MOORE HAVEN — Glades County is in the market for a new manager again, and with several people already having inquired about the position, the Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday morning to expedite their search.
Chairman Tim Stanley noted they’d continued the discussion from their previous meeting on June 24, when County Manager Martin Murphy was dismissed. He started in the position on Sept. 17, 2018.
“Since that time, we’ve had three different people that have showed interest in it. We didn’t say what we were going to do, whether we were going to hire an interim, or advertise … so we need to come together here and decide, how are we going to handle this? Any suggestions?”
Commissioner Donna Storter Long asked him if he had any particular direction where he preferred them to start, saying he was on the phone with Deputy County Manager Bob Jones (who’s also the public safety director) more than any other board member.
Mr. Stanley asked if any of the commissioners wanted to pick among the three people who’ve come forward. “I would assume if we’re happy with the three that’s there, and we want to pick out of those, we don’t need to go with an interim.”
Mr. Stanley deferred to other suggestions but said, “I think we’ve got a great pool right now.”
Commissioner John Ahern said he was OK with looking at those three; but Mrs. Long suggested they should advertise that they’ll open the field and set a 30-day time frame for any other candidates who might want to apply.
Commissioner Donald Strenth had a different idea. “Mr. Chairman, I’ve got a fourth name; he has past experience, and there’s a possibility of getting him back. He could just step right in. In the past year, we’ve wasted thousands and thousands of dollars, and no telling how much money we missed in grants, but I think that it’d be possible to get Mr. (Paul) Carlisle back. And if we could … that would eliminate going through the whole process…” Paul Carlisle was Glades County’s manager for several years until he left in the spring of 2018 and took the city manager post in Sebastian.
Mr. Strenth wanted to know from County Attorney Richard Pringle whether the board could just direct him to negotiate if they were to select a candidate. He nodded.
“I want to consider these, too,” said Mrs. Long.
Mr. Pringle noted that the human resources director had received other inquiries as well and suggested the board accept new applications for a time.
Mr. Stanley said he thought they should then advertise to let others apply and that 30 days or less would be fine. Commissioner Weston Pryor said two weeks should suffice. Commissioner Long said she still wanted to go through the whole process including interviews, and the chairman agreed.
They then discussed setting a salary range to put in their advertisement.
“We definitely need to put a price range out there, because I don’t want to interview somebody that wants $200,000 a year!” said Chairman Stanley.
Mrs. Long interjected, “Yeah, we’re not Clewiston!” That city recently hired a new city manager at a salary well north of $150,000 annually.
After some discussion, they arrived at a range of $90,000 to $125,000 plus benefits, which would be negotiable.
Commissioner Weston Pryor said, “At the end of the day … you get what you pay for.”
“Weston, you read my mind,” replied Commissioner Strenth.
The commissioners dealt with several other points, such as the ability to waive benefits so the base salary could be higher, before coming to a consensus that two weeks was plenty of time to advertise. They wanted to move forward quickly on the process and asked Human Resources Director Gabrielle Ibietatorremendia how long it would take. She said she could get it done right away.
Their next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, July 22, so they decided to close applications at noon that day so they will have a list of candidates to work from that evening.
The commissioners directed that all applications be taken electronically and that no background investigations be done until they have a short list.