EDITOR’S NOTE: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace column.
If the word “google” has been designated as a verb in the English dictionary because it is so widely used, then other popular names should also be considered for inclusion.
In case you have been under asylum in a non-English speaking country for the last 10 years, the word “google” means to search the internet. The term is derived from the popular internet search engine of the same name.
In Fernandina Beach, a widely used term or expression has originated from City Hall. It is associated with the painstaking process that new businesses must go through to receive final approval from the city to open their doors. The newly coined term: “mandricked.”
If considered by Mr. Webster, it would also be classified as a verb. It disseminates from the name of John Mandrick, the director of the city utilities department. You see, Mandrick must offer his blessing to any new business desiring to tie into the city’s water and sewer lines.
The complete definition of the term is when Mandrick holds a ransom-like fee over a business owner’s head — until he or she meets his demands for a hefty payment for a water/sewer permit. Or else the business cannot open.
For instance, a new business recently wanted to expand its outdoor seating. The owners were told that it would cost them a substantial amount of money to receive Mandrick’s approval for the extra seats. Apparently the new seats would somehow impact the city’s water and sewer capacity, and the business owner owed the fee in Mandrick’s distorted eyes. Or else, no permit.
These business owners were subsequently “mandricked.” And they knew it — and told others about it.
It is not a positive connotation. Unfortunately, it is all too widespread.
You’ll normally hear the term whispered in closed quarters. The term can elicit expressions of shock and awe.
There is at least four or five much-publicized incidents of business owners being “mandricked” in recent months. Even though other city officials have jurisdiction over Mandrick’s actions, they seem unwilling to oppose Mandrick and act on the behalf of business owners.
There is an air of bewilderment about Mandrick’s actions. Apparently he uses a self-concocted formula to determine impact fees against businesses. It appears to be a calculation that only he knows. So it is provincial to him and his department.
Though city officials do not recognize the term in public, they are aware of its uses — but apparently not its ramifications. This is the most unfortunate part.
A slate of new city commissioners who each ran on pro-business platforms has sat idly as Mandrick has “mandricked” one business after another. Hopefully the word will not become part of a common lexicon when people talk about Fernandina Beach.
The potential repercussions could easily deter businesses from opening here in the future — for fear of being “mandricked” (see how nicely and poetically this term fits inside a sentence). Instead, the businesses might opt to open outside the city limits, seeking a sort of asylum in the county.
And this would be an unspoken detriment to the city and its reputation — and its people.