Island Issues

Shouldn’t Fernandina Beach’s City Manager And Attorney Welcome A State Audit That Could Clear Their Names?

Shouldn’t Fernandina Beach’s City Manager And Attorney Welcome A State Audit That Could Clear Their Names?

If Fernandina Beach City Manager Dale Martin and City Attorney Tammi Bach are convinced that the city has never violated state statues by charging extortionist-like fees and it has never illegally transferred money from department-to-department in alleged money laundering schemes that violate state statues shouldn’t they welcome the state to ride in and prove that they’re right?

“I think the residents might suspect something Dale.”

If the two have nothing to hide they should be the first to welcome a forensic audit? If the books are clean then so are they. Right?

A City Commission meeting February 7 delivered the Martin-Bach duo a one-two punch by heeding a second plea by local citizen, Glen Stettler, to request that the state conduct a forensic audit, then unexpectedly agreeing to hear a motion by Commissioner David Sturgis to sack City Manager Dale Martin.

Martin was visibly stunned by Commissioner Sturgis’s motion. His plea to the Commission following the proposal sounded like an offer of conciliation out of desperation when he asked for the opportunity to “prove to you” that he “can work with this commission,” which he said, “is a whole 180-degree different change than the previous commission. This commission is totally different without Mayor Lednovich, Vice Mayor Kreger and Commissioner Ross controlling the majority of the votes,” admitted a startled Martin.

He added: “This is a transition period, and I will support this city commission.

Wouldn’t Martin’s endorsement of a state audit display the support he now promises?

Also, shouldn’t City Attorney Bach embrace a state audit that the Commission said it will request to investigate the alleged extortionist building department and impact/capacity fee scam?

The feedback I’m getting from folks in the community, who know a lot about these things, say Sturges should move quickly and force a vote to oust Martin ASAP, and the “Group of Four”, which doesn’t include Martin’s pal, the cantankerous Commissioner Chip Ross, should immediately fire a letter off to the governor requesting a forensic audit NOW.  The termination issue is on the February 21 agenda.

If Martin’s hiding anything and he knows the state’s attorney general’s green eyeshade-wearing auditing team armed with sharp pencils is headed this way he would probably start cleaning out his desk on his own. City Attorney Bach will probably bump into him in the hall with her cardboard box and office plant, particularly after her absurdly insipid “cocktail napkin” defense of the city’s alleged “criminal enterprise” activities.

Bach defended the city’s previous two lost law suits that resulted in $3 million refunds to locals and $1 million in legal costs over fees that she said were generated by “bad math on a cocktail napkin.”

The four City Commissioners need to immediately fire off a letter to the state with what I presume will be four signatures as it is expected the belligerent Ross will doubtless be a holdout. In my opinion the odds that Martin and Bach would support a state audit that could clear them or  condemn their actions are slim and none.


Read All About It Or Maybe Not: Longtime Fernandina News leader and state syndicated columnist Steve Nicklas has consistently and accurately drawn attention to Fernandina’s chaotic city hall mess.

However, on the news side that biweekly’s print  reporter, Julia Roberts, is nothing more than an echo chamber of her own prejudices when writing about city government. Either that or she’s a woefully incompetent journalist. Her entire Wednesday, Feb. 15 story was about a sideshow championed by a group of nagging grannies bent on harassing local businessmen for threatening to invest their own money into cleaning up a few dumpy houses. The developers want to build attractive dwellings people would actually clamor to buy and live in, not to mention boost area property values.

The trembling-voiced, fist-shaking grannies argued that the alleged “Tringali” houses are historic because the Tringali family was instrumental in the area’s shrimping industry. They fail to mention that the Tringali family didn’t build the now near dilapidated dwellings. They initially rented then. They are as historic as the crumbling Front Street Atlantic Seafood building that’s rightfully being torn down before it falls over.

Other local news outlets so far focused on Martin. Should he stay or should he go?  The February 10 News Leader’s headline was about Commissioner Sturges’ motion to fire him. There wasn’t a single mention of  Stettler’s indictment of the City as a “criminal enterprise” and the city attorney being the enabler of that alleged enterprise. Except for the Nicklas column the paper ignored that story.

