Questions follow Deltona center manager’s departure

Guests fill the new Deltona community center, dubbed “The Center,” during a public grand opening of the facility in Deltona on Dec. 30. Its director, Chris O’Donnell, resigned less than a month after the opening. [News-Journal file/Nigel Cook]


The Daytona Beach News-Journal by Mark Harper

February 1, 2018


When The Center at Deltona opened at the end of December, its inaugural event brought together more than 1,000 people, just as it was designed to do.

The versatile, $9 million structure opened on time. All that remained was to begin capturing 30-40 weddings a year, as projected, plus other parties, banquets, business meetings and community gatherings to fulfill the vision city commissioners had for it.

Chris O’Donnell, the events manager hired less than a year earlier, believed The Center could raise nearly $1 million in revenue.

Instead of rolling up his sleeves and competing for those paying customers once The Center had opened, O’Donnell offered his resignation on Jan. 19, signing an agreement with the city that both “will not make any adverse, derogatory or disparaging comments, opinions or statements.”

When contacted by a reporter last week, O’Donnell didn’t exactly explain why he was leaving a job he had started less than a year earlier. He simply said it was time to move on.

“I like the private sector a lot better; I’m not going to be working for city government again,” he said, cryptically. [READ MORE]

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