I want to be in Daytona beach because I see what's taking place. I left here in 2001, the only reason I left here, I was working at Kaiser university doing community relations and government relations. My grandfather passed away in Tampa and my grandmother refused. She refused to move from Tampa to Winter Haven where her other children were and the only person that they could get to move and not care what she says was me. So I went in, I just started moving her, you know, it, you know. She had a lot of money. Um, you know, my grandfather, that was the key thing.
One story that I like to tell that she didn't think that my grandfather had additional insurance on themselves. You know, she says, thinking that she's thinking you're on the books, but you know how men are, we do certain things we shouldn't do. But he had extra insurance. So she got (inaudible) so I started moving her and I told the city manager.
In winter Haven when I came there, cause I went there and I just pick a recreation job, just I needed something to make money. And I said, if I stay here, I'm going to be the city manager. And he said, Oh, you work at the recreation center. I said, yes. So he actually, brought me to city hall and made me, put me in charge of communications and marketing.
I see. And I actually worked my way up. I did every job. In the city of Winter Haven, I rode on the back of a garbage truck and picked up trash in my own neighborhood because he wanted me, I said, I want to know what every staff member does when I went on this internship. The reason I want to come here is because. Um, Mr. Chisholm and his team have done a great job of growing the city.
It's in great financial, fiscal responsibility the trajectory, is there. The bones are in place for the growth that is taking place. Now I want, I think that, with him leaving, it allows me who does have a background in neighborhood revitalization, bringing groups together. I'm doing CRA I'm working with, the, the small business minority groups. I'm working with the, the, the, the CEOs, you know, my relationship with the, the CEO of LEGO Land with the. CEO of Carvana and one of the.
The largest land users, um, in, in, in, in Haines city has been great. So I know how to do that. Um, we've had a golf course, minor league baseball team, which. The stadium is still there is all of those things. I did that. And so in that's here, but when I ride around.
Um, and some of the areas, and see some of the neighborhoods, I want to improve that. I don't want a CEO of a business to have to live in Ormond Beach to have to live, you know, in port orange, or I have to, I want them to have those quality places throughout that they can choose in any neighborhood, regardless of where it is, and not just in certain locations for them to thrive. And I want the residents here to feel that, and I think I bring a unique perspective to the area where I'm able to bridge the gap between groups that may disagree and have them come to some, some type of understanding of how we grow together. Because if one community thrives, we all thrive. And I just, I let's just be honest, second Avenue, which many of you know, it's Mary McLeod Bethune? How can Mary McLeod Bethune connect the Brown and Brown building and Daytona state college and not be some type of innovation business laboratory where students are able to thrive where you've got it.
Connected to a large business, you know, on one end and on beach street. And that growth goes all the way to the back. Daytona state college. There should be some synergy that takes place.
It's between the private sector, the public sector in the college system to create laboratories where these students can take their training and expertise and put in. The workplace. My friend, Jake Kiker, who is an attorney developer in Tallahassee. Also he's my personal attorney. He's actually the person that, created my LLC. So I can do consulting work for, um, educational institutions and government, which I do have a consulting consulting firm, but he created what they call the Domi station in Tallahassee.
It sits on the railroad tracks between 48 and university in Florida State. And they all worked together with, (inaudible) community college. Now, this is, almost like a business incubator, but it is a training lab, that the high-end legislative leaders, the local chambers and the EDC and the development community work with These students, why shouldn't we have students at the UCF substation, other Bethune, Cookman school of business, or Embry riddle, um, helping some of these small businesses do business plans or building websites or building technology to help the small businesses grow. But also working with the large companies and these different attorneys that are all on that on Seabreeze Blvd. A little far up companies that are down on, on MMB that they can help them, that they don't have the capital to build their website or to do business plans. How can we get them all together in these students? You know what, there's an opportunity for me here that I don't have to take my, my expertise and go any other place.
So those are the things that I think that that is one idea that's been sitting in my head. For the past three months. I'm telling you right now, that was the first thing I been having innovative.
I have had working with the colleges. And university just like Domi station in Tallahassee that I know we can find a location here because I see the value of that particular enterprise. And if you go on their website, the students that were coming in there and getting these $5,000 and $10,000 grants from five from the city and five from a private entity, they have multi-million dollar companies now in Tallahassee. So this gentleman was.
