At 5:15 this afternoon, Andrew DeCandis will sit in for his hour-long interview for city manager with the Flagler Beach City Commission. He won’t have much competition. He’s one of just two candidates remaining.
Just 23 people applied for the job when the city advertised for the position in September, a fraction of the 140 who applied in 2010, the last time the city’s top job was open. Commissioners short-listed four candidates from that list of 23: Joseph Gerrity, the former city manager of Fernandina Beach Jr., Jim Coleman, a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster recovery support reservist in Washington, D.C., Donald Willar, a U.S. State Department employee for the last few months, and DeCandis.
Coleman and Willar soon rescinded their applications. Commissioners short-listed another candidate: John Bodner, who works for a public utility in North Carolina. He then withdrew, leaving DeCandis and Gerrity.
DeCantis had applied for the Flagler Beach job in 2010. He didn’t get far. He applied two years ago to be Bunnell city manager. He didn’t make the short-list (just one commissioner picked him). This evening marks the furthest he’s been in a candidacy process for an executive government job locally, yet of the two remaining candidates, he’s the more familiar with Flagler County: he served as Palm Coast’s development services director between 2002 and 2005, when the city was managed by Dick Kelton.
In that capacity, DeCantis states on his application, he supervised “several departments, including economic development, planning, zoning, traffic, environmental, GIS, concurrency, development review, building and code enforcement” and “assisted the utility departments in securing needed state permitting.” He is currently the executive director of the Clay County Transit and Clay County Council on Aging, and a Jacksonville resident. (Flagler Beach managers are required to live within the city limits, but that requirement takes effect only after the candidate starts the job.)
Earlier this year Gerrity’s decision to fire the city human resources director after she conducted an investigation into alleged improprieties in the fire department led the ex-employee to sue the city, alleging that her rights under the whistleblower act were violated. Just last year, Flagler Beach settled a law suit brought by two ex-firefighters who claimed wrongful termination (they were paid $160,000 plus costs, and their firing was retracted, but they were not rehired).
Gerrity himself resigned in May after losing the confidence of two city commissioners. He’d been city manager for three years, and had served on that city commission previously.
Bruce Campbell, the current city manager, announced his resignation a year ago, post-dating his effective date until a time uncertain–until earlier this summer, when he put the city commission on notice that he would be leaving the city regardless by the end of the year. Campbell had become disenchanted with the commission.