Lauren Johnston to Remain as Acting City Manager

Recently, the Palm Coast City Council voted to retain Lauren Johnston in the acting City Manager position until a permanent replacement is found. Johnston has served as Assistant City Manager since the hiring of Denise Bevan as City Manager. The City Council decided she’d be suitable for the job until the hiring process is complete.
The majority to retain Johnston was formed by Mayor David Alfin and Council members Nick Klufas and Theresa Carli Pontieri. Ed Danko and Councilwoman Cathy Heighter dissented.
Councilwoman Pontieri made a motion at the previous City Council meeting to keep Johnston on until a permanent City Manager was hired, a motion which passed unanimously then. Ceremoniously speaking, the Council had already approved Johnston. The item in Tuesday’s meeting was to ratify her contract.
Johnston first started in Palm Coast’s city government in 2011, when she started as a recreation supervisor. She was promoted to Parks & Recreation Director, then Assistant City Manager, and now to acting City Manager.
She hasn’t yet indicated any interest in inheriting the permanent position, but Bevan herself began with the same disposition. The process of hiring a permanent City Manager is among the most time and resource-intensive for a city government to take on, often resulting in major resources dedicated to either conducting the search or hiring a third party to do it. Last time that process yielded no suitable candidates, leading the Council to keep Bevan, the acting City Manager for the last several months, instead.