I'm gonna go over to this lady and then gentlemen, in this (inaudible) I'm an architect in a way I did the master plan . And of course the enthusiasm from what that was going to forward was terrific. And all of a sudden the enthusiasm died. You've heard of, [inaudible] definitely being hired to renew that master plan.
As of about two months ago, we're starting to work on that. Uh, and, uh, what you're saying is highly encouraging to me and to us, uh, and, uh, in the interest of teeing it up for you, could you give us a couple of anecdotes of how you have seen yourself in the past, uh, be a functionary of making the higher education piece of the city and the city itself, all the more successful I'll be slicing left or right. I play golf, but it's, it's nothing to talk about, I may not be able to get it off the tee. But you did. Oh. So if I, if I get the chance hopefully someone can teach me if I, if I did get a chance to come here. Uh, I think that the relationship between, the city and the education.
Institutions are essential for a thriving community. I've been able to work with two presidents, at Polk state college, Dr. Arlene Holden and Dr. Facchinetti that, Holden actually tried to hire me to do governmental relations. And I think that synergy is there.
For that to take place. And I've made it a essential part of what I do with the staff that we serve with the local colleges and universities in our area to work. So we can build bridges and help have an understanding how these are important to be. So I've actually just said. How can I serve? How do we serve? How. Do you serve on some of our committees? We actually created Hayne city university, which is a internal, um, training program working with the local technical schools in the local colleges and some of the local businesses to offer our employees because every employee does not want to go to college. Every employee doesn't want to get a degree, but how do we intertwine them together that they can get additional training to help us. And then how do we work with not on the colleges and university,
but the, the K through 12 and every community that I serve, I've wanted to make sure that we have, um, people that can go to school from pre-K through college. Um, I'm working so hard to get a college campus built in. Um, the city I'm currently in the headquarters. College was in Winter Haven where I came from.
And so we offer classes now at the local high school because of the relationships I'm doing. I believe that's the same thing. Here. I'm working with, um, the different presidents of, and universities, which I have actually talked to, all, all of them, except for one, um, about how do we build a bridge, for this area? Yes ma'am. So I'm Jane [inaudible]. I run the Volusia Manufacturer's association, and this is a big, big challenge that we have the average wage and being in manufacturing is $58,000 a year. a nd you said, you know, and the average County is 35 is 35 five. What we need,
the challenge that we have is we have jobs. We have training, we have funding for the training, and I know you're familiar with hope. They've got a lot of advanced m anufacturing, better, a new program coming out, advanced manufacturing technician will not find the people put in the training to pay for their training to help them get the jobs. Y eah.
Biggest challenge. We've been working on that for years. So I'd be interested i n just your, how you would approach that. That is very important if you don't know if you've read that the, the ILC industrial park in Winter Haven. Um, I sold them the land. Um, it was just vacant land for many years, and now,
you know, million square feet of space coming to the area where one of the things, the challenge is we have working, trying to get workforces is People can't get to where the new property is going to be the buildings where it is people don't have the, the, the, the jobs, like you said, that the funding is there through the colleges, some for the training and, and all that. And so we've, we've created things of working with them to find employees for them, and also work to get the transportation. Working through, um, Polk transportation, to get buses that take people and incentivizing those routes. And so the main thing is just the city trying to come to the table and say, let us help you find the workforce. Uh, and then what's the barriers for getting people to go.
The training. And sometimes people are afraid that they don't qualify and this having the right people to talk with them. And that was the difference with Carvana, um, and sofa Dale, um, type locations is that we found city was offering trainings, helping to get the training to them and get the people to their locations and finding a way to say, these are good jobs. What are the benefits? Uh, and that's the thing, but you're right. Some people, let's just be honest,
some people right now just don't want to work. And I'm just, I just be honest, but you got to make it where the benefits, uh, that are available are, will be something that they can actually raise a family, um, and have a good place to live in. And those are, these are discussions that I just have to have with, um, groups like you to understand and try to be that conduit, to communicate to individuals who think that they don't qualify the Hey there's training available, just get in the door, do what it takes, and then you can propel and then you get it. I mean,
you eventually get a good wage. Yes, sir. Charles Cherry, we own a media here for 45 years. the Daytona Times, thank you.
