Sebastian city manager dodges no-confidence vote, but more voices are yet to be heard

Sebastian Welcome Sign
Sebastian Welcome Sign

SEBASTIAN — City Manager Paul Carlisle survived an attempted no-confidence vote Wednesday, but that doesn't mean he may not be on even thinner ice in coming weeks.

Citing issues of fiscal and personnel mismanagement — as well as poor relationships with the City Council, city staff and the public — Councilman Bob McPartlan called for a no-confidence vote at the end of Wednesday's council meeting.

The effort failed when no other council member seconded the motion, but that didn't deter McPartlan, a former councilman and mayor, from reading aloud his personnel evaluation of the city manager.

TCPalm obtained a copy of the evaluation Thursday.

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“I view this City Council as equivalent to the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” McPartlan wrote, "with Mayor Jones acting as the Marine commandant. If that body had a commander who is failing in fiscal management, morale, planning and relationships with the public, they would not leave that person in command or in a leadership position.”

Carlisle did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.

Sebastian's evaluation process

City Council members prepare written evaluations of charter officers — the city manager, city attorney and city clerk — rating them from 1-5 in 23 categories, with 1 being “Does not meet expectations” and 5 corresponding to “Exceeds expectations.” McPartlan rated Carlisle 1 in 20 categories and gave him 3s, meaning "Meets expectations,” in three categories.

In his evaluation, McPartlan included three pages of comments, citing Carlisle’s failure to give council members sufficient time to consider a new trash-collection proposal; his failure to deliver a strategic plan, which has been in the works for four years; and completion of only a partial draft storm water master plan, despite the city spending $700,000 on the plan two years ago.

No other council members indicated whether their evaluations would agree with McPartlan's. The remainder of council members are expected to complete their evaluations prior to the April 12 City Council meeting.

Reviewing the fine points

Carlisle, a former Glades County administrator, was hired as city manager in 2018. His contract required him to relocate to Sebastian within six months, which was later extended to a year when Carlisle found it hard to purchase a home here. He did not purchase a home in Sebastian until 2021, according to the county Property Appraiser's Office.

In 2021, Carlisle was an unsuccessful finalist to become Collier County manager.

“Sebastian requires the city manager to reside in the city,” McPartlan wrote in his comments. “Mr. Carlisle owns a residence in the city of Sebastian yet he does not 'truly' live here, and that he is not vested in the city of Sebastian is indicative of his performance or lack thereof.”

As part of his amended employment contract, Carlisle has use of a city-owned vehicle, which he is permitted to drive anywhere in Florida for business and personal use. A log book McPartlan created through public-record requests shows the vehicle has 78,000 miles and is outside the city 75% of weekends over the past three years, with the city footing the bill for fuel. No other city employee is afforded this benefit, McPartlan wrote.

McPartlan said he stands by his evaluation but declined additional comment. Residents with questions should contact him directly, he said.

Janet Begley is a local freelance writer for If you like articles like this and other TCPalm coverage of Treasure Coast news, please support our journalism and subscribe now.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Sebastian City Manager Paul Carlisle dodges no-confidence vote