“Stacking the Deck”: Ted Johnson Blots Late Pam Carroll’s P&Z Legacy with “Godfather” of Cannon’s Son

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  • Commissioner Johnson ousts Late Pam Carroll’s lone appointment on Planning & Zoning; “It’s my appointment!”
  • Seat given to Michael Ferrante, the “Godfather” of Commissioner Cannon’s son according to court documents.
  • Henderson expressed no interest in leaving the board and was not called to be made aware of the move against him.
  • Henderson is a 20-year volunteer in the city, including WSPD Citizens on Patrol.
  • Johnson had previously made a play for Carroll’s supporters during the campaign, distributing words of support from her son.

Winter Springs, FL—Controversy arose at the Winter Springs Commission meeting Monday night when three allied commissioners made an unexpected power play and fired a member of the Planning & Zoning Board without cause, replacing him the “Godfather” of Commissioner Cannon’s son.

Commissioner Ted Johnson made a motion to summarily dismiss longtime community volunteer Bob Henderson from the Planning and Zoning Board. Henderson had been appointed by late Commissioner Pam Carroll and was only half way through is four-year term.

According to friends, Henderson had expressed no interest in leaving the board, and his term was not up until 2020. Henderson had served in a number of community groups including Citizens on Patrol for the Winter Springs Police Department.

The move came as a surprise since Johnson had made a play for Carroll’s supporters during the campaign by distributing a quote from Matt Carroll, Pam Carroll’s son describing their relationship as strong, saying, “I am certain that she would be pleased to have Ted follow in her footsteps.”

No reasons were given for the untimely dismissal. Henderson was not present at the meeting and was not given notice that he would be potentially removed. As of Monday night, texts to Henderson informing him he was no longer on the Planning & Zoning Board were not acknowledged.

“It’s my appointment,” Johnson argued during meeting. Johnson himself made the motion and commissioners struggled to describe precedent for removing a board member without cause.

Several residents left the meeting in disgust. One woman spoke to the Observer on the condition of anonymity, saying, “The cronyism is rampant. If this is how people in power treat volunteers, there’s no wonder so much talent is leaving Winter Springs. Our city is at a crossroads.”

In Henderson’s stead, the board appointed Michael Ferrante, who has no known official community service aside from his appointment to Bicycle & Pedestrian committee in January, which he had not yet been seated before resigning to be appointed to the Planning & Zoning board. The charges of cronyism stem from the fact that Ferrante is the “Godfather” of Commissioner Cannon’s son.

Friends of Cannon and Johnson celebrated, exulting in “stacking the deck” as one supporter called it.

The Planning & Zoning has been a sore subject for Commissioners Cannon, Johnson and Hale, who recently drew criticism for breaking campaign promises by approving a zoning change to allow a development project, while concurrently trying to place a temporary moratorium on certain types of development within the city. It is unknown whether the moratorium will withstand legal scrutiny and how long the commissioners want it to last.

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