By Mike Lednovich
The chairman of the Citizens City Manager Search Committee sparked a conversation of “what do we want in a city manager” by suggesting the city reconsider the termination of the ex-city manager.
“I’d like to make a motion that we ask the city commission to reconsider hiring back Dale Martin,” Chairman Tim Poynter said at Monday’s CCMSC meeting. “I keep hearing from numerous people that we want the expertise of Dale Martin we just don’t want Dale Martin. I think it would save the city an awful lot of money to reinstate this person. So I’m asking for a vote to ask the city commission to reinstate him.”
After the four other committee members weighed in, a vote never took place.
“Why don’t we dissect that and what they liked best that he (Dale Martin) was doing and include that in the next person we hire in addition to the other qualities he (the next city manager) might have,” said Steve Simmons. “We have an opportunity to move forward and build on the qualities that Dale had.”
The committee was updated by executive search firm Colin Baenzinger and Associates, who said all five city commissioners had been interviewed about the qualifications needed for the next city manager, as well as, the challenges the city faces. The five members of the search committee are scheduled to be interviewed this week.
Simmons later said he favored hiring a candidate without city manager experience.
“I’m not interested in hiring a city manager, I’m interested in hiring someone to manage the city,” Simmons said. “There are a lot of good folks who have managed big corporations where they dealt with a lot of people, a lot of money … we’ve got to be productive in what we’re doing.”
Jackie Miller said, “We should learn from the past. Maybe there’s someone out there that’s a great leader, a great manager.”
Revisiting the termination of Martin was not an option for Wayne Peterson.
“I don’t want to go back to Dale Martin. That’s over and done with,” Peterson said. “Let’s move this process forward.”
Finding a new city manager will not be an easy task according to Margaret Davis, who said Atlantic Beach had just one finalist for its vacant city manager position.
“We’re asking Colin Baenzinger to come back with 10 to 12 finalists. Atlantic Beach had just one. This might be more of a challenge than we realize,” she said. “Job qualifications are probably very much what they were looking for in 2015. The issues in the city really haven’t changed.”
Colin Baenzinger will produce a candidate brochure once all of the preliminary interviews are completed and compiled. The hiring process is about a week behind the scheduled timeline provided by the search firm.
The search committee’s next meeting will be June 1.