On May 1, 2018, Michael Gerard Cullum succeeded Martha Graham as public works director for the City of St Augustine. Cullum, who promised, but never delivered, solutions to protect city residents from the effects of sea level rise and “sunny day” flooding, was the $112,250.27 a year (plus benefits) creation of fellow professional engineer and city manager John Regan.
On the afternoon of Friday, May 22, 2020, under the subject “Thank you!”, Cullum sent an e-mail to serve as his “two-week notice” to Regan and Assistant City Manager Meredith Breidenstein, saying;
“The time has come for me to move on to other endeavors. I am pursuing other options in the field of Resilience on a State‐wide and Regional basis. As I pursue these opportunities, I must tender my resignation as COSA’s Chief Resilience Officer.”
Cullum appears to have advocated for whatever projects Regan wanted to see done. Some Historic City News subscribers are calling his performance “a pattern of failures” and allege that Cullum will be the next “carpetbagger” to flee the city before they are held accountable for their actions.
In Monday’s commission meeting, one of Cullum’s notorious projects, riddled with logical fallacies and more political than scientific, was questioned. Comments were critical of overstated claims of urgency and effectiveness involving the city’s purchase of a dilapidated cottage using emergency reserve funds, known by some as the “Coquina Avenue land grab”.
No explanations were made by Regan for the current conditions at the property as we enter the summer hurricane season.
Cullum praised Regan’s recent hiring of “an outstanding biologist” to compile the Management Plan for Fish Island, another Regan pet project.
Hinting at the circumstances Regan faced during Martha Graham’s departure and Cullum’s arrival, Cullum wrote that his resignation comes after Regan had “successfully transitioned the Public Works, Utilities, and City Engineer duties to a truly talented and committed staff that is committed to the future of our City.” Is he saying that city staff under Graham was not talented or committed to the future of our City?
Saying it “has been extremely rewarding”, Cullum thanked Regan “for the opportunity to serve the City of St. Augustine as, first, the Public Works Director, and most recently, as the Chief Resilience Officer.”
“My last day of employment will be June 5th,” Cullum concluded.