Not even the shameless sight-impaired online Fernandina Observer, the city’s unofficial PR agency, can possibly justify supporting this doomed duo. Observer pretend reporters and city PR Account Executives Suanne Thamm and Mike Phillips, who never let the facts get in the way of their flimsy defense of shoddy city management, malfeasance, and sloppy legal work, will be hard pressed to defend this steaming mountain of garbage.

George Miller, the editor of the new Citizens Journal Florida also got lost in the weeds with the Tringali nonsense but since that outlet’s site is so difficult to navigate it’s doubtful many saw it. Here it is  If the request for a state forensic audit was buried somewhere in that outlet I couldn’t find it.

Jack Knocke, who headed up the effective “Common Sense” activist group that once provoked citizens to turnout and protest the city’s outrageous fees, came out in support of Martin’s firing in his new role as head of County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF). He also didn’t say a thing about the state audit, which many think is the main event since it would probably accelerate Martin’s and Bach’s dismissal. However, he did list a litany of reasons for Martin’s removal and asked readers to send a note to the City Commissioners if they agreed. Click here to read Knocke’s piece and voice your opinioon:

In addition to the “criminal enterprise” activity cited by Stettler, Martin’s other past actions are indefensible. For example, since he came on board six years ago city staff has grown from 206 to 272 full-time employees – 66 personnel – a 32% increase. The city’s population has grown from 12,550 to 13,364 – just 814 new residents – only a 6% increase. In addition to the marina the city’s money-losing golf course with its huge fiscal fiasco of Top Tracer stands out as a monument to the Martin- Lednovich-Ross financial debacle as does Simmons Park, etc.

Newly elected and alert City Commissioner, Darron Ayscue, made the  motion to engage the state. He’s right, citizens want something done NOW!.

I’ve heard that Mayor Bradley Bean offered Martin an opportunity to resign prior to next Tuesday’s Commission session and he refused. If I was betting on the outcome I’d say he’ll be shown the door by a 4-1 vote this coming Tuesday.

Even retired John Mandrick, who earned the infamous nickname “Pay-to-Play” during the  “impact fee” era, has turned on Martin. In a recent letter to all city commissioners with the exception of the unpersuadable Ross, he voiced his support for sacking Martin and confirmed citizen Glen Stettler’s accusations of financial malfeasance. Following is the letter he sent:

I highly recommend that you terminate the City Manager’s contract for Management failure and fiscal irresponsibility.  The Management failures have been numerous including the selection and replacement of my position in 2020.  First he misrepresented a job offer to Mr. Charlie George to take over the Utilities Department then when he was ready to immediately resign he changed his job description.  Then he filled my position with an unqualified candidate who had no experience in water or sewer Utility management and does not have a Wastewater or Water Operators license.  This decision will cost the City ratepayers millions.  Every five years the City is required to obtain a new operating permit from the State of Florida for our Wastewater Plant.  This process includes a reuse feasibility study. For the last twenty years reuse has not been economically feasible because no one wants to purchase the wastewater discharge for reuse. This has been a very positive thing since it would cost millions in infrastructure improvements and operational costs to make public reuse available. Unfortunately, the existing Utilities Director has not been directed by the City Manager to keep costs to a minimum. In addition, we currently have a gravity discharge to the Amelia river for 3.5 Mgd which costs us nothing. We should fiercely fight for this as our primary discharge in our upcoming permit. So, due to poor Management our businesses and residents of the City will be subjected to ever increasing utility rates. The City Manager has directed a fiscal shell game with funds from the Utility Department covering other enterprise’s debts for years. Then recommending permanent transfers from the Utilities fund for purposes other than Utilities expenses. This is fraudulent use of rate payers money is shameful if not illegal.  

Basically if you look at the last decade for Operational and Maintenance costs for the Utilities Department you will see a drastic change after 2020 due to the City Managers failure to obtain qualified staff. Businesses and residents end up paying for this.

I wish the best for this City and highly recommend you form a Utility advisory board immediately.


 John Mandrick, PE

 Utilities Director Retired

Assuming that Martin is canned next Tuesday and a state audit finds a systemic, long-term violation of state law as implied by Mandrick’s letter and Stettler’s accusations doesn’t that resolve the issue and the future of Bach and other complicit city officials?