And it focuses specifically on specifically black Florida, and essentially Black America. Question Where, where did you this, uh, can you describe your vision of Daytona in five years under your leadership? This is for the of press [inaudible]. I will say this though. Um, the, the, when I'm paying the city manager, uh, uh. Of winter Haven, uh, you may not know, you probably can go back, but the Daytona Times, um, wrote an article about, um, uh, Deric Feacher becomes an alum of Bethune Cookman becomes the youngest and first minority to serve as city manager in winter haven. And so y'all gave, and it was a good picture. I had, it was nice.
I actually looked a lot younger. My beard was black. Um, and so can, if I do get the job, could you put that picture back up and send that to the news-journal as well? But, but in five years. My expectation is that, um, first we will be a very clear, transparent organization that makes sure that everyone knows and not saying Mr. Chisholm and his team. Doesn't, I mean,
there's a great communications team here. Um, but one of the things I always wanted, some people, everyone doesn't read the newspaper, everybody that doesn't, you know, um, looks at a website. So very transparent of doing these, what I call, um, coffees with the manager, our community updates on projects affecting their area, but also the areas that, that can draw an additional resource. So that is one thing. What I do believe is that we'll have, neighbors, neighborhoods, um, transformation taking place in regards to working through code. Um, you all call it code enforcement. I called it code compliance where people are building up their communities and they see value, uh, because the, the West side is happening.
I'm really going to be focusing on the infrastructure improvements with the leadership of the, the elected officials. How do we get resources in, in our community to help deal with some of the infrastructure improvements that they can't see? Because a lot of people don't realize infrastructure may, um, improvements are taking place, but people can't see it. So they say nothing's happening in my community. Well, if you tell them that if we don't get this utility line in the ground, that there's going to be problem, and Susan's back there is gone, you know, she's going. To be writing and speaking that if we don't get this in. The ground, there's going to be major flooding that happens in your community.
So we've got to share that whole concept of the infrastructure improvements taking place, and I've been able to do that, working with, different developers. And, and I think that understanding happening for our large land users downtown of, of winter Haven, Bud Strain and his group started working. And now I know Mr. Miller was in a different meeting. So I know he's from the city. And community, I'm in Florence, Villa, winter, but.
He knows how the streets in the, from similar to, Dr Mary McLeod Bethune went from the, the, um, the historic African-American community, all the way to Cypress gardens Boulevard on the, on the waterfront that this one road connected. And I worked with those developers to say, Hey, you want to make sure that people. That are coming to your, you know, upscale restaurant steak restaurant and your, your high rise building, that the community, they come through, looks just like it is. So it's a seamless transaction. So they understood that. And that's where we bring the group that showed the value, Dr. Cherry, that,
that if, if we improve one area and improves all with it. So I would really be focusing on, neighborhoods in my vision, how do we improve it, that the businesses, uh, I want make sure that the businesses. On beach street get people coming to their restaurants and the businesses on, Mary McLeod Bethune, get people coming to enjoy engagement and entertainment. And so that's the concept of working with them, making sure that the staff knows that we work for the people that we're going to remove barriers and bureaucratic practices to allow for people to thrive. I tell Richard Greenwood, he's been, um, a development services director for about 30 years planning. He told me,
um, about a couple of weeks ago, once staff, you know, it didn't get in the newspaper and Polk County until yesterday. I mean, this whole meeting, applying for this now has been up here all day and people have tagged me on Facebook so I took my Facebook down. So I went, you know, but it's been, but it didn't get in there too yesterday, but I've talked to Richard Greenwood who's I asked if I can put him down. And he has been doing this for 30 years, um, as a development services director, and he's gone through, I think he said 12 city managers. And he says,
you are the first city manager that truly allowed for me to do my job and remove barriers. And he said that he sometimes. He sometimes have a problem, but most of the, the, the policies that are put in place, they don't come from any elected official elected official doesn't come and say, you make this land, um, regulation development code. You should put this code in place. Most of them come from the,
employee to the elected officials. So if it's something that keeps causing a burden to the developer, the business community, or the community member, um, why don't we change it if it's legal, just because , it's there. Why don't we try to, if, if people are trying to do something in zoning and it works, why, why are we keep fighting and find a way to get the yes, it's our model? How do we get the yes. And so in the first five years,
you'll see where people have. And the ability to do better business with the city, but also, um, how do we improve the neighborhoods? I'm going to be focusing on that while we still trying to bring in those commercial, industrial users and help those business owners that are currently. Here be elevated. Yes. Sir. Thank you. We'll take your name. Yeah. Phil Maroney, that's pleasure involved in different businesses in the area. Um, and you've mentioned, I kind of double research on everybody.
