Final 55 Manager Candidates Ready for Committee Review

By Mike Lednovich

The final tally for candidates for the Fernandina Beach city manager is 55, with 13 additional applications received during the extended search period, which ended at the close of work on July 21.

Of the 13, there are seven with city manager, town/village manager or county manager experience. And of the full roster of candidates, there are now 26 current or former city managers, town/village managers or county manager executives vying for the Fernandina Beach position.

The next step is for the city’s Citizens City Manager Search Committee to review and whittle down the list to make recommendations to the city commission of applicants for consideration.

The application process follows the Feb. 21 firing of City Manager Dale Martin. The search for a replacement is being directed by executive search firm Colin Baenziger.

The new applicants:

Jane Shang, City Manager in Deltona,  Fl., June 2015 – January 2020. Deltona has an all-funds budget of more than $170 million and more than 400 employees.
– Deputy City Manager for Transportation and Public Works for El Paso, Texas 2008 – 2015
– Director, Engineering and Development, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), Tampa, Fl., 2004 – 2008

According to the Daytona News-Journal, Shang’s resignation in January 2020, came one week after Mayor Heidi Herzberg made a motion to terminate Shang over a lack of communication, concerns from multiple city staffers about Shang’s managerial style and an agreement allowing a firefighter accused of sexual harassment to eventually retire, which the mayor said was the last straw.
In 2019, the Daytona News-Journal reported that Deltona City Manager Jane Shang had accepted a pretrial intervention agreement from the State Attorney’s Office after being accused of submitting false voter identification information and willfully voting in an election for which she wasn’t qualified.

She was a finalist in January for the Laredo, Texas city manager position. In 2021, she applied to be city manager in Cocoa Beach and in 2020 for the Brighton, Colorado city manager job.

Sara Novo, City Manager, Flatonia, Tx.  March 2020 –2022

The City of Flatonia (Pop. 1,556) is centrally located between three major Texas cities; Houston,
Austin, and San Antonio.

Before that:- Jackson Walker, LLP Consultant, Austin, Texas, 2022 – Present
– Manager, Parks & Recreation, City of Rocklin, Ca. June 2014 – November 2019

In August, 2021 the Fayette County Record reported that “City Manager (Novo) and City Secretary Resign”, Citing Division and ‘Chaos’”

David Strahl, Deputy County Manager, Jefferson County, Birmingham, Al. June 2022 to Present

– Interim Village Manager, Village of Schiller Park, Schiller Park, Il.  January 2019 – September 2021
– City Administrator, O’Fallon, Mo.,  October 2017 to October 2018

He has applied six different times in the past for top city/county positions. In 2019, Strahl was a finalist for the Escambia County, Fl., county administrator job. In 2021, he was a finalist for the Johnson City city manager position; in 2017 applied to be city manager in Treasure Island, Fl.; 2016 applied for the Las Cruces, N.M. city manager job and 2021 the Palm Coast and North Port city manager posts.

James ‘Ty’ Ross, City Manager, Loudon, Tennessee/General Manager, Loudon Utilities. 2017-Present. Loudon is a full-service municipality that includes 4 enterprise fund utilities.

– City Administrator, City of Dalton, Ga., 2009-2016

Ross made news in 2019 according to the News-Herald when the city council met in private to discuss actions taken by Ross and city staff regarding a feral cat colony living near the former Hutch Manufacturing property. Allegations were made that Ross acted in an aggressive manner toward Cissy Chapman, who had been feeding the cats.

In June, Ross applied for the city manager position in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Edwin Booth, City Manager, High Springs, Fl. 2012-2019

– Town Manager, Surfside Beach, S.C., 2007-2010

In 2014, Booth applied to be city manager in Atlantic Beach, Fl

Darryl LeTroy Bell, City Manager, Muskegon Heights, Mich., September 2019 – January 2023

–  PhD degree program, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. Summer 2018 – Spring 2022

– Master’s degree program, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fl., Summer 2018 – Summer 2019

Last January MLive reported that Muskegon Heights City Manager Troy Bell will be out of a job when his contract expires in a week. The city council voted 4-3 not to renew Bell’s three-year contract that expires Jan. 31.

In 2017, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported that Baton Rouge’s new City Hall top deputy, Troy Bell, resigned after questions raised about his resume. Bell’s application touted him as having extensive experience running government agencies and noted that he was what he called a “continuing guest lecturer” at Purdue University.

The Advocate revealed that Bell never received the master’s degree he claimed, that he was fired from at least three previous government jobs and that his name was not in Purdue’s faculty records.

Prior to Muskegon, he was Deputy/Acting City Manager for Walla Walla, Wa. And before that, he was School Superintendent for Pathway Academies in Tampa, Fl.

Matt Trollinger, Town Manager, Somerset, Md., Montgomery County, Md., June 2019 – Present

– Village Manager,  Martin’s Additions, Montgomery County, Md., March 2016 – May 2019

Non city/town top executive applicants:

Collin Mays, Director of Economic Inclusion, City of Cincinnati, Ohio April 2022- Present

Andrew Butterfield, Operations Manager Public Works Department, City of St. Pete Beach Fl., 2019 – Present

John Perez, ARPA Program Manager, Cooper City, Fl. July 2022 – Present

Christina Mambourg, Civil Service & Equal Employment Opportunity Opportunity Commissioner, Stockton, Ca.,  June 2022 – Presen

Sean De Palma, Director Quality of Life (Parks), Panama City, Fl.,  05/2020- 06/2023

George M. Zoukee, real estate investor, Knoxville, Tenn., 1998 – Present