After a hectic Memorial Day weekend in Daytona Beach, where bridges had to be shut down due to crowds and safety concerns, the regularly scheduled commission meeting June 2 proved to be pretty tame for Deric Feacher’s first official meeting as city manager.
“I feel welcome. Staff has been exceptional in providing me with insight on what we are,” said Mr. Feacher at the meeting. “Hopefully communications you have received from me have been appropriate.”
He proceeded to discuss a notification system found on the city’s website where city staff as well as residents will receive alerts as events occur within the city. He further stated, “I will be sending out a memo to all of you that deals with the transition plan for me and staff; how we’re going to go about communicating to our citizens, how we’re going to try to engage them, and work with you all to accelerate the visions and goals and objectives that you have based on the constituents that you come in contact with every day.”
Mr. Feacher stressed the importance of upcoming community meetings “that we’re going to try and coordinate, just to hear ideas from the citizens and the staff, and meet the citizens and also be prepared that I can bring something to you in January about how we will move forward based on the ideas and the direction we’ve got from the people who elect you to office.”
He added, “I’m open. You can call me anytime you want. We’ll look at some deficiencies and effectiveness to make us much better. I am excited to work with these individuals and figure out how we can make sure that citizens and visitors and business owners believe in us and that you all support us as well.”
Mr. Feacher’s first official day was June 1. As city manager, he is responsible for implementing the policies of the City Commission, preparing the city's annual budget and ensuring the city operates in a fiscally responsible manner. As the city's chief executive officer, Mr. Feacher, 44, is responsible for the day-to-day management of all operations of city government. He has 20 years of senior level executive experience managing local government.
Also in the meeting, Mayor Derrick Henry initiated some discussion about a resolution aiming to extend development rights under the MLK Lofts Planned District Agreement by two-years from the date of approval of the resolution. The development will provide an 82-unit affordable housing project without restriction as to age. The property consists of two acres at the southeast corner of South Martin Luther King Boulevard and Eldorado Street.
“I just want to make sure that we as a staff make sure that our manager would check to make sure what else you guys are doing over the next two years besides sitting and waiting to receive the tax credits for the property,” the mayor said.
After some other speakers and discussion, the motion carried 7-0.
Much of the commission meeting involved commentary about the crowded weekend and compliments for the police department on how they handled the crowds.
Police Chief Jakari Young said. “To say the least, we had a very interesting weekend. On the beachside we had multiple events scheduled for Saturday, we had the concert series on the Bandshell, we had a block party on Main Street, and then we had the unsanctioned event of ‘Orlando invades Daytona.’ I asked officers to do three things and I am very proud of them because they did all three. I asked them to pack their patience, pack their professionalism and, above all, do not panic.”
As for the bridge closures, he said, “I would rather have some of our local residents upset because they were delayed than to deal with what could have happened. I did that out of an abundance of caution. We are going to do a better job of messaging.”