Denise Bevan will be Palm Coast's new city manager.
The City Council voted 5-0 at a Feb. 15 council meeting to choose Bevan, who's been serving as city manager in an interim role since June 2021, as its regular manager rather than continue forward with an external search.
"Thank you for your trust and support, and I can't wait to take our team to the next step — you guys are amazing."
— DENISE BEVAN
"Thank you for your trust and support, and I can't wait to take our team to the next step — you guys are amazing," Bevan said after the vote. "Those who are in City Hall tonight, or today ... and to all of our staff across the organization. Thank you so much."
Mayor David Alfin made the motion to select Bevan toward the conclusion of the meeting. The city manger search process was on the agenda: The council had been slated to select a consulting firm to conduct an external search.
"Having had a discussion with HR, based on too few applicants and a lack of interest by qualified search firms, I'm reversing course on our search for a city manager," Alfin said. "We have a new opportunity to proceed."
He passed his gavel to Vice Mayor Eddie Branquinho, and made two motions: One to appoint Bevan as Palm Coast's city manager, and another to select a council member to begin the negotiation process by working with Bevan and the city attorney and clerk as needed to draft a contract that will come back before the council for approval.
Councilman Victor Barbosa seconded.
Councilman Ed Danko asked Bevan if she wanted the job. Bevan — who in the past had said that she wasn't interested in the regular city manager position — said that she did.
"I am very impressed with your performance lately," Danko said. "I want to personally thank you. ... You have my support."
It was a shift for Danko, who'd clashed with Bevan in the past.
"This is a beautiful thing, to invest in our organization," Barbosa said.
Councilman Nick Klufas said he continues to have faith in Bevan's leadership.
Only one person spoke when the council asked for public comments. The man, a W-Section resident, said he'd recently spoken with Bevan for the first time.
"I don't think there's anyone more qualified, more dignified, than her to be our city manager," he said.
As Branquinho gave the final yes-vote in favor of Bevan, he banged the gavel in celebration and rose to his feet, leading fellow council members and the city staff members in the audience in a standing ovation.
"From the bottom of my heart, congratulations," Branquinho said. "... I know that everything you do, you'll have this staff in the back of your mind."
The council chose Alfin to negotiate with Bevan.
Asked after the meeting why she'd changed her mind and opted to accept the regular city manager position, Bevan said, "It's a journey, right? It's about growing relationships with the stakeholders and community, City Council, our amazing team. So it was really about the journey, from 15 years ago this month starting with the city of Palm Coast, to today."