Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks sent an email to Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts, Palm Coast City Council members and the press April 1, writing that Netts "apparently has a problem reading,” and demanding the city sign her proposed interlocal agreement for the upcoming city elections by April 2.
Weeks said Netts had commented on WNZF radio about a March 28 letter from Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to Weeks, in which Detzner asked Weeks to cooperate with the city to hold city elections, and wrote, “Your arrangements with the City of Palm Coast for conducting its elections should be the same for conducting other city elections in Flagler County held in conjunction with the 2014 primary and general elections.”
Weeks had previously indicated she might not hold Palm Coast’s elections, then said she would. But on March 17, she presented the city with an interlocal agreement riddled with accusatory language and provisions not present in her interlocal agreements with other cities. One, for instance, would have allowed Weeks to bill the city for lawyers fees if the city made any changes that Weeks decided to consult a lawyer on, and another would have allowed her unfettered access to any city-owned or city-managed facility for elections if another location not owned or controlled by the city became unavailable.
Weeks said Netts’ comments on WNZF that the city should have the same interlocal agreement as other cities misinterpreted Detzner’s statement.
In her email, Weeks wrote, “The Secretary clearly stated in the 3rd paragraph of his letter below that my arrangements with the City of Palm Coast for conductin its election should be the same for conducting othe city elections in Flagler County held in conjunction with the 2014 primary and general elections. Palm Coast is the only city to hold their elections in conjunction with 2014 primary and general elections therefore there interlocal agreement will not be the same as the interloacal agreements that were issued to the other cities for their city elections.”
Weeks' April 1 email is posted in full and unedited at the bottom of this story.
Palm Coast officials had planned to discuss Weeks' proposed agreement at a special March 25 meeting, but the city canceled the meeting March 24 after Weeks announced in a March 23 email to the press — but not the city — that she wouldn't be there. Weeks wrote in that email that the city should have discussed the agreement with her at its March 18 meeting, and that they shouldn't even try to negotiate with her about the agreement, and should instead simply sign it.
The March 18 City Council meeting was less than 24 hours after Weeks sent the agreement to the city, and long after the agenda for the March 18 meeting had been set, city spokeswoman Cindi Lane said.
The Palm Coast City Council will discuss an interlocal agreement for the elections at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. April 1.
Email from Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks to Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts, Palm Coast City Council members and the press, April 1:
From: Kimberle Weeks
Date: Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 8:27 AM
Subject: City of Palm Coast 2014 Election Agreement
Mr. Netts apparently has a problem reading and understanding what the Secretary has stated in his March 28th letter to have informed WNZF radio to report on the radio yesterday (March 31, 2014, that he expects the same interloal agreement for the city of Palm Coast that the other municipalities received for their elections. The Secretary clearly stated in the 3rd paragraph of his letter below that my arrangements with the City of Palm Coast for conductin its election should be the same for conducting othe city elections in Flagler County held in conjunction with the 2014 primary and general elections. Palm Coast is the only city to hold their elections in conjunction with 2014 primary and general elections therefore there interlocal agreement will not be the same as the interloacal agreements that were issued to the other cities for their city elections. The other cities are fully responsible for the independent elections, they pay for 100% of the costs of their elections and they canvass and certify their elections. When the City of Palm Coast chose to move their elections to be held in conjunction with county primary and general elections they chose to no longer have independent elecitons.
Many of the provisions of the interlocal agreement were put into place for the protection of the voter and the process to ensure the election could be conducted in a fair, accessible, efficient manner. The Secretary of State pointed out at the end of the 2nd paragraph that it is my responsibility as Supervisor of Elections when administering elections to conduct the election in an accessible, fair and efficient manner. The City has a history of being insensitive of voters needs and of cooperating of when it relates to voting, let me provide you with a few refreshers:
1. Polling location directional signs were removed from polling locations on election day by code enforcement and my staff dumpster dived to retrive these signs. Removeal of these signs prevented voters from easily finding assessibility to their polling location which could make an election unfair, and this is not what the Secretarty wants when it comese to voting.
2. School Board Special Election information signs that were paid for with tax payers money were removed by the city during an eleciton that informed the voters of an eleciton to improve voter turnout. Removal of these signs does not encourage or promote voter turnout, nor does it make voting fair when information related to voting is removed to keep the voter uninformed and this too is not what the Secretary wants when it comes to voting.
3. The City of Palm Coast would not be a team player when the elections office asked them to advertise in their City Newsletter of upcoming elections without attaching a price tag, which the Supervisor of Elections had not budged for, and that would most likely not have cost the city anything to include in their scheduled Newsletter.
4. The City refused to allow the Supervsior of Elections Office to consider City properties (such as fire stations) as polling locations when the Supervisor of Elections was doing redistricting and it was necessary to do some precinct changes again without a price tag being attached.
5. When the Supervisor of Elections expanded early voting sites in Palm Coast in 2013 according to Mayor Netts the City Manager had authority to handle the matter without it going before the City Council, but apparently he wasn’t capable, and he was not as concerned about the needs of the voters as I was. What Mr. Landon was interested in was having any expenses for Palm Coast City elections waived, and changing me a facility use fee, and restricting the voters to the smaller rooms that did not provide the greatest amout of convenience, accessibility and would not allow for the elections to be conducted in the most efficient manner as the Secretary of State expects. When taking the matter before the City Council, it was sad to hear Councilman Bill Lewis make the statement "I'm not sympathetic with someone not being comfortable with standing in the rain or a long line. ... That doesn't bother me," City Councilman Bill Lewis said Monday. (- See more at: http://www.palmcoastobserver.com/news/palm-coast/Front-Page/093020137905...)
Because of the attitude of the City, their lack of cooperation, understanding and compassion they have for electorial process many of the provissions placed in the interlocal agreement were put into place to prevent them from minipulating and micromanaging the 2014 primary and genreal county elections so my staff, pollworkers and I can provide the type of service the voters expect and deserve. Voters can be rest assured that elections that are conducted under my administration will be fair and honest, and there will be no minipulation and outside interference or minipulation. Provisions were put into place to gain the City’s support in an emergency situations, and the City is being held fully responsible to defend their City charter (ordinances and resolutions included) just as the Secretary of State stated should be.
It is believed because the interlocal agreement for election services was emailed to the City Mayor and all the City Councilmen and none have emailed the elections office, called, or come to the office to discuss the elections or any part of the interlcoal agreement that they have no questions, and therefore it is hoped they will put the Secretary of State’s concerns to rest by entering into the interlocal agreement for election services I have provided them so we can continue to move forward with eleciton services. If they choose to not enter into the agreement, they must accept full responsibility for needless election disruption and confusion to the voters of the City of Palm Coast. The City of Palm Coast interlocal agreement for election services is due in the Supervsior of Elecitons Office by Wednesday, April 2, 2014.