james chisholm deltona
James Chisholm

Details are now a mystery, but a deal has been reached for former Daytona Beach City Manager James Chisholm to serve as Deltona’s interim administrator. 

Already at work in Deltona, Chisholm was city manager of Daytona Beach between 2004 and his retirement from that post in 2021.
The pending contract for Chisholm’s services as Deltona’s temporary manager awaits ratification by the Deltona City Commission. When the City Commission approved the tentative appointment of Chisholm to the post Oct. 12, the elected body named City Commissioner Dana McCool as its negotiator with Chisholm. McCool declined to give specifics about the draft contract, saying only that the agreement will be released later this week.

“Yes, a salary was negotiated,” she told The Beacon. “He didn’t get the salary he asked for.”

For comparison, former Acting City Manager John Peters received an annual salary of $165,000. Deltona’s last permanent manager, Jane Shang, was paid a salary of $175,000 per year.

McCool also said Chisholm will receive no deferred compensation, sometimes called “a golden parachute.” 

“Absolutely not,” she added.

Deferred compensation equals a percentage of the salary set aside for a high-level employee and payable upon his/her retirement or departure.

McCool noted Chisholm will not be a candidate for the permanent post of city manager of Deltona.

Chisholm has been at work as Deltona’s interim city manager since Oct. 12 when the City Commission tapped him to fill the vacancy created by Peters’ resignation. Chisholm was chosen from a field of 14 applicants for the caretaker position. 

Peters had submitted his resignation, set to become effective Nov. 17, but the commission abruptly dismissed him Sept. 19. Peters had served as Deltona’s acting manager since November 2020, after the City Commission expressed dissatisfaction with Interim City Manager Dr. Marc-Antonie Cooper and turned to Peters, then Deltona’s director of public works.

When the commission effectively gave Peters an early termination, it named City Attorney Marsha Segal-George as interim manager, even though she said she did not want the responsibility for more than “two weeks.” During her tenure as acting or interim manager, Segal-George suspended Deputy City Manager Stacey Kifolo, whom Peters had hired. 

Details of what led up to Kifolo’s suspension are not clear. 

In any event, McCool said “the very first order of business is hiring a new city manager,” once the new City Commission — new or re-elected members — is seated after the Nov. 8 election. McCool could not say whether she and her colleagues will do the search themselves or hire an executive search firm to receive and screen applicants for the post. 

A great deal of the success of finding the next manager, she added, depends on the outcome of a charter proposition on the ballot. That proposition would amend Deltona’s charter to allow the city manager and city attorney to live within a 25-mile radius of the city, rather than — as now mandated — for the manager and the chief legal officer to live inside Deltona’s city limits.

Peters was named “acting” city manager, which enabled him to continue in the post, even though he lives in DeBary. 

Shang, by contrast, lived within Deltona.

Deltona has not had a full-time in-house city attorney — one living within the city boundaries — for more than a decade. City officials circumvented the mandate for their attorney to reside inside Deltona by saying they hire an outside firm to serve as city attorney, instead of naming a single individual. 


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