Meanwhile Back At The Marina: Former Marina Advisory Board Chairman Dr. Gerald Decker, says some of the arguments concerning the Fernandina Marina don’t add up, and he should know as he is a very smart guy who earned a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago.

The wise doctor of numbers says: “On the Sell-The-Marina front the best marina redo option is to downsize it to cut costs but preserve the heritage since waterfront dockage is part of the city’s identity–just like the beaches, pirates, and shrimp.

“Does it need to be commercial?,” he asks. “Not as much as it is  now” and he doesn’t agree with Bob Allison’s “mudflat proposal because it requires taxpayers investing yet more millions.”

He says selling it won’t fly either. “The last time this came up City Hall was swamped with protesters. You might as well try to sell the city.”

His solution: “What the city commission should do is direct staff to prepare a plan that eliminates the general fund subsidy within three years and that caps the interim subsidy to, say, $300,000 a year……in effect wind down the taxpayer subsidy as rapidly as possible.”

Is he right or wrong? I have no idea.

I understand that the marina advisory board, which hears concerns of boaters, is at risk of being disbanded due to lack of a quorum.  There are currently just three members and four vacancies.  Applicants need to be city residents and don’t need to own a boat, just be concerned about keeping boat owners and fishing boat businesses supported and heard. To apply go to


Alert: Friend,  local resident, and accomplished well-respected international author Ken Timmerman sent me the following adding: “You might enjoy this interview that appeared this morning (Thursday, February 16) with Lisa Daftari on her “Foreign Desk” blog. Lisa is a very smart, very saavy, Iranian-American reporter who has become the FoxNews “go-to” person on all things Iran . I have known her for well over twenty years, as she mentions in this interview. We covered everything from the Biden foreign policy disaster in Ukraine, to the Iranian revolution, the sell-off of U.S. military technology to Communist China, and my advice to young reporters. Here’s the link:

Timmerman’s 12th book of non-fiction, “And the Rest is History: Tales of Hostages, Arms Dealers, Dirty Tricks, and Spies”, can be ordered from Amazon using this direct link:


Up! Up! And Away: The Biden administration says that the Chinese sent balloons over America during the Trump presidency, but they were not detected. Really? If they weren’t detected, how do they know they were here? And if they knew it then how come they were unprepared to deal with one they actually saw? Inept is not a strong enough word to describe this administration.


An Untenable Situation: Until the next election this country is between a rock and hard place observes Bill Shuey, an author and pundit in Georgetown, Florida.

“We are in perilous times”, Shuey explains. “Our titular leader is an addled old man who is prone to gaffes, lies, and long-winded, concocted tall tales. In short, Biden is a buffoon who is devoid of leadership abilities. Throw in a motivation for not wanting to irritate the country that helped him attain he and his family’s wealth, and we have an untenable situation.

“Unfortunately, the only recourse, under our form of government would be his removal from office. That is an unacceptable option because of the mental midget that he selected for vice president. What a swell party!”


Wait! What? “We got to take this stuff seriously, as seriously as you are because you have been forced to take it seriously.” – Kamala Harris.


A Profound Observation: One of the most astute political observations delivered recently was from former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley during her announcement this week that she was a candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination when she said: “Today our enemies think that the American era has passed. They’re wrong. America is not past our prime, it’s just that our politicians are past theirs.”


He’s Baaaack! Of the 49 comments in last week’s blog one fourth (12) were from Coleman Langshaw, who had taken a brief hiatus and resurfaced with a hysterical and frantic vengeance.

Based on his remarks there is nothing on earth or above it that he doesn’t claim to be an expert on ranging from Chinese surveillance balloons to small town marinas.

Local grievance monger Langshaw’s dishonesty, rage, and paranoia about Republicans, conservatives and many other topics were on full display last week.

A number of readers take delight in repeatedly provoking him into expanding his sophomoric rantings that only verify that his pointless and malicious assaults are as false as the silliness he spews about this site’s commentators and their opinions. The more they prod him the more ridiculous his comments become. It’s almost a contest to see who can elicit the nuttiest Langshaw response.

