By Mike Lednovich
Colin Baenziger & Associates, the city’s executive search firm, notified city commissioners Monday that it was extending the deadline for applying for the vacant city manager job to July 21.
A contributing factor for extending the Fernandina Beach deadline is Flagler Beach, which will decide its selection for city manager this Friday. There were 37 candidates for the job there, and four of the finalists did not apply for the Fernandina Beach job. Colin Baenziger is also in charge of the Flagler Beach effort.
The original deadline was last Friday (July 7), and the city had received 32 total applications. Among those were five current or former city managers and two county administrators.
Ron Williams, senior vice president at Colin Baenziger, said in an email to city commissioners and the citizens city manager search committee about the initial response of 32 candidates, “Frankly, that is a reasonably strong response, however, it is not as many as we would like to have.”
Williams said he believes extending the deadline will attract more candidates with city manager experience.
“Accordingly, we have extended the application deadline by two weeks to July 21, 2023. Over the years, we have found that, for some reason, some excellent candidates do not apply during the original recruiting period, but do so when the deadline is extended. They then feel that the government is truly open to an outsider. We do not know why, but the bottom line is we often get a few more outstanding candidates when we extend the deadline,” Williams said.
Williams went on to explain why some candidates are reluctant to apply for the city manager position:
“During the screening process, we often lose candidates because (1) they or members of their families have second thoughts about moving (2) some get other jobs and (3) our background checks indicate that they are not a good fit or they have some issues that precludes us from presenting them,” Williams wrote. “The other thing is, we tend to be a bit greedy. We want more great candidates than we have. We want you to have an outstanding group to choose from.”
Of the 32 candidates already in place, Williams said, “As you are aware, the closing date to apply for the city manager position was last Friday (July 7). At the time we had 32 applicants. Of those, based on a preliminary review, we have a number of very strong candidates, and a number of others who, upon further review, may be very strong.”
Williams said the extension will have no impact on the rest of the schedule. “We will still have time to continue meeting our milestones.”