Inside and Outside the Peyton Circle of Trust

July 17, 2007 8 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Who's In Who's Out? Maybe Dave Flagler should join up with John Culbreth and Randy White and start a club. Maybe they could call themselves the 'Outsiders' or the 'Uncool' or the 'Problem-Makers'.

Who is Flagler? Flagler is the ex-Animal Shelter Director and the latest victim of the Peyton administration's axe. Mr. Flagler apparently found himself outside of the circle of trust when he placed duty to service above duty to Bossman by circumventing the mayor's office and going straight to the City Council last year to request funding for a new animal shelter. An animal shelter that has been planned for a long-time but has been quagmired in bureaucracy and completely ignored by Mayor John Peyton. As a result, Mr. Flagler was forced to resign last week.

The dismissal came after Peyton appointee Alan Mosley said he received "reports" of mismanagement in the shelter. In a public records request for these reports, Mosley said there was nothing documented - that it was all verbal. All this while the number of animals brought into Animal Care & Control facilities has increased 36% in 3 years, while funding has lagged behind at less than 24% growth. Oh yeah - and there is still no new shelter built.

So what does Flagler have in common with Culbreth & White? You may remember that Culbreth was pushed out less than a year after the administration wooed him and Peyton said he would "be a terrific asset to the City of Jacksonville... "His extensive experience and dedication will be crucial in helping to meet our goal of creating an urban park system that is not only the largest in the nation, but also one of its best." Culbreth came to us from Fulton County, Georgia. Peyton's experiment in bringing in "outsiders" apparently failed miserably.

Randy White is the man who most recently got the short end of the stick, losing out in the position of Fire Director to a Peyton right-hand man. White is an actual fire fighter and has been for many years. But...he didn't have a college degree. One of the supposed reasons he was passed over for the Fire Director position.

And yet for every ying, there is a yang. While Jacksonville-bred politics hasn't been kind to Flagler, Culbreth and White, there are a few that have paid their dues to Jacksonville and/or the mayor that have benefited nicely from the system and it's Head.

This all-star lineup includes Brad Thoburn, Dan Kleman, and Kelly Boree. You may remember Thoburn as the vastly unqualified "interim appointee" head of Planning Director who received a 20% raise once the Mayor (and the rubber-stamp Council) approved of taking the "interim" out of Thoburn's title. Interesting note: Remember how Randy White didn't get the Fire Director position because of his lack of a college degree (ordained by city law)? Well, those pesky laws were waived (via the Mayor's request and the Council's approval) for Thoburn.

You may not be as familiar with Kelly Boree, who joined the City of Jacksonville as a recreation planner in February 2003. Boree took over for Culbreth. Apparently, she wasn't good enough for the position in November of 2005, but was the woman for the job just a mere 9 months later when Culbreth was forced out. We stand in childlike anticipation of Ms. Boree's ability to get the funding for the new shelter.

Most recently, Good Fortune has smiled down upon Dan Kleman. Kleman has been part of Peyton's team for at least two years - his chief administrative officer. And he has no experience whatsoever as a firefighter.

In a recent Times-Union editorial, State Representative Audrey Gibson wrote, in regards to Kleman, 'So, what will he do when he has to go to a major fire? Delegate? And, how will that delegation occur? Will he ask the assistant chief, the battalion chief or the linemen what to do? Does he know whether to send the hazmat team or a ladder truck?' Good points. But why bother with the details Representative Gibson?

If I could buy their stock, one thing is for sure. While Mayor Peyton is office, those in his inner circle stand to do very well. Being a financial advisor, I only wish I could buy stock in these friends of our Mayor. I'd have a "Strong Buy" recommendation on the following Peyton staffers: Adam Hollingsworth, Steve Diebenow, Alan Mosley and Dan McCarthy. Time will tell, but I bet I would be able to cash out and make a fortune 3 years from now.

Kevin Conner