Langshaw believes that his strategy of audacity, verbal abuse and strident dismissal of authoritative, historic and verifiable facts are persuasive tactics but only verify his adolescent foolishness. His short-circuited antics are entertaining to those that find it amusing to goad him, but for myself and others he’s becoming tedious, and we wish he’d just shut up and go away.

However, in order to keep readers amused, I’m not asking Langshaw to stop commenting. I’m asking him to limit himself to a minimum of two responses, one stating his objection to whatever topic he finds most objectionable, and one more to defend himself against the onslaught of inevitable criticism that’ll flow as a result. Any comments after two will be eliminated. It’s an honest effort to prevent him from continuing to publicly embarrass himself.

If you haven’t already read one of Langshaw’s lengthy harangues then grab a copy of the Wednesday, February 15 issue of the bi-weekly News Leader and read his offensive Page 5A opinion-editorial and personal attack on Fernandina marina founder and gentleman Bob Allison headlined: “Old marina design: The greatest mud trap in local history”.  Mr. Allison’s evenly stated and reasoned account headlined “Why do I care” is presented on News Leader Page A4. Judge for yourself.


New Poll:  The last poll posted here asked if the city should sell the marina. “Yes”, said 57%, 49 voters, and “no” said 37 voters or 43%.  A new poll asks if the city should terminate City Manager Dale Martin based on currently available public information.


Things I Wish I’d Said: “I almost had a psychic girlfriend, ….but she left me before we met.” –Steven Wright


John411 - 17. Mar, 2023 -

It is time to pass the trash!

Tom - 17. Mar, 2023 -

You should look at Passero Associates’ contracts and accounting for the airport too! CURPT findings!

Lisa Flick - 23. Feb, 2023 -

There were not just grannies at that Tringali meeting… man stalked my husband, Ron Flick, out of the meeting, used every expletive in the book to include “get out of my F’ing” town( we’ve only lived here 30 years).. and “chest bumped” him. Ron walked back to city hall to report him to the police and of course, the man fled, not to mention the police did nothing. He WILL have security at the next meeting!

Oh, and by the way, the reason the application was not considered that night is because one of the signers of the documents requested by Bach was ill and died two days later. Not a conspiracy!!!!

Nigel K Glover - 20. Feb, 2023 -

One more comment on balloons:
The US has the capability to use sophisticated sensors to search for radio-frequency emissions and perform multispectral analysis.
We can easily search for heat signatures indicating human inhabitation then further explore with high-resolution audio or imaging equipment.
The Chinese can do this from a balloon; but it would be easier if they owned farmland (with antennas) nearby the areas of concern.
Also, if you poke small bullet holes in a balloon, wouldn’t it come down more neatly than using $400,000 Sidewinders?

Missouri - 19. Feb, 2023 -

Can someone explain why an audit is really needed?
Is there evidence (post-censure) that impact fees have been mis-used?
Sure they seem outrageously high, but illegal?
Show me…….

Jake M - 21. Feb, 2023 -

That’s what audits are for.

Missouri - 21. Feb, 2023 -

If you want to waste money—where is the suspected problem that needs an audit to verify?

Missouri - 21. Feb, 2023 -

Where is the beef?

Jake M - 01. Mar, 2023 -

I worked for an organization for 30 years and we had regular audits as well as when there were questions as to whether procedures were being followed. If a bank has never been robbed, then why waste the time and money installing locks? I’m probably not capable of making someone who would question the need for an audit understand.

Jake M - 01. Mar, 2023 -

I worked for an organization for 30 years and we had regular audits as well as when there were questions as to whether procedures were being followed. If a bank has never been robbed, then why waste the time and money installing locks? Sorry you can’t understand something so basic.

Tom Yankus - 18. Feb, 2023 -

Wife Annie reading the ‘fish-wrapper’ this morning said, “why does the local News/Leader put front page coverage for a dead whale off the Coast of Virginia?” Interesting especially with all that is newsworthy going on around our own 2×13 mile island. Your thoughts. Have a good weekend, David.

John Goshco - 17. Feb, 2023 -

Dave – If it weren’t for Trollman Langshaw, your comments section would all but disappear some weeks. Let him speak. You’re not the only one with crazy ideas. Besides, every now and then a spark of reason (yours of his) rises up through the muck of entertainment to enlighten us all.

