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May 29, 2014

White Springs still searching for town manager-Farley’s last day is May 31

Five candidates apply during second round

Jasper — The search for a new White Springs town manager was discussed at length at the May 20 meeting of the town council. The position was re-advertised and the town council debated what to do in the interim as current Town Manager Bob Farley is set to retire May 31.

A total of 25 applicants had applied for the town manager position the first time it was advertised, and the top five candidates were chosen through a rating process by council members. Farley said the day before the interviews with the top five candidates, three of them cancelled. Out of the remaining two, the council selected their choice, however, he later declined the position.

“White Springs Town Council members were informed that Dennis Murphy Sr. declined the offer made by White Springs for the town manager's position,” Mayor Helen Miller said. “Murphy cited financial and family reasons, and expressed his appreciation to the council for their offer.”

It was suggested at the council’s May 13 meeting to request interim town manager services from the Range Rider program, while concurrently commencing another search for a permanent town manager with the Florida League of Cities and the Florida City and County Management Association (FCCMA). It was noted the position is open until filled.

Range Riders are retired city and county managers with lengthy experience who are respected within the public management field. They are appointed by the boards of directors of the (FCCMA) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). As volunteers, they provide certain guidance, counseling and assistance services at no cost. They don’t provide interim town managers, however, which Farley advised the council at the May 20 meeting, so that option was tossed.

With the second posting of the job, Farley said he received two applications already from William R. Lawrence from Maine and Timothy James Day from Cape Coral, and knew of another potential candidate that he was waiting to hear from. Farley said he conversed with Day on the phone for about an hour concerning the position and Miller spoke with Lawrence via phone. Both candidates had already been scored by the town council during the first round of applications.

Farley told the council, “I would suggest that you take a look at both of these individuals again.”

Farley said he thought both candidates were qualified to do the job.

Since time is of the essence, Vice Mayor Walter McKenzie suggested a teleconference interview with the two candidates as neither of them live close to White Springs.

Another option Farley put on the table was to hire a part time interim town manager two to three days a week until they found a full time town manager. He said he had spoken to two people who were interested and were highly recommended by the Florida League of Cities.

After much discussion, the council voted to wait until Wednesday morning, May 28, to see how many more applications come in, after which they will rate each one and then make a decision on who to hire.

Miller, after listening to Farley’s “State of the Town” report earlier in the meeting, said, “This reinforces to me that we need someone with hands-on experience and knowledge, and not on-the-job training in every area.”

As of Wednesday morning, May 28, three more candidates applied for the job. They are John Patrick O’Neal from Gainesville, Charles Michael Shugart from South Carolina and Susan Beaudet from Tampa.

With May 20 being Farley’s last meeting as White Springs town manager, it was a perfect time for a photo op with his cohorts, Police Chief Tracy Rodriquenz, Finance Director/Town Clerk Pam Tomlinson, Administrative Assistant Anita Rivers, Council members Willie Jefferson, Rhett Bullard, Tonja Brown, McKenzie and Miller.

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