I saw you're fairly active on social media. You mentioned your consulting business, et cetera. And, uh, I think Daytona Beach is a full-time job. I'm curious. Um, how many hours a week you spend on your consulting business versus your city? Man, I've stayed. Uh, you can, you could ask, uh, the, the, uh, the staff and the elected officials evaluation, as you said, I need to take time to myself. Um, I'm pretty much up moving at the office, um, about seven o'clock and they be there until eight o'clock the consultant.
It's something that they allow me to do. I'm like, don't do it as much. Um, I spend a majority of my time with the government. I go to stuff in the city. Um, and that has been a question where people said, do you do the consulting work? Or you don't.
If you talk with elected officials and you talk to the citizens, you talk to the chamber, EDC, they, I guarantee you, there will not be one person only, maybe one or two that I might actually know that they don't want. There may be one or two that don't want me to have a consulting job, even though other managers prior to me, um, had consulting, um, responsibilities. Um, they will tell you that I spend more time going from a, a CEO event to a little league football event in my community because I believe those young people need to see me.
People need to see me also, but, but all that, I promise you that I will be dedicated to this community in both of the cities that I worked in. If you, since you're busy, if you were to call the chamber, um, if you were to call the, um, the EDC boards or the CFTC, they will tell you that they're probably can, if you can't find a more dedicated manager, um, to the area in my service. But I do understand that, um, I, one of the things that was in Haines City, they didn't (inaudible) , no one really knew who their management team was, or they elected officials. One of the things they told them, they wanted to make sure that people felt that you were a real person.
And I agree. Some people are like, you shouldn't have that, that social media, or you shouldn't have your consultant firm. Um, and if that's one of the things that elected officials decide that they don't want me to do those. And so that's just something that's negotiated in the contract, but from the president of the colleges, from the CEOs of the businesses, um, downtown from the different, um, economic development councils and chairs, they know I'm up in the morning and I'm working. Um, and I don't, it's not an eight to five at the time for the staff I work with we're directors, we get paid big bucks. And so that, that is the case. And it's really as a large business or a small business on a small city, that's not going to be an issue.
[Inaudible] or some contracting business of the chairman of the chamber. I'm really impressed with everything that I've seen so far today. I'm looking through your paperwork and correct me if I'm wrong. It seems like the other cities, and you've worked in smaller towns, smaller bodies. Um, how do you feel, you know, Daytona's a little bit bigger.
How do you feel about that challenge and speak to that? It's a challenge. Money is money. People are people. Growth is growth. Development is development. People always say that. I don't know if, Mr. Chisholm came from a community of 16 years ago at the same size as, um, Daytona beach. Um, we have everything that Daytona Beach has in the communities I've served.
From golf courses, too. Uh, minor league baseball, um, to tourism, to special events, um, Ironman, um, came back to us when they were. Major hurricane in Panama, we have our own army, but when it has hurricanes and Panama city, they need to move somewhere within two months. Um, me and my team are able to host that Ironman in two months because we had the infrastructure and staffing in place. So it really is not about how money,
how much the budget is, or how many people it's about how you manage a community and how you manage growth. Growth happens. As I stated, we are the fastest, It's a growing city in the state of Florida/ pretty much, yeah. We have 53 development projects going through different. Phases that will add another 10,000 people. In five years, we got a major master plan. That's coming in place.
That's going to add in one set area, up, two hotels over. I know, 500 apartments and town homes and single family homes, six or seven restaurants. We have a (inaudible) place that's going to be right behind downtown. Um, city hall. That's going to add up a parking garage, going to an office and retail. Development services and the business incubator.
