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Palm Coast Tuesday, Jun. 1, 2021 1 year ago

CITY WATCH: Palm Coast to stop using secret list of 'difficult citizens'

Also in City Watch: Wastewater treatment plant capacity to double.
by: Jonathan Simmons Senior Editor

Palm Coast's "naughty list" will no longer be used: The Palm Coast City Council voted 4-0 at its June 1 meeting to stop using the city's list of difficult citizens as council members apologized to the public for its existence, saying they'd been unaware of it until it was revealed in a Daytona Beach News-Journal story last week.

The list had been created in 2016 under a former city administration, on the advice of a former City Council member who believed that city staff deserved a fair warning before dealing with members of the public who were known to their fellow staff members to be engage in harassment or threatening conduct.

The list's existence was not publicly revealed, and it had only a few dozen entries. Those who were on it weren't made aware that they were, and there was no process through which they could remove their names. 

"I realize that this was put together possibly with good intentions to protect our city workers: I think we do have to protect our city workers," City Councilman Ed Danko said. "But a secret list is no way to do that. It's like something out of East Germany, as far as I'm concerned."

Government should not be putting people on lists without giving them a chance to defend themselves, he said. 

"If we have a list, we need to have some form of due process," he said. 

Danko made a motion that the city stop using the list.

Councilman Nick Klufas agreed with Danko that there should be a notification process, "So if you're on this list, you know, and you have the ability to appeal."

Municipalities, Klufas added, should be transparent.

Councilman Eddie Branquinho agreed while emphasizing the value of warning workers about potentially dangerous residents, noting that one man had said after a recent council meeting that he'd put a gun to the head of any city workers who showed up at his house. 

"I think that should be noted," Branquinho said. 

The council voted 4-0 to stop using the current list and create a new, more open process.






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