The largest city in Volusia County is under new management.
In the latest political earthquake at City Hall, Acting City Manager John Peters is out.
Here are the results of the nearly four-hour political drama that played out before and after midnight Sept. 19:
— Peters, who last week announced his intention to resign from the post he has held for almost two years, was abruptly and suddenly ousted almost two months before the Nov. 17 quitting date he had planned.
— At the urging of Commissioner Anita Bradford, the City Commission voted 4-3 to accept Peters’ resignation, “effective immediately.” A majority of commissioners also rejected Peters’ request to return to his old job as Deltona’s director of public works.
— The City Commission agreed to pay Peters his salary and extend benefits for the next nine weeks until Nov. 17.
— To fill the void in administrative leadership, the City Commission just as abruptly tapped City Attorney Marsha Segal-George as interim city manager, with the intention of contacting the Range Riders for help in finding a longer-term manager. Segal-George asked that her tenure be “no longer than two weeks.” The Range Riders are a group of former and retired public administrators who help local governments find qualified managers, including sometimes recommending one of their own to fill a vacant position.
— Amid questions about three contracts involving the obligations of Peters and the City Commission, Segal-George asked for time to research the matter and give her legal opinion about whether Peters could be forced out immediately or given the opportunity to revert to public-works director.
“There are a lot of topical issues here,” Segal-George told the City Commission.
One of the agreements she is researching calls for Peters to receive 20 weeks of severance pay, if the City Commission terminates him.
“We’re accepting a resignation,” Bradford said.
— The City Commission will convene for a special meeting Monday, Sept. 26, to discuss its next steps to find and hire Peters’ successor. That may involve contracting with an executive-search firm to launch a nationwide recruiting effort.
— The debate leading up to Peters’ exit was often intense.
“I do not want him back in Public Works,” Bradford said, referring to his written intention to resign.
Commissioner Loren King spoke in support of Peters.
“He has made this city what it is in two years,” King said. “He’s been so transparent … and you want to can him because he has moved this city forward.”
“John, I don’t accept your resignation,” King continued. “You’re the best thing that’s happened to this city in 26 years.”
Some in the audience applauded King for his defense of Peters.
— Deltona firefighters, members of a union involved in collective bargaining for a new labor contract, spoke against retaining Peters. One accused him of “lying” about the negotiations and said he had “killed the morale of this city.”
When the time came to vote to remove Peters as acting city manager, Mayor Heidi Herzberg joined Vice Mayor Maritza Avila-Vazquez, and Commissioners Bradford and Victor Ramos to form the majority. Commissioners Dana McCool and David Sosa sided with King in support of Peters.
Shortly afterward, Peters left the meeting without speaking.
What happens next?