So it's really not about the size for me. It's about how you manage the growth and the continued growth for here. If, if you're, if you, if you guys are looking for someone that served the community the same size as Daytona beach, that's not going to be me. Um,
but if you're looking for someone that's dedicated to helping to transform the lives of people, transform communities, help businesses continue to thrive and not put bureaucratic barriers in place. I am the right man for the job, um, because I know how to do that. I know the relationships I have to be honest. I've been offered to go other places. No, I haven't taken them because I, with I'm satisfied working.
I got a great salary. Um, um, got it. Great commission got great wife got a great community I live in. it's an opportunity to help this community that's already on a great tr. This community. That's already on a trajectory. Um, like no other to now bring some of the West growth to some of the industrial park areas the commercial and the residential, and just continue to make this, make this place the best that it can be. And it's not about money, it's money.
I'm not going to do anything illegal, unethical or immoral. So if you've got somebody that's not going to do that, it doesn't matter if you got 500 million or if you got $1, a person is going to be unethical or immoral or, or do something unlawful, whether it's a dollar or a million. And so I think I can, I can, well, not think I know that I can do this job working with the business community. And as I stated, you can pick up the phone and call the chamber, the EDC, the central Florida development council. Matter of fact, you can call.
Kelly Starter. Who's the appropriation chair for the state of Florida, call Sam Kilagrew who's a legislator. You can call, colin Berlin, you call Congressman West, or are you card call congressmen. These of you that I worked with all the time that are on both sides of the aisle to help, to transform communities that have had meetings with me, with my, my constituents about the great things. And these are people that have told me or Grady judge, sheriff of Polk County, you can call these just with on yesterday. Um, these are people that I work with every day.
Regardless of if you have a $2 billion network or you have a $50,000 network, it's about how can I help you be the best that you can be? Um, I'm curious in your vision, be a large business compared to Haines city and no offense, but a little bit larger on that. I'm just wondering how that fits in. It's funny. Uh, evidently I, um, when I, I was the, when I went to the Harvard Kennedy school of local government program one summer, um, I was the best negotiator. Um, but yeah, so, but Lego land, Florida, um, people think it was in winter Haven. It was not in winter Haven. It was his own little Island, um, right on the outskirts. Um,
and if you were to call. Katie, Warren's I got CEO Merlin entertainment that really did. I mean, you couldn't communicate, well, I got them to annex into the city of winter Haven and pay an additional 400,000 dollars in taxes. They are a theme park with two hotels. Um, the only visitor is coming all the time. Uh, and it's because I want them to say that you keep saying you earned winter Ha ven. Where's the value.
So we may not have as much as a tourism people coming to the area of winter Haven, but we do have a company that could have gone anywhere in central Florida when they were looking. And they're actually looking on, I drive on where they, Oh, I think it was wet and wild or water maybe. And it's closed down to go. And they came to our area and because of the relationships that we had feel with the EDCs and chamber of sports marketing tourism So I, I can handle those things. Like I stated, especially for haines city,
when I never would have thought that Ironman. Would come there. But if you were to contact the iron man group, when they were looking for a spot when their iron man closed down in Panama city, they said they were looking for a spot that they knew could accommodate all of our, our athletes and put on a good show.
And within two months the same thing that they get every April that's coming up in April, they got from us that in two months that we normally prepare for, for an entire year. And so those are the things that tourist market. Was there. Um, but I think that I used to be here when it was a spring break in me, you know, the young people, uh, we really. You want to create an environment and I want to partner with the community to create an environment where we have families that are coming all the time, that the college students, they don't want to leave. They want to stay here and work. Um, and it's just a matter of working with who's already here to make sure that that happens and that we're able to improve the Seabreeze boulevards of the world for entertainment and the beach street.
The A1A that people come and not only come there, but they also go to one daytona, go out to the Dave and busters, um, near the outlet. And so those are the things, but everything that you guys have here, I've dealt with in, in, um, in winter Haven. And we just happened to have some very good, um, celebrities. Played in the NBA and, and all of that live around the corner from me. Steve you didn't, you didn't play in the NBA. You, you raised your hand, I thought. Okay. Okay. Right here, this, this young lady was before you.
