PALM COAST, Fla. – Palm Coast City Councilman Ed Danko was re-appointed the city’s vice mayor on Tuesday, making him the third Councilman in history to hold the post for back-to-back years. Danko was given the unanimous approval of his three colleagues in attendance (Councilman Nick Klufas was absent).
The decision to keep Danko as vice mayor continues a trend not previously seen in Palm Coast – three straight vice mayors have held the position in consecutive years, after none having previously done so in the city’s history. Klufas was the first re-appointed in 2019 and 2020, and then Eddie Branquinho served as vice mayor in 2021 and 2022. Danko was appointed for 2023, and he will now continue in the role until his term expires in late 2024.
The primary duty of the Palm Coast Vice Mayor is to act as chair in City Council meetings if the mayor is absent. Under the first term of Mayor David Alfin that opportunity has rarely arisen, but the job became crucially important when Branquinho ascended to interim mayor following the resignation of Milissa Holland. Branquinho’s job helming the Council until Alfin’s election was praised.
The only point of contention that arose during the decision to keep Danko was the absence of Councilman Klufas. Mayor Alfin proposed the City Council delay the measure until the following meeting so that Klufas could be in attendance, but he was met with opposition by Danko. “He’s not here and that’s his choice,” Danko said. “He’s missed a lot of meetings, and the rest of us have not missed a lot of meetings […] I don’t think we can delay something just because somebody keeps missing meetings.”
Neither Councilwoman Cathy Heighter nor Councilwoman Theresa Carli Pontieri offered opposition to the idea of voting on the vice mayor and other Council appointments without Klufas, and so Alfin accepted consensus and moved forward with the vote. Klufas’ social media indicates he was in the United Arab Emirates the day of the meeting.
As of now, Danko is not planning on seeking a second term on the City Council; he has instead chosen to file a bid for the Flagler County Commission. Danko is allowed by the Palm Coast City Charter to seek re-election, and still may do so in a subsequent election. He’s currently running against former City Council colleague Victor Barbosa and local realtor Pam Richardson for the District 5 Commission seat currently held by Donald O’Brien. As of now O’Brien is a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives, but rumors persist that he may drop out of that race and instead seek re-election.
The list of vice mayors in Palm Coast history is now the following: