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Madeira Beach city manager opening attracts dozens of candidates

By Sheila Mullane Estrada, Times Correspondent
Published: January 3, 2018 Updated: January 3, 2018 at 10:24 AM
Former Madeira Beach City Manager Shane Crawford is applying for his old job.

MADEIRA BEACH — Thirty-eight people — almost all men — are vying to become this politically contentious city’s next manager.

Two past city employees — Shane Crawford, former city manager who resigned last year rather than be fired, and Doug Andrews who was fired as parks and recreation department director — were among the pile of resumes that the commission will review in a special workshop Monday at 2 p.m.

The commission plans to pick five finalists to be interviewed in person at a future date.

Most of the candidates were a mix of former, retired and present city and county managers. A few had no municipal manager experience.

Whoever is eventually selected will have to deal with a city that has been fractured by controversial hotel developments and a bitterly fought election last year.

Two commission members — Vice Mayor John Douthirt and Commissioner Nancy Oakley — are the subjects of a potential recall election that may be decided in the coming months. A similar recall effort is planned against Mayor Maggi Black, who was also elected last March.

In their cover letters, several of the city manager candidates acknowledged the city’s turmoil as they promoted their qualifications.

Among candidates who live and/or work in Florida are:

• Lyndon Bonner, interim city manager for Brooksville;

• Victor Cucaro, a city resident and business manager who has never run a city;

• Timothy Day, former town manager of Melbourne Beach and Greenville;

• Jonathan Evans, city manager in Riviera Beach and former assistant county administrator for Sarasota County, city manager in Haines City, and assistant city manager in Largo;

• Kenneth Farrell, a fiscal analyst for the city of Tampa;

• Solomon Fine, a former personnel administrator for the U.S. Marine Corp.;

• William Healy, who lives in Coral Springs and is former mayor and city manager for Canton, Ohio;

• Michael Hein, former assistant town manager in Longboat Key and a finalist in Treasure Island’s recent hunt for a city manager;

• Scott Hechler, Hernando County assistant county administrator;

• Joseph Helfenberger, former St. Cloud city manager;

• Bryan Scott King, a safety/training officer in the St. Petersburg water department;

• William Lawrence, city manager in Madison;

• Martin Murphy, assistant city manager for New Port Richey;

• Dennis Ragsdale, who has served in a variety of administrative positions in St. Cloud, Lakeland, Vero Beach, and Indian River County and is currently a city manager for Valdez, Alaska;

Other applicants are from states as far as New Jersey, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan and Utah. Of these, Mark Rohr, is a former city manager of Punta Gorda and Richard Giroux is a former city manager for Wauchula.

Only one candidate is a woman — Margaret Wuerstle, who lives in Naples and is executive director for the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council.

The city is seeking a manager who has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and seven years of government management experience. The job description implies the commission will prefer candidates who are members of the International City/County Management Association and the Florida League of Cities.

Ironically, Crawford was ousted from the ICMA when a former commissioner, Elaine Poe, complained to the about his personal relationship with the city’s clerk. She and other members of the commission had been aware of and approved of that relationship. The three commission members elected last year forced the two to either resign or be fired.