Uh, yes. You've mentioned in your presentation that excellent presentation, by the way, um, the things that you've done in your community, I think are parallel to what we need to do here. And you've used the word transform, uh, a lot. Um, I'd like to know, uh, based on your research for Volusia County, what do you think if you were the elected official would be your greatest challenge and how would you tackle that challenge. As the city manager? My greatest challenge, because I'm not here in, in really is to try to show what I can offer because Mr. Chisholm has been here for 16 years and done a great job as far as him, um, you know, for some individuals he's, he's excellent. And for some others, they say, no,
he hasn't done great. But my thing would be my biggest challenge will be, how do I bring the enthusiasm that I have to the staff to show that we are here to actually help this community thrive and grow that yes, we're going to have people that they don't want additional growth. They don't want, they you're going to have, I I've already heard it. Well, it's so much goes on on this side of the tracks. And there's nothing that happens on beach side and there's not economic.
My goal will be trying to get through the challenge to say, we're, we're one Daytona. Um, everywhere I've gone, I've had the one city, one vision mindset. And I bring that to all staff that regardless of all the differences of the communities, we're one, if I'm going to be driving to your neighborhood, I want to make sure that the neighborhood I'm driving out of has the same appearance. When I go down Ridgewood, I want to make sure that, um, when people come to Daytona from Holly Hill, port orange and all over South Daytona, they know that they are in a great community because how it looks when you come and that we are one.
And I think the biggest challenge is just getting you all to, to, to know that I'm here in dedicated, just like, um, gentlemen and back that I'm dedicated to this job and not my consulting firm. Um, you know, and that's, that's the key, um, that I want people to know. And that's what I will do until they told me they no longer want me in this profession. Um, every other meeting, they can make a decision that they don't want me and I wouldn't have done this for 21 years if I didn't know that would happen. I have now.
Um, for, four people that I'm really responsible to my son serves in the United States on, uh, my grandchild first grandchild this morning, March the fourth, and he's married. So as long as my wife, my son, my daughter in law, my grandchild are happy with me. I'm fine. I don't want to be in the front page for doing something illegal, immoral, or unethical. How much I get paid, the title that I have really doesn't bother that doesn't bother me. If this job is not available for me, I'll go and find it. I'll find another one. Or I'll go back to where I am, but I don't let the title.
Now don't let the job in the pay and pray. Those are the four people that make me happy. And so, as long as I'm here doing a good job and they're pleased, I'm also pleased because in the profession that I'm in, I know that I can be gone in two weeks. And I,
and I've been dealing with that since 2001. We have time for one last question. Interesting question. You have it. Yes.
Yes. Um, city. Of winter Haven, um, uh, commissioners, a freshmen, uh, commissioner had been on the commission for a couple of months. Um, he ran on pretty much the pension plan . Uh, for city employees in the plan. So they came in and, and I did everything possible. Um, I got a blue ribbon committee of actuaries. Attorney CPA, augers I'll because I said, what I presented say, if that we didn't need to resolve it right now, we needed to, but these are the things recommendations I made. Right? Well, new commissioner did not agree with that.
Got two other commissioners that say, let's do something else. I co selected a, um, committee, uh, actuaries insurance people, as I stated, they got together. Went through all of this stuff, it and brought back pretty much the same recommendation.
I'll make a presentation at the commission. The commissioner says, Oh, city manager has done his job. Now. That's not for the elected officials to do that job. That wasn't good enough, the commissioner, the new, freshman. And wanted me to still, um, get rid of it. And I refuse to do that,
um. Because I knew that it would cost us more. Um, and they said to use me to try to figure out, should we, we closed for new people, but you need to be paying if you close the whole, like, there's nobody who's paying into the pension plan where you got employees still working and sometimes government plans can be a problem.
So I do understand that. So that went through the process and that commissioner, um, did not, um, like that. And then another commissioner came on. And signed on, even though I had this received above average, a couple of months beforehand, you met the, uh, the stuff I had just received above that from the same commissioners, except for that one new commissioner. Um, I had received above average on the,
um, this, up in the next, that same commissioner. He got him to go along with it. But the odd thing is this is the commissioner that was friends with me. Like we were friends, not associates. We were friends, went on trips, football games and everything. Well, he, he got.
