Unexpected Concord Between Foes on Bunnell Commission Favors 3 Manager Candidates
FlaglerLive | September 11, 2013
Three candidates have emerged out of 83 applicants as leading contenders to replace Armando Martinez as Bunnell city manager, if barely so: Judi Stetson, the city’s current grants and special projects director; Judith Jankosky, currently the city administrator in Arcadia, a town of about 6,500 in DeSoto County, and Lawrence Williams, the former city manager of Belle Isle in Orange County (pop. About 6,000) and a resident of Palm Coast since 2008.
Commissioners this week provided short-lists of the 83 candidates, choosing three to five candidates each. Stetson, Jankosky and Williams got three votes each. All three got the votes of Mayor Catherine Robinson and Commissioner Jenny Crain-Brady. Commissioner Elbert Tucker also picked Stetson and Jankosky. Commissioner Bill Baxley picked Williams.
But only Williams was also recommended by the Range Riders, the volunteer organization of eight retired city and county managers who, on behalf of the International City and County Management Association, help local governments in their search for top executives. The Range Riders currently include Dick Kelton, the former Palm Coast city manager, who took the lead on the Bunnell matter after the Bunnell City Commission sought the organization’s help.
The Range Riders were asked to provide five recommendations out of the list of 83 candidates. They provided 10. Only two of those coincided with commissioners’ picks. Aside from Williams, Douglas Drymon was a Range Rider recommendation, but he got picked by just one commissioner (Elbert Tucker).
Just one other candidate got more than one commissioner’s vote: Perry Mitrano, currently the city’s solid waste director. Baxley and Crain-Brady chose him. All other candidates got just one vote each, making it likely that, absent a surprise, commissioners will be focusing on the top four choices.
The reigning irony of these early choices is in the fact that Robinson and Tucker have ended up choosing two of the top three contenders. Robinson and Tucker have been at opposite poles of the commission’s fracture since Tucker became the leader of the new majority (with Baxley and Rogers) after Baxley’s election in March. It is because of that new majority that Martinez lost the commission’s confidence, and that the commission is now looking for a new manager. Robinson and Crain-Brady had wanted to keep Martinez.
The commissioners’ choices are only a narrowing down of names, but not yet a full elimination. Tucker, for example, had said he’d picked seven names. He actually turned in three, but said he may have more to recommend later if need be.
The city commission will meet in a workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Flagler County Emergency Operations Center’s main conference room (behind the Government Services Building) to discuss the choices and further narrow down the list to what will likely be the list of interview candidates. That meeting is open to the public, as will be the board interviews of the candidates, though some commissioners—such as Tucker—are requesting to meet individually, and privately, with candidates as part of the interviewing process.
The city clerk received the short lists by the end of the day on Tuesday, and sent out a chart showing the number of recommendations each candidate received, including the recommendations from the Range Riders. But the chart commissioners received did not include the breakdown by commissioner.
The chart below includes that breakdown.
Bunnell City Manager Candidates: Commissioners' Shortlists
|Catherine Robinson||John Rogers||Bill Baxley||Jenny Crain-Brady||Elbert Tucker||Recommended By Range Riders||Total Commissioner Picks|