NEIL BORUM - 17. Feb, 2023 -

Lots of balls bouncing here in Fernandina…the one that scares me the most is Mandrick’s letter.
Scary sh** if you excuse the pun.

Hope the commission does the right thing as they try to repair the damage done by the old lopsided commission and this city manager and attorney.

That has become job one.

JP Morales - 17. Feb, 2023 -

Chip Ross’ full response to citizens’ request to vote in favor of the firing of city manager:

“Thank you for your e-mail and thoughts. I am not sure who “we” is, but you will not have my vote.”

As always, Chip Ross ignores the people he was elected torepresent.

NEIL BORUM - 17. Feb, 2023 -

Got the same

Les Marshall - 17. Feb, 2023 -

Please, don’t limit Langshaw’s comments. The entertainment value is priceless!

Gussie Miller - 17. Feb, 2023 -

Coleman suffers from the classic Napoleon complex.

Coleman Langshaw - 17. Feb, 2023 -

Nice Gussie, going low for the short-person jab. What an intellectual retort! I better be careful, because Dave is going to impose his one reply-only rule on me, even if its a personal attack like your! Can you send me a picture of yourself, so I can return the favor in kind?

Gussie Miller - 17. Feb, 2023 -

Coleman your request is a bit creepy. My picture is probably not the age group you enjoy looking at online..
The Napoleon reference is more about your lack of self awareness which is displayed with your weekly insults and rants.
You are a petit creature but it is not your biggest downfall.
After reading your response above, I realize you do not have the proper ammo up your short flight stairs. I will respond no longer.

Fred - 20. Feb, 2023 -

Oh my! Gussie where have you been? I love it… you are right on point with Coley.

Art Rox - 17. Feb, 2023 -

How City attorney Bach has kept her job is beyond all sincere doubt.Not sure but hasn’t she had the
job for close to 20 years? It would be eyeopening to see a full list of her legal opinions and defenses
of the cities many lawsuits she was involved in which include millions of city citizen dollars paid to
winners of lawsuits she presided over.The numbers would be scary high I bet.As for Mr.Langshaws long
and often tedious replies are well past the time to limit him on the number of them.Two is generous and
a limit to length should be also be included.Just so much one can absorb in one day.Mr Martin should be
shown the door ASAP he is the epitome of arrogance and back room politics.

Patrick J. Keogh - 17. Feb, 2023 -


Get ready for the City Consigliere and others to start campaigning to bring back a former city manager. She was their enabler too and with Mr. Martin heading out the door that’s the way to keep the criminal enterprise and the soap opera running. That’s also how she prolongs her employment. Citizens need to stay focused on the main event which is now the City Commission approved request for a State audit of the City’s administration of state laws. When will the state forensic auditors arrive?

Coleman Langshaw - 17. Feb, 2023 -

Limiting freedom of speech, when all else fails, CENSORSHIP will prevail. Ah the Hypocrite Party in all its full glory. Do you guys really think my feelings will get hurt when Dave finally says no mas, Coleman is done? It will be proof positive that the blog is actually pointless, unless there are real and opposing views and dialogue. It is common knowledge that bullies are just cowards in numbers, and there are many attacking one or two who dare even participate with opposing views; some don’t even use their real and full names. That’s the epitome of bullies being cowards.

Fred “You’re Still Never Gonna Know” - 20. Feb, 2023 -

That’s 2 Coley… LOL What you fail to recognize is this is a BLOG (I mean it says so right on the front page), not a newspaper or a media source. Therefore your “Freedom of Speech” is not impinged. Just like I wouldn’t allow you on my Facebook page to run your nonsense mouth, Dave is free and unfettered to “censor” your BS. Have a great life buddy, we’ll miss your comedy routine.

