Former SVAA Chairman Palmer Wilson to address County Council today regarding dismissal

Headline Surfer videos and photos by Henry Frederick /

Video at left: Then-Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority Chairman Palmer Wilson addresses issue of Daytona Beach News-Journal-generated controversy of $10,000 marketing contract by SVAA with Headline Surfer. Despite the hype in a series of News-Journal stories, not a single board member expressed the outrage hyped in the print newspaper. Video at right: Guy Mariande is the lone person to speak critically of the SVAA's contract with the 24/7 internet newspaper two weeks ago. Mariande is the same critic who demanded Headline Surfer leave when it showed up at a 'private' retirement party in November at Mayor Adam Barringer's restaurant for former City Commissioner Jim Hathaway and nearly four dozen guests paid for with a city credit card authorized by City Manager Pam Brangaccio. She and the mayor are now facing state ethics chsrges.

Guy Mariande asleep at SVAA meeting in New Smyrna Beach / Headline SurferPalmer Wilson leads SVAA meeting / Headline SurferAt far left, Guy Mariande keeps his head low. Seated across fronm him is Jeffrey Cassady with the News-Journal, who has written a series of stories on the SVAA contract with factual errors that paint Headline Surfer in a negative light. Those errors have yet to be corrected. In the second photo, Palmer Wilson, then-SVAA chair (in blue shirt), addresses his colleagues.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Palmer Wilson has the distinction of being the only person ever appointed by two different Volusia county chairs to serve as a chairman of an advertising authority.

He's led the Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority through a highly successful beach weeks tourism campaign and oversaw the hirings of two consecutive directors of the SVAA and New Smyrna Beach Visitors Center. 

But two weeks ago today, he was removed from the authority in a split vote spearheaded by County Council member Joshua Wagner in the midst of a series of published stories in the Daytona Beach News-Journal critical of a $10,000 marketing contract between the SVAA and Headline Surfer.

A series of stories in the News-Journal gave the impression there was outrage among SVAA members, but at the Aug. 8 meeting, not a single board member said anything critical of the contract with Headline Surfer that has the 24/7 internet newspaper marketing tourism efforts through its extensive video and photo collection of community events that have largely gone uncovered by the print newspaper over the past five years.

SVAA board member Tom Clapsaddle told his colleagues he was asked his opinion of the contract by the News-Journal, but otherwise had nothing further to say except he believed all new contracts should go before the board, a consensus that emerged from the meeting.

The controversy over the contract has been fueled by the News-Journal, which has not told its readership that after Headline Surfer secured its contract, a News-Journal advertising representative made an appointment to speak with SVAA staff. A presentation was made without anything specific in the way of online readership and the ad representative left empty-handed.

Following the SVAA meeting, the issue came up at a Volusia County Council meeting where Council member Joshuas Wagner led a 4-3 vote to have Palmer Wilson removed from the ad authority, saying he had lost faith in him, though he wasn't specific.

Wagner had prefaced his actions by saying he was an avid follower of Headline Surfer and recognized its daily breaking newsand investigative reporting stories showcased prominently in the major online search engines and news directories.

Wagner stated he believed the internet newspaper had done nothing wrong in generating the marketing agreement with the SVAA. However, he questioned whether Wilson had applied undo pressure on then-Interim Director Renee Tallevast, who also directs the West Volusia Advertising Authority, to sign off on the contract, an accusation Wilson has vehemently denied.

Wilson is on the County Council's agenda for a 2 p.m. appearance today where he will ask Wagner to elaborate and explain his stance. Wilson wants the council to have him returned to the SVAA.





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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.