Editorial: Regan buys $4,500 worth of worthless plans

Just two months after they held their first meeting, on April 11, 2018, well before City Manager John Regan ever reviewed any of their work product or had a clue what was happening with his hand-picked volunteer group, dubbed the “Confederate Memorial Contextualization Advisory Committee”, City Hall wastes $4,536.41 with their sweetheart draftsman Jeremy Marquis for artist renderings that are destined for the trash can Tuesday morning.

Funny how the City Manager, who was out-of-country and on “vacation” during much of the time his contextualizers were contextualizing, and who was not attending meetings, was able to place an order with detailed specificity that described a plan for the drawings that went against what citizens requested and commissioners unanimously approved in October of last year – a plan concept, but the way, that the committee would ultimately come up with “on their own”.

You can bet the farm that Regan will be in full Duck and Cover mode Monday night, ducking blame for the completely unacceptable recommendation of his committee, and covering his ass trying to save his job.  There are rumors of tar and feathers and the Flagler System donating use of a rail, well that’s how I heard it.

The cozy relationship between Fred Halback and the City of St Augustine goes back to ex-city manager Bill Harriss.  But, since Marquis has moved into the driver’s seat and after he hired Michelle Regan, John Regan’s daughter, while she tried to assemble any kind of resume that didn’t include fast food, the money from the city has just kept on growing.

Historic City News investigated the past three-year’s spending by the City with Marquis Latimer + Halback, Inc.  Surely they must qualify for some kind of award, perhaps the “Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award”.

Total spending with Marquis in 2016 totaled $15,396, but that more than doubled the following year.  In 2017 the City of St Augustine raised their stake in Marquis’ success to $47,455 for conceptual drawings.  Keep in mind, Marquis is neither a licensed architect nor licensed public engineer.  Nonetheless, as we checked in through the close of business midyear, they’ve already doubled last year’s spending in 2018 to $92,737, a $200,000 year for Marquis buying conceptual drawings prior to specific commission approval and spending top dollar for them only to be thrown away.  City management did the same thing producing conceptual drawings for the artificial coral reef scam that was proposed but never built at Riberia Pointe, and there are others.

Is this the type of fiscally responsible spending you want and expect from a professional city manager who you pay $ 164,110.59 every year plus benefits?