Moderate Majority - 17. Feb, 2023 -

Dave writes: “The Biden administration says that the Chinese sent balloons over America during the Trump presidency, but they were not undetected. Really? If they weren’t detected, how do they know they were here”? If you didn’t catch that, read it again. It appears to me that Dave would fit right in with those “trembling-voiced, fist-shaking grannies” he pokes fun at. Nevertheless, in an attempt to makes sense of what Dave has written, I’ll point out that the Pentagon and the press has responded ad nauseam with an explanation that all but the intentionally obtuse understands. The data showing that Chinese balloons entered US airspace under the Trump administration has always existed. But no one at the DoD looked at the data real-time, nor did they make public the data when, after the fact, they became aware of it. Under the Biden administration, the Pentagon is actively monitoring the airspace incursions of balloons as well as making it public when it happens. Any criticism of Biden should surround the wisdom behind making the public aware of these and similar events.

TheToadOfTruth - 17. Feb, 2023 -

So, the military is guilty of a treasonous dereliction of duty for not informing the Commandrr in Chief of an incursion into our airspace. Must be that self-important filth Ge. Miller “Vanilli”, who probably lip synced the oath of office. The one where he swore to uphold the Constitution. Time to hang the traitor.

Fred - 20. Feb, 2023 -

So Marjory, you believe that the same military, that supposedly hated President Trump and Congress that tried to impeach him on several occasions, just let those Chinese balloons go literally “over the radar” and wouldn’t have used ANY negative press opportunity to try and defame/remove him? That is hilarious and so ludicrous, I have to just shake my head at your biased and out of whack opinion. I’m with TheToad on this one!

You’re well on your way to taking Coley’s spot as the Blog whacko…

Glen Stettler - 17. Feb, 2023 -

It’s not just impact fees, it’s also to audit building fees.

Please don’t let our elected officials, one in particular, distract because of costs. That implies maintaining an illegal enterprise is more cost effective, which it is, it’s keeping our citizens operating in fear and fleecing them. Be honest at least defend the illegal enterprise in the open, you’ve been part of it.

CoCoNUT Harry - 17. Feb, 2023 -

Veep Kamala Harris, the Joe Biden-appointed “Border Czar” has NEVER been to the border. If you were CEO of a company and never went to work, you’d be fired.

Fred - 20. Feb, 2023 -

She did got to democratic controlled, sanctuary city El Paso. They did remove all the homeless and the obvious ill signs of illegal immigration, so her view was probably just a LITTLE bit better than the rest of the border. Regardless, she has done NOTHING to help alleviate the problem she was assigned to oversee.

chip ross - 17. Feb, 2023 -

E-mail Concerning
Auditor General – Impact Fee Audit
Pauline Testagrose []

Commissioners ‎[]‎
Dale Martin‎; Tammi Bach‎; Caroline Best

Thursday, February 16, 2023 4:22 PM


Good afternoon

I was asked to contact the State of Florida Auditor General with regards to the City’s Impact Fees and conducting an audit. The City can request in writing to the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee for an audit to be conducted by the Auditor General. The Joint Legislative Auditing Committee would then direct the Auditor General to conduct the audit. There would be a fee assessed and charged to the City. The Auditor General could not give me an amount for the audit but for comparative purposes the City’s annual audit costs $59,900.

The Auditor General’s Office did recommend having an outside independent CPA Firm conduct this audit. They felt this would be at a lower cost to the City than what their office would charge. I do not know how much a firm would charge to perform this service, but I can request a quote from some firms if the Commission so directs.

Please let me know which option, if any, you would like for me to make.
Thank you

Pauline Testagrose , CPA

City of Fernandina Beach

204 Ash Street
Fernandina Beach , Florida 32034

Christine Corso - 17. Feb, 2023 -

CPA firms as well as the Auditor General conduct a variety of examinations: Financial, Information Technology, Performance and Operational, etc. As the issue is about the historical and ongoing use of Impact Fees, a request either to the Legislative Auditing Committee (preferable) or to an Independent CPA should be specific to an “Operational Audit”. Based upon the copied response from Controller Testagrose, it does not appear that the inquiry to the Auditor General’s Office mentioned the requirement for an “Operational Audit”. Can you provide further comment on this?

Fred - 20. Feb, 2023 -

So, let’s just say it is double the cost (around $120k) to conduct the audit. That is a pittance in the grand scale of the City’s budget and far less than the $3 million in refunds the City was ordered to give and probably considerably less than the legal fees we’ve expended to enforce unfair and illegal impact fees. The idea that a State Audit is too expensive for us is nonsense!