Terminated from the previous city manager for doing something And he won the election and that city manager left. And, uh, and then a position for deputy city manager came for. And I would not hire him because I thought that was wrong. It's an enterprise, you're on the commission. And I saw him and then he chimed in to go along with it. So although the president of the chamber, president of EDC, she's like, where's the chamber for the EDC, the president of the college, the largest landholder in the city of Winter Haven um, that had, did over 2 or 3 hundred million ininvestments. Um, downtown, when I got there,
there was one store at 2:00 PM. I was standing in the middle of central Avenue and there was all were boarded up except for one. Now they have over these 12 restaurants down there, we've got law firms. We got, uh, housing, affordable housing to $1,800 for one bedroom from we had all of them came and spoke. All of them spoke at the meeting and says, what are you on the chamber? Wrote a letter and came to the meeting and said, this gentleman has removed barriers for us to do our work here in revitalize our entire downtown, our entire community. Why terminate him,
the conservative newspaper, the ledger who very seldom wrote columns about a point they wrote a, I asked you to keep it. I mean, I, sometimes I open it up when I'm at office, when I'm feeling bad. they wrote that [inaudible], that they wrote one of the best editorials, um, that reads on before, um, because I truly was dedicated and I made, I made some people mad and there were some, there were some employees that could not get onto my yes program of how would we get to yes because we put heard from them, but they all spoke.
And I was, I was extremely honored. And that is what made it so easy for me at a meeting to just say, these are my, these are offers. One door closes. Another one will open. And they wrote back, they're like three other cities want to be city manager.
And they tagged those cities in an article saying, if I were you, I would order this and I can tell you. So I've been in Haines City four years. I went to Hanes City. I had to get in my car and drive miles to go get something to eat.
There was one restaurant downtown and 47, five restaurants, all of the dilapidated buildings, like I said beforehand, I thought I was, went to a community, was beer and hotdogs. [inaudible], [inaudible] a wine and cheese bar. I'm happy. We've got real estate school, law offices offices opening up CPAs coming out now. And the city, the, there was a block behind the, the city that was a block with a dance studio.
And so I'm going over to the lady that owns it, older lady. And I said, ma'am, we need this offer. She's like, well, it's gotta be like $2 million. I don't have $2 million. And we need to start to sit down and try to buy this property for many years.
And then I realized, like they built the new city hall on the property that is adjacent to her. When they told her they were going to buy her property. It's like the story out here. So she had been holding out for long. So it was more than 1.5, 1.8 million. I think I got it from 900,000. Wow. 900,000.
Then I contacted, um, Derek Dalton development who have been looking at properties downtown which b uilt a resort in Haines City. And this great (inaudible), the resort is in the CRA money with [ inaudible]. They had their own water park, their own ballroom. Um, they got a first house when you walked in there for like $750,000 home and I'm going, like just was shocked. Um, so I, we got with him, he got other, so he, it's not a public private partnership. And behind city hall, we're building a car garage, we're building space for office and retail and residential, which they hadn't had residential downtown for 60 years, HR director, he keeps driving and he texts him now. Yes. So they terminated you from that spot where if you were to look, you will see change in downtown and maybe she knows she stopped having that.
Hey, um, and, and now the same thing is happening there. Um, that's here and I can promise you all of this, um, that I will be available to have conversations, um, and remove barriers. Carvana normally takes two years to opened up a new one of their distribution centers. They did it in nine months in Haines City. You know why? Because before it got to the commission, I made sure everything was right. And I told staff, this is a development that will change the corridor, of an area. So whatever barriers that we, I think elected officials, not the community that we put up, we need to pull them down and make them thrive. And I said that same.
So when they did that night, that same dedication has to be done for the small business owner. Now, when you have something, you know, as in the business sometimes business people are a little pushy, but it's okay. I'm being transparent. That's what I want here. So we have the developers at that time, they would go, how can we get more permits out? And I'm going. So I opened it up and let you in all your permits.
They want to bring in all their permits. So we have a process. Cause when you've got a place that was having, you know, 10 or 15 permits pulled every three months, and then you got a hundred and 150 permits, just single family homes coming in. 50,000 units do different things. [inaudible] and it took me about two and a half months. [inaudible].