Flagler Beach

King Sworn In as Flagler Beach Mayor; Spradley Appointed Commission Chair


The City of Flagler Beach has a new mayor as of Thursday night. Patti King was sworn in to her post for her first three-year term, taking the mantle from the outgoing Suzie Johnston. Meanwhile, Commissioner Scott Spradley was appointed Chair of the City Commission by his colleagues, taking the body's leadership post in his second year in office.

King was elected mayor without an opponent, showcasing either the full confidence of the city in her to execute the job, or the lack of interest in inheriting its at-times thankless duties (most likely both). She has served for years as the Director of the Flagler Beach Historical Museum, which is in the same building as City Hall just adjacent on the south side.

On Thursday, King took her oath of office and replaced Johnston on the dais, as did Commissioner Eric Cooley after besting challenger Bob Cunningham for a third term in office. Now-former-Mayor Johnston bid farewell to her job of three years, the city sending her off with gratitude to focus on family for the next season.

The decision to appoint a new Chair was a little less smooth than the mayoral non-race. Three names were floated throughout the discussion: Scott Spradley, James Sherman, and Rick Belhumeur. Each had their own case for the job; Belhumeur has been serving as Vice Chair for the last two years and thus would traditionally get the promotion, Sherman is in the last year of his first term and thus may not get another chance, and Spradley had generally won the favor and confidence of his colleagues to lead.

Initially Spradley tried to push Sherman as the next Chair, but Commissioner Jane Mealy rallied instead for Scott himself. Though Sherman expressed appreciation for Spradley's advocacy, he too ultimately supported Spradley. Belhumeur held that the informal line of succession seemed to dictate that he ought to be made Chair, and reminded the room that he very much wanted it. He's been Chair once before, and has for two straight years earned his colleagues' trust to be Vice Chair. It was not enough. Spradley gave himself the third vote to be appointed Chair.

The decision for Vice Chair did not carry as much controversy; the entire Commission, Belhumeur included, voted for James Sherman to take the secondary leadership post. Belhumeur had received a second for his self-nomination to become Chair by Eric Cooley, but the pair were not joined by the requisite third vote. Cooley had recently received assistance from Belhumeur campaigning for the former's re-election, including a busy schedule distributing signs across the city.

Commission Chair Scott Spradley will helm the body's meetings for the next year, until the seats held by Jane Mealy and James Sherman are up for election and a new Board is sworn in. If Sherman is re-elected (he's said he'll most likely run), it stands to reason he may be appointed Chair after Spradley, though the Commission also may deem it fit to let Belhumeur return to the center position after all. Belhumuer's own term expires with the 2026 elections, and so if he weren't made Chair next year he may not get it again at all. The norm would be to promote Sherman (provided his re-election) and find a new Vice Chair, but on Thursday this Commission showed it's not married to tradition. How much that trend continues will be discovered